J is for John Dies at the End #AtoZChallenge

ImageOkay guys, this is a pretty big one for me as far as things that have inspired my writing. I’m gonna start with a little back story.

In the six years after high school I read exactly two books, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and Amazonia by James Rollins. Both of them were good books, two of my favorites to this day, but they didn’t inspire me to seek out more reading.

About three years ago a friend recommended a book, John Dies at the End, to me because it was written by one of the editors of cracked.com, a website I spend a lot of time at. I picked up the book and was immediately hooked. I am honestly not even sure how to describe what happens and the dialogue consists of exactly how my friends and I speak to each other at times.

In short it is the first book I ever read that seemed like it was written for me and my friends, not just all people ages 20-65. There’s nothing wrong with writing for a wide audience, but there’s something special about thinking another author is speaking at your level. That book ignited my reading and although I’m still not a speed reader I’ve managed to finish at least one or two books a month since then.

Not only did John DIes inspire me to read more it also made me think about writing. It what got me started and to this day it is still one of the funniest books I’ve ever read in my life.

While I’m on the subject, now is a good time to remind you guys that I am giving a copy away. All you have to do to enter is follow me on twitter (@alexnaderwrites) and then tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback

Or you could buy it right now by clicking on this picture:

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H is for Heart-Shaped Box #AtoZChallenge @joe_hill

ImageHere we go with another item on the list of things that influence my writing a to z.

H is for Heart-Shaped Box a novel by Joe Hill. It makes the list because it is the first book I ever read that scared the shit out of me.

I will be the first to tell you that I’m not big on horror movies. I don’t so much mind scary stuff as I mind all of the gore filmmakers think they need to make them scary. Because of that I was apprehensive about reading a scary novel. Heart-Shaped Box showed up in my “you might like” list and I clicked on it out of curiosity.

It was described as a story about a washed up metal singer with a taste for collecting macabre items. One of the items, a dead man’s suit, comes back to haunt him, literally. This one top of sharing the name of a Nirvana song was all I needed. I read it, and it was creepy as hell.

Thanks Joe for writing something frightening that doesn’t have to be gross or gruesome.

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Also, don’t forget about my contest. I’m giving away a free copy of one of my favorite books, John Dies at the End, at the end of this month. All you have to do to enter is follow me on twitter (@alexnaderwrites) and then tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback

 

A is for Atmosphere

B is for Benny Imura

C is for Crow

D is for Doomtree

E is for Empathy

F is for Fight Club

G is for Game of Thrones

H is for Heart-Shaped Box

G is for Game of Thrones #AtoZChallenge

ImageHey everyone! I want to lead off with a reminder of my contest for the entirety of the month of April. I am giving away a copy of one of my favorite books of all time, John Dies at the End. All you have to do to enter is follow me on twitter (@alexnaderwrites) and then tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback

Now, on to the good stuff. Game of thrones is a fantasy TV show/novel series written by George R.R. Martin. The show and the books (I’ve only made it through two of the books so far, but in my defense they are really long) are both great.

The reason I like the series so much and what inspires me as a writer is how many characters there are and how huge the world is. My “biggest” novel had 9 major characters. The first book/season of Game of Thrones has no less than 652 major characters. Okay, so 652 is an exaggeration, but only a slight one.

What makes it even more amazing to me is that there is no true main character. The story covers multiple people equally. All of whom are very far separated for most of the story. There was one character who I thought was the main character in the first book/season and I was proved very wrong.

Game of Thrones makes me want to write a massive fantasy epic with 652 characters, but I think I’ll just try to get to a dozen first. Baby steps and all.

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A is for Atmosphere

B is for Benny Imura

C is for Crow

D is for Doomtree

E is for Empathy

F is for Fight Club

G is for Game of Thrones

F is for Fight Club #AtoZChallenge

ImageHey everyone! I want to lead off with a reminder of my contest for the entirety of the month of April. I am giving away a copy of one of my favorite books of all time, John Dies at the End. All you have to do to enter is follow me on twitter (@alexnaderwrites) and then tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback

F is for Fight Club.
 
I have never seen a more quotable book/movie than Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. I saw the movie when it came out and loved it. I got around to reading the book a few years back and found it very similar to the movie. I remember liking the ending a little better in the novel although I don’t exactly remember how they were different now.
 
The style of narrative is perfect for the story and everything about it just fits. I have read other books by Palahniuk and just couldn’t quite get in to them, but Fight Club inspires me to want to write a cult classic with quotes that still ring true almost 20 years later.
 
My favorite quotes:
 
“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
 
You buy furniture.  You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.  Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled.  Then the right set of dishes.  Then the perfect bed.  The drapes.  The rug.  Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you”
 
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
 
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A is for Atmosphere
B is for Benny Imura
C is for Crow
D is for Doomtree
E is for Empathy
F is for Fight Club

E is for Empathy #AtoZChallenge

ImageHey everyone! I want to lead off with a reminder of my contest for the entirety of the month of April. I am giving away a copy of one of my favorite books of all time, John Dies at the End. All you have to do to enter is follow me on twitter (@alexnaderwrites) and then tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback

 

Now to continue along with my series on things that inspire my writing today’s post is a little different. The previous four posts have all been some form of media. This one, however, is a little less tangible.

I consider myself a fairly empathetic person. I have always tried to put myself in other people’s shoes and feel what they are feeling. This isn’t always possible because no matter how understanding you are, there are just some people you can’t understand (people who think Superman is the greatest superhero ever, for example).

I don’t know very many writers personally, but I imagine they all have to be somewhat the same as me in that respect. If they weren’t every character would come out the exact same and that just not how life (real or fiction) works. Writers have to be able to get in the head of the antagonist or their motives will never be believable. If we don’t understand why our characters feel the way they feel how will our audience. I could be completely wrong and if you are an apathetic writer leave me a comment and I will take it all back (maybe).

I’ve ended the last three posts with a picture of what I talked about, but since I can’t think of a good picture for empathy I leave you with this:

 

Recap:

A is for Atmosphere

B is for Benny Imura

C is for Crow

D is for Doomtree

E is for Empathy

 

D is for Doomtree #AtoZChallenge @YEAHRIGHTPOS

Okay guys, sorry if yesterdays post was a little jumbled. It had a crazy day of work and only had about two minutes to write it. Anyway, on with D.

D is for Doomtree.

What is Doomtree? According to their website they are, “A mid-west hip-hop collective.” (On second thought that might not be a direct quote, I’m going by memory, but it’s something like that.) They are a group of artists that all do great music independently and have all come together to make a collaboration album titled “No Kings.”

How have they inspired my writing? These guys have smarter, more literary raps than my actual literary works. I’m not sure how many rappers are referencing Kerouac, Poe, Hitchens, or Plath, but these guys definitely are. I have been following Doomtree for quite a while now and I still hear something I never noticed every once-in-a-while. Plus the head of the group, P.O.S., is one of the few people I’ve gotten to answer me on twitter, which makes him awesome.

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C is for Crow #AtoZchallenge

Image(Note: The author only acknowledges The Crow graphic novel by James O’Barr and the film starring Brandon Lee. There has never been any other crow films made and don’t try to tell him otherwise.)

The crow is one of my favorite movies ever. Enough so that my first born son is named Draven after the main character. The film has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember and I am almost ashamed of myself for waiting until last year to read the graphic novel. The graphic novel is far superior to the film in terms of emotion. O’Barr wrote the novel after his girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver.

Every image in the book is covered with pain and grief and the words are as poetic as anything I’ve ever read. O’Barr did an excellent job making the reader feel the pain that he felt as he tells the story of Eric Draven coming back from the dead and to get revenge on the men who killed him and his girlfriend.

SPOILER ALERT!!! (Does it count as a spoiler if it’s more than 20 years old?) Anyway, another cool aspect of the novel (it’s different in the movie) is that it is the only story I can remember where the main character is never even remotely threatened by the bad guys. The only pain he goes through is the pain from the loss of his girlfriend.

Also, in the book and the movie is the quote from William Thackeray, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” For some reason I can’t think of a truer statement.

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And don’t forget:

I’ve just started a contest that will run through the end of this month. All you have to do is follow me on twitter and tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback http://tweetsw.in/2191/

 

More info here.

B is for Benny Imura #AtoZchallenge @JonathanMaberry

ImageToday is day two of the April A to Z challenge. The theme of my posts is what has inspired my writing.

Today’s post is Benny Imura, the lead character in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series. It is a teen series about life after the zombie apocalypse. I can’t remember how I came across the book, but I was very skeptical about reading a teen novel. For whatever reason I just assumed it wouldn’t be very good since it was for “kids”. Boy was I wrong. I’ve read all three of the books in the series and other than a lack of strong language, I couldn’t tell you how this was any different from an adult novel.

The story is also heart-wrenching, something that I was not expecting from a book about zombies. Some gore and some rotted fight scenes I was ready for, but not the emotional agony the characters go through for the entirety of the third book.

Now I realize that just cause it’s teen, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Maybe I’ll even write a teen novel one day…

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Recap:

A is for Atmosphere

B is for Benny Imura

P.S. I’ve just started a contest that will run through the end of this month. All you have to do is follow me on twitter and tweet this message: Follow @AlexNaderWrites and RT this for a chance to win A copy of John Dies at the End in paperback http://tweetsw.in/2191/

More info here.

A is for Atmosphere

Okay, so I hope I’m not too late for this thing. Brief intro: I am a rather new author and I’m going to use this list to show what’s inspired me. Done.

Day one: A is for Atmosphere. No, not all that air and gas and stuff. I’m talking about the hip-hop duo Atmosphere. Hip-hop isn’t for everyone and it’s honestly not even my favorite genre, but the ability they have to put a story into a song amazes me.

On the album “When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold” every single track is a story of new characters and almost every one of them is heartbreaking. The amount of emotion that they can pack into three minutes is something that I am envious of. I swear they pack more into a song than I do a 70,000 word novel. (I really, probably shouldn’t admit that…)

That’s all till tomorrow.