Unflinching and uncompromising, tough and talented, Shane McKenzie stands at the forefront of the next generation of horror writers.

—Bentley Little

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sponge Mode

So, I understand that I am a new writer and that I have a lot to learn. I embrace it. If I don't have an open mind and a willingness to soak in new information, I will wallow in mediocrity (and yes, I had to spell check that). I find learning about writing is a fun experience for me.

Right now, I'm totally in sponge mode. I feel like I've reached a level now that I actually know what good writing looks like and what its supposed to accomplish. Before, I was just writing whatever sick shit popped in my head and sending the stories out to whoever was interested. Most weren't. What's funny to me is to go back and read some of that stuff. My god, the fact that I published anything at all is nothing short of a miracle. THE STORIES WERE TERRIBLE. As an editor now, I would reject every one of them.

Back when I started, about two and a half years ago now, I read the essential books. I read Elements of Style and On Writing and Zen in the Art of Writing and the Writer's Workshop of Horror, twice. But it didn't sink in. I read the information and at the time, it felt like it made sense, but it really didn't. Right now, I read those books, and I get them. I get what I'm supposed to be doing. That's not to say that I'm any good at it still, but at least I understand what I should be doing.

So, now that things are finally making sense to me, I'm reading every goddamn book on writing I can get my hands on. I read David Morell's "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing" and Jessica Page Morrell's "Thanks, But This Isn't For Us." I guess anyone named Morrell knows what they're talking about, because those books were fantastic and really opened my eyes about certain things. I'm reading "On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the HWA" and its great so far. I'm going to re-read Elements of Style, On Writing, Zen in the Art of Writing, and the Writer's Workshop of Horror. I have "The Successful Novelist" by David Morrell that I'll be reading next. I also have various other reference books on grammar and style that I'll be reading. And I'm loving every second of this. I feel like I'm being told a secret, even though the information has been there all this time, I just didn't know how to read it.

But most importantly, I'm taking an online course from Mr. Michael Knost. I already took one and got the chance to have Michael and Tom Piccirilli critique a short story of mine. I haven't got the results back yet, so needless to say, I'm shitting my pants. But the courses are fantastic. Seriously. I've learned so much and he is a great teacher, really knows how to make things easy to understand. Right now, I'm in the level 1 course, which is kind of backwards since I took the advanced course first, but its all good. As long as I get the information, right?

So anyway, I can feel myself getting better at the craft right now. I'm still no good, but I ain't horrible. At least I'd like to think so. But I'm never above learning, nor will I ever be. Now, I guess I should go write something.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ass Kickery

Well, I just completed my tenth session with Wrath, and I gotta say, I feel pretty damn good. Muay Thai is addictive and fun, and I now feel that if someone tried to start something with me or my family, there is a pretty good chance they're gonna get hurt.

I feel great. I've lost weight, I'm quicker on my feet, my endurance and flexibility are better. I can throw punches, elbows, knees, and kicks correctly, though I still have lots of work to do as far as being consistent with my technique and form. But, I can kick with my shin and it doesn't hurt anymore. I can make it through a session, which believe me isn't easy sometimes, without feeling like I'm gonna die.

Wrath is happy with where I'm at, especially since I came into this training with no prior knowledge of any kind of fighting. He made a comment yesterday as I was kicking the pad on his leg, "It's nice to know that kick all came from me."

My original plan was to train for ten sessions and walk away with an experience that benefited me mentally and physically. But, at this point, I'm loving it too much to stop. We will be going for another ten sessions starting Friday, and I'll probably keep doing it even after that. Not only am I getting fit and feel confident that I could fuck somebody up if I had to, but I get to train with a fellow horror writer, and the conversations we have about writing are priceless.

I'll be getting my own punching bag at the house in a couple of weeks. I've discovered a new passion, the art of ass kickery, and I just can't stop.