Monday, 24 May 2010

Corpses on my hard drive

Yes, I admit it. I do have two old corpses on my hard drive. If they were humans and had just been left somewhere in a cellar, they would be skeletons by now. They’re old – they’ve been around longer than I have had my own flat so far.

They’re stories – novel material, even – and I just seem unable to finish them. Why? Can’t I think up to the end? Far from it. I know how they’ll end. I have a concept for each of them, with the main characters and a complete line-up of the story. Yet they are not finished and out there to find a publisher. Why?

I really can’t answer that question, to be honest. When I started them up, I really liked them. I still like the stories and the characters, but I can’t bring myself to write them down completely. (I also have devised a complete story line for a slash version of “Dracula”, but I haven’t finished it yet, even though it’s good…)

It’s the concept, I think. Knowing how it will end takes quite a bit of the adventure out of writing for me. I know that’s stupid – I can’t write a novel without having a concept first. I can’t finish that long a story without knowing where I am going. And I know I will enjoy writing the scenes, making them come alive inside my mind (my very own mind-movie theatre inside my skull). But I can’t continue.

This ends now!

I have read over most of one of the stories so far and will continue to write it. It’s a mystery story (they both are) and I will finish it, even if it kills me! “Der Fall des Cornwall-Vampirs” (“The Cornwall Vampire Case”) spans over 100 pages already (and is good for about 200 more). I’m about one-third through the story and just about to introduce the real villains. Maybe that’s the point. I’m going to change my point of view for the first time in the story and I’m a bit worried about that. I’m good at looking into a villain’s mind, so that’s not the problem. By now I’m out of the story, too, but that can be remedied by reading through the story again a couple of times. The Cornwall Vampire is not going to get away, that much is for sure!

This time I will hang in tight and finish the story. I promise!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Beat the Reaper

By pure accident I picked up “Beat the Reaper” by Josh Bazell yesterday while browsing though my favourite bookstore.

After I’d read the first two or three pages – which actually feature the first fight in the book –, I decided to buy it. Once I was back home, I started to read the novel and didn’t really stop it until I had finished it.

There are quite some gruesome scenes in the novel, as the main character once was a hitman for the mob. While the story alternates between past (how he became a hitman and why he decided not to be one any longer) and the present (a day at the hospital at which he works as an intern), it gives quite some interesting insights in both medicine and the mob.

Still, the story is full of blood and murder (and information about how to kill someone in approximately 35 ways or so). I mean, how tough do you have to be to make a knife out of your own bone? (I mean that, towards the end the hero of the story does that, in order to survive.)

One of the reviews in the book describes it as a mixture between House (“House, M.D.”, not the music style) and Jason Bourne – surely a good description. There’s a lot of philosophy about humans and what it means to be a human in the book, quite some information about sharks, too (you’ll learn about the reason for this towards the end of the book…). There’s a lot of insight in the works of a hospital, too, and they are far from “Grey’s Anatomy” or “General Hospital”, believe me.

The book really is a page turner. Once you’ve started reading and are past the first few pages, it becomes extremely difficult to put the book away in order to do something else…