Lycanthrope: Update of April 5, 2022

An update on my progress with Lycanthrope.

One theoretical cover

I have finally broken through the barrier that has kept me from adding more to Lycanthrope. I still have more to go, but I am probably at about 67,000 of a desired 80,000+ words. I am coming up with some good ideas, but I must jot them down quickly or I forget them. Hopefully, I will be finished before long. I am focused on finishing this finally. It has been a long journey and the storyline is radically different from the original I imagined nearly thirty years ago when I was in the Navy and living in Bremerton, Washington.

I find that the best way to come up with ideas is by sitting down in the chair at the computer and just staring into the distance until an idea surfaces. A lot of times though, the trick seems to be to go to bed after having thought about the story throughout the day or at least just before going to bed. The ideas seem to just leap into my head at moments like those. Then I scrounge up some scrap paper or an old envelope on the shelves next to the bed and jot down all I can. Sometimes, to get paper and pen, I have to go into the adjacent living room. A lot of times, this seems to happen when I am tired. Sometimes, I just act out what the character is doing or maybe I just take a break and do something out of the norm and then I can imagine the character doing the same. For example, I took a break from writing late one night and, after grabbing a bottle of vodka, walked out to the empty highway running through the woods in front of my house. I live in a remote area, so I didn’t have to worry about any traffic at all. I then walked up and down the centerline looking at the moon and stars and sometimes going into the pitch dark section of the road running under the canopy of the woods. I had one or two swigs out of the bottle, but nothing to even give me a buzz. It was a neat moment and I did see a few shooting stars. However, when I got back to the house, I had the protagonist do the same, but I embellished it considerably as he thought of the nature of the world and universe while getting quite drunk. Trying to find his way back to his house, he bumps into a tree and falls to the ground, where he sleeps until his girlfriend comes looking for him and drags him back to the house, scolding him all the way. I think this scene turned out to be a very nice passage and I think I wrote it quite beautifully and poignantly.

When I first started writing the story in Bremerton, I envisioned the story as something much more conventional than I have now. Set in the forests and hamlets surrounding Bremerton, the idea was about a man who had become a werewolf and was the narrator as he watched the police get ever closer to finding out who he was. There is a lot of magick and fantasy added to the current story and it is set in another state. I am hoping the story ends up a lot more intense than my original concept.

I will write more updates as time permits. Now, I need to go grab some supper and get to writing again.

Hasta luego.

Progress on “Lycanthrope” and Other Matters, March 30, 2022

Here are a few notes about my progress on Lycanthrope and on writing in general.

I have been working on Lycanthrope over the last few days. I am at 66,000 words and I would like to bring it up to just over 80,000. So, I am far from finished. Nonetheless, I have been toying with some ideas for the cover. Let me know what you think about each style. Which is more powerful? Which gets the idea of a werewolf story across the best? Which represents best a combination of all the incredibly strong emotions and challenges a werewolf must face in the modern world?

I am still working on Shadows and Stars, but it is around 157,000 words and I am slogging my way through it a few sentences at a time, trying to ensure that everything holds together well and that there are minimal plot holes and things that are not explained or logical. Shadows and Stars is definitely the most complex of the two works as it has three plots going at once and each must link in spots with the other two.

Because of this slow-going, I am going to try to finish Lycanthrope first, so I can start looking for an agent and a publisher. I need to get all these stories going. I actually have about four novels in the works, each of which I have worked on a little at a time as the ideas pop into my head. Those moments are the best, when everything flows. But when the ideas don’t flow, I cannot say that I am miserable, but it is easy for me to become apathetic and to let the work slide. Then I look back on all the time I have wasted with considerable regret.

I try different things to get the ideas rolling again. The best seems to be to just sit down and start typing or writing by hand. Although I can type fast and get more down in a short amount of time, I prefer to write out material in longhand. I am just more emotionally invested somehow and I may be able to visualize things better.

To this point, I have not worked with an outline on anything. However, my wife pesters me to use an outline, and I am going to have to give in. The stories are being too complex to keep all the details in my head, like I can with a short story. An outline may also help me generate ideas by enabling me to see how everything works together. I have tried this occasionally for Shadows and Stars, but it becomes overwhelmingly complex quickly.

Last night, I was struggling to get ideas for Lycanthrope. I even walked outside around 9:00 p.m. to the middle of the stretch of remote two-lane road in front of my house and walked up and down the centerline, listening to the owls and coyotes while gazing at the stars and the occasional meteor on a comfortably warm, clear night. There is no traffic out here at night. I could have set up a table and chairs on the centerline and had my own star party with food and drinks and I would not have seen a car until past dawn.

I did manage to make a little progress by writing down Peter’s (the protagonist) thoughts and feelings about (not surprisingly) the night sky and the sounds of the night around him as he stood out on the highway in front of his house (or maybe it was in his yard–I will have to review my notes). This is a technique I have used before and it seems to work well. But I went to bed before typing it all up, and, consequently, I lost the ideas I had that I didn’t type up. I will try again though. Probably tonight. Writing in the stream of consciousness does seem to help. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting the emotions flowing out of the right hemisphere of my brain rather than being lost/trapped in the logical, left-side, to which I have a natural tendency. Sometimes, a balance between the two just doesn’t seem to work. In those instances, I get too little out of each. It’s like tap water. Turn on the hot and cold to equal proportions and you get lukewarm water, but sometimes you need the hot turned up as far as it will go while at others you want the cold on at full force. I do have a tinge of Taoism to my personal philosophy and usually believe it is best to have everything in balance, but then sometimes you need the world to be out of balance. Sometimes out of balance is best. Like is said in Ecclesiastes: “for everything there is a season”.

Anyway, I need to go now that it has stopped pouring rain and take this opportunity to walk the dog and get supper quickly so that I can get back to writing. I wonder where I will end up tonight, maybe back on the highway centerline trying to decide which way to go with my writing and my life.

Hasta luego.

Werewolf in Action (Theoretically)

I found this while surfing Twitter today. I dare say that this is the closest you will ever come to seeing an actual werewolf in action. Now, you understand why the peoples of 16th-17th century Europe feared wolves and were terrified at the thought of werewolves.

Update, February 22: Progress on Lycanthrope

As you probably know, I have been taking a break from writing Shadows and Stars and working on Lycanthrope, a psychological thriller/horror instead.

Shadows and Stars is over 150,000 words and needs some editing and a little revision, but revising it was becoming complex and I was becoming a little burnt out on it. There is also something more I need to do to it, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet.

However, the ideas for Lycanthrope started to flow about that time and they keep flowing. Lycanthrope will be a psychological thriller about a man in rural Arkansas who wants to become a werewolf and therefore researches the combination of herbs that was used to do this in the Middle Ages. It is then about his reign of terror and its end. I am writing it in stream-of-consciousness style as if he were writing down everything in a journal.

This is an idea I have had bouncing around in my head for literally decades. I first came up with the idea for a novel about a werewolf when I was serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from 1991-93. I started writing it but never got farther than a few pages. I really didn’t know anything about writing novels at that time. I tried tinkering with it off and on for years, but never had a good concept of where I wanted to take it. That all changed in December. I started it afresh then and now have 38,514 words that are almost finished. I will have very little editing to do to these. I would like to reach 80,000, but I will take the story as far as necessary to tell the tale completely, whether that is 50,000 or 70,000 or whatever. Right now, I doubt I will go past 75,000.

When I first conceived the story, it was set in the Northwest near Bremerton, WA, where I was living at the time. When I moved to Texas, I thought about setting it there. When I moved to New Mexico, I thought about setting it there. I have always wanted to set it where I was living at the time, so that I could describe the terrain and culture accurately. Now that I live in Arkansas, Arkansas seems a perfect fit, although one doesn’t usually associate Arkansas with wolves like one would do with mountains and endless forests. However, in the rural setting of southeast Arkansas, it seems natural that a man who wants to escape his life here would dream of living in the mountains of the Northwest, and if he has a murderous bent, he would dream of being a werewolf ranging through the Olympics and Cascades. If he can’t relocate and is stuck here, then he would be a werewolf here. This area is open with a lot of huge crop fields, but it is also surrounded by seemingly endless forests. Its population is sparse, so that a werewolf could range far and wide without being seen as he seeks out opportunities to prey upon people living on the edge of society.

Also, when I first conceived the story, I was going through a rather dark phase of my life and my mentality turned toward dark things like horror movies. Oddly, thinking about dark things, so long as I don’t dwell on them constantly, seems to me find relief from the darkness sometimes surrounding me. I think it is because that somehow I realize that no matter how bad my life might be, it can always be much worse. Maybe it’s because if I feel down getting lost in a horror movie or writing a dark story provides an escape of sorts, so that it is easier to face whatever that is bringing me down. It’s hard to explain. I have never been one for cheery, happy stuff anyway. Facing horror seems to prepare me for horrible moments, whereas someone who has only known happiness would be overwhelmed by those moments.

After I moved to Texas in 1993, I went through a period where I constantly read up on murderers and serial killers as research for Lycanthrope. That fascinated me for a long time, but then I reached a point where it nauseated me, not just from having read so much on one subject, but because I was beginning to see serial killers for the sick, twisted freaks they are. Of course, that line from Nietzsche always come to mind when thinking about those times and I can tell you from experience what it feels like: ““Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

That research has also paid off in providing background for another as yet unfinished novel: The Man Who Escaped from Hell. I have about 80,000 words on that. That will take more revision than Shadows and Stars, but I can foresee finishing it now. It is another novel that I have had weighing on me for years and years, though not nearly as long as Shadows and Stars.

Anyway, I need to get at least a little sleep now. I have been writing this only because my insomnia has hit me tonight. I still don’t feel like sleeping, but I must.

Hasta luego.


On se protege
Protect yourself.

Update: Lycanthrope, February 12, 2021

werewolf

As you may know, I have started on another novel entitled Lycanthrope. I am still working on Shadows and Stars, but I have ideas constantly flowing about Lycanthrope, so I am getting them down as fast as possible.

The story is about a man who decides he wants to become a werewolf, so he researches the Medieval potions used to transform someone into a werewolf and uses them. The story is set in modern-day rural Arkansas. I am writing it in the form of a journal, so that as I think up stuff, I can jot it down and it will fit in neatly with what I have written so far. I do very little revising or editing to keep it as realistic as possible. Like a journal, it doesn’t have a meticulously laid-out plot. It is haphazard and jumps from topic to topic, just like life. I am delving into the lycanthrope’s psychology. Telling this in first person is a challenge, because I have to think carefully about what to include and what to omit. I want to give some background on a subject now and then, but then I have to reign in that drive after I consider that a person would not know that from firsthand experience. So, the novel will have a nebulous feel to it. I have not stated a town in which this happens, because I do not want anyone to get the impression I am saying a murderous werewolf hails from their town. I may create a fictitious town name later, but for now I like not giving the town name and keeping it mysterious. I do name some of the towns around here through which the protagonist may pass now and then, but so far, I haven’t stated the name of the town where he lives.

I have written just over 23,000 words in just over a month. I would like to have it reach 100,000, but if the story ties up neatly at around 50,000-80,000, so be it. I want just enough words to tell the story and no fluff. I like lean, muscular writing.

That’s it for now. I will hopefully write more later.

Excellent Summary of Werewolf Lore

As you know, I have been working on a novel about a modern lycanthrope, called, appropriately, Lycanthrope. I researched werewolves sometime back as well as werewolf movies and videos. This video from YouTube’s Top 5 Scary Videos is an excellent, detailed, quick and dirty summary of werewolf lore from the historical perspective. I will post more werewolf-related material here as I come across it.