Author Archive: Eric San Juan

On writing: when hatchet jobs are a good thing

I’ve mentioned before that good editors will almost always improve your work. Writers (myself included) are often too close to their own work to be completely objective about it. It’s difficult to get outside your own head and read your work the way a reader would — and that’s a vital part of the polishing process. After all, if you’re not writing with readers in mind, you may well be writing crap. Another blogger recently made an excellent post about working with editors, specifically newspaper editors. That’s what I happen to be Monday through Friday, so I was especially delighted to see that this guy got it. He stood there, reading the draft, occasionally eying me over the top of the page, then pulled out…
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Another author temper tantrum

Sometimes writers (and in this case editors) just don’t get it. This guy is a perfect example. He rages and rages and rages about people slamming his/his publication’s work, proclaiming, “You don’t get to call me unprofessional!” And then proves his critics right by acting exactly that. Unprofessional. What this guy doesn’t seem to get is that yes, people do get to call him unprofessional. It’s part of the unwritten contract you agree to you put your work in front of the public — especially when you’re putting material out in the form of a magazine, newspaper, or website offering strong opinions. In that context, dealing with criticism, even irrational and mean-spirited criticism, IS PART OF THE JOB. That doesn’t mean you don’t get to…
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Writing through a rough patch

There are times when the words don’t come, and what words that do come make you cringe. You sit down and work, you reach your writing goals each day, but you hate every last bit of work you produce. I’m in the midst of one of those rough patches. For the last week or so I’ve wanted to toss my work-in-progress in the trash. It’s not writer’s block — writer’s block is bullshit — it’s something else. It’s “this sucks, this story sucks, these words suck, why am I bothering with this?” I hate that feeling. I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’m wrapping up a readable draft of a dystopian science fiction novel. I’ve gone back and forth between hoping people find it…
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A midnight visit from the Vampyr

Surprise! It’s midnight on Halloween. You thought my week o’ public domain horror films was over with Night of the Living Dead. You were wrong. Director Carl Dreyer directed one of the great films of all time, The Passion of Joan of Arc, which I once called “a blessing to the world of cinema.” Four years later he would direct Vampyr, a ghostly, ostentatious, bold, experimental film. It’s dark and slow and brooding and moody and forgoes an engrossing story in exchange for an engrossing atmosphere. Twilight this ain’t. Happy midnight. Enjoy the film. (I’ve changed the embedded video to links so this page loads faster): Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Read more about…
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Night of the Living Dead!

For Halloween, I thought I’d go with the big daddy. One of the kings of them all. Grandfather of one of the most popular subgenres of horror today. I’m talking, of course, about George Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead. Now THIS is a legendary film. When it comes to modern zombies, it’s the one that started it all. And it’s still fantastic. It also happens to be in the public domain (see below), so for this Halloween take a gander back at a flick you probably haven’t seen in a while: Some things to note: * When I spoke to Russell Streiner (Billy) several years ago for a feature on the 2005 Fangoria convention, he told me the movie doesn’t hold up just…
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