Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Werewolf Principle- Part Five of Five, Returning to Reality and the Truth About Writer's Block

What's going through your mind?

Action, romance dialogue.  Danger, mystery, intrigue. Love, lust, larceny.

Wait- you're really just sitting in front of a keyboard, aren't you?  You've transformed.  You've immersed.  You've lost track of reality.  You were writing.  The fire alarm could have gone off, smoke could filter into your room and you'd cough and gag while your eyes started to burn, but you'd stay there so you could finish that scene, wouldn't you?  Just a few more lines and you'll be done...

Returning to reality after immersive writing is the problem.

It's the same problem a werewolf is faced with when it returns to humanity.

The argument is that we can, in one sense, be nothing other than what we are.  That there are different sides or "faces" to us.  Returning war veterans know this all too well.  Is a soldier that kills their enemy the same person they were before they lifted their weapon or when they return to home and work next to you in the office?

They have the same body, the same face and the same brain.

Or do they?

Consider someone who has had a near-death experience on the operating table.  They, too, have the same body, the same face and the same brain.

Or do they?

In one sense, they have.  In that physical, evidentiary sense, they are the same person.

But their experience has changed them.  They have done or seen something which radically changed their identity.  Our sense of identity is not so easy to categorize.  We are in a way not yet scientifically validatable, different people after such experiences.

To enter the imaginary world of our own fiction (the same occurs to a lesser degree when we are immersed as readers), we must change ourselves.  The gate-keeper between the world of imagination and reality will not allow us to step through from this world into the world of creative fiction as we are, we must transform to be admitted.  When we return, we, too, our changed.

We change our consciousness to write.  We must change back in order to return.

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, enterprising paranormal investigators pursued the art of astral projection. They claimed in their journals that their consciousness actually left their body and was able to travel through walls, journey around the world and see things and situations no one had ever seen before.  Kind of like what writers go through every day.

When astral projectors returned to their body, they felt a snapping sensation and usually heard an audible click.  If only it was so easy for writers.

Sometimes we return and we feel like we've just woken up after a long sleep.  Sometimes we jump up from our chairs energized by that last scene where we just finished saving humanity.  If someone else sees us, they surely know we've been in virtual reality trance or sometimes think we've lost our mind.

If you think of it, though, this return is the evidence that we've been "gone." That we transformed and are just returning to who we were before we immersed in our writing.  It's easy for others to see.

Maybe we should think about how to control this necessary change.  I't's more important than you think.  We might consider how to consciously initiate and end it, instead of pretending we don't know what's going on.


Because it is the secret to beating writer's block.  Writer's block occurs when you can't transform.  That's all it is, plain and simple.  We take our immersive transformations into writers for grant, and because of this attitude we never study the phenomena closely enough to master it.

Writer's block is the inability to immerse, to transform into the creative state.  It afflicts us because we assume that we can change whenever we want to, but this naivete is our undoing as writers.

Study the werewolf principles, learn the techniques to control the transformation, and you'll never, ever experience writer's block.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Werewolf Principle- Part Four of Five, The Controlled Transformation

Subtitle:  Esoteric points regarding the Werewolf Principle for Writers, as Taught to Me by My Alchemy Teacher

I have studied alchemy for many years, and the entire discipline is built around the concept of "controlled transformation."  Oddly enough, my alchemy teacher was also my finest writing instructor.

In alchemy we have a concept equivalent to that eastern idea of the Yin/Yang integrated dichotomy, and it is known as the Law of Contraries.  As in the case of the Yin/Yang, there are many practical applications that evolve from the concept.  Perhaps the most important for the writer is the idea that polarization (or difference) creates motion, and without a writer's thoughts being in motion, no story will be forthcoming.

In the physical world, we know that if we heat air for a hot air balloon, the hot air balloon will rise because the gas density of hot air is lighter than that of the surrounding cold air.  Difference is initiated to create motion.

But what has this to do with writing?

It was my teacher's contention that whenever a writer immerses in an aspect of his or her personality that they are creating tension between their waking mind personality and the emphasized aspect.  This tension rises because of the struggle for dominance.  The emotional and mental energy thus created is what we use to write fiction.

In the long run, the waking consciousness of a writer will emerge victorious, for no one can stay immersed in the mental state of a writer for too long and stay sane.  By the same token, no gifted writer can focus only on the every day waking world and stay sane either.

Why is this?

I was taught that it is because gifted writers were born between two worlds.

In my early days as a student of the creative sciences, I found little use for such concepts.

Practical, practical.

Prove it, prove it.

Where's the peer reviewed study?

If it's true, why isn't it on television?

You get the picture.

Now, I think that we should spend less time on themes, character arc and the rest and concentrate on how to achieve controlled transformation elucidated in the werewolf principle.  We should pay more attention to the effect that the lunar cycles have on our writing spirit and less on writing work shops.


Because writers do transform when they write.  Are you a writer?  Examine yourself if you say yes.  You may have the same body, sit in the same chair and type on the same keyboard you always have, but when you are at your creative best, the people who know you will wonder if it was really you that wrote what you did.

Writer who do not control the transformation of their personality when they write, really have, by extension, little control of their story.

What I was taught was that to elevate their writing, writers must study themselves as much and more as they study the basic mechanics of writing.  Good tools, she told me, are useless without a good workman.

The question is, how do you control the transformation?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guidelines for White Cat's New Magazine- "Insatiable"

Just a quick note to tell everyone the guidelines for our new paranormal desires magazine Insatiable are now available here: Submission Guidelines

Good luck to everyone who submits!

Karen Koehler's Werewolf Run

Please welcome guest blogger Karen.  We are on a werewolf roll here, and Karen is a wonderful writer with, as you can see, wonderful timing.


This review is part of The Werewolf Run to help promote the release of my own werewolf novel, A Werewolf in Time (Mrs. McGillicuddy #2). Please visit Amazon and Barnes & Noble online for information on ordering a copy of the book for your Kindle or Nook. To see where I’ll be in the next month, visit:

 A millionaire by the name of Tom Newcliffe invites a small group of diverse individuals to spend time with him and his wife in their mansion. Among the people are a professional pianist and his student-turned-lover, an archeologist (played charmingly by Peter Cushing), an ex-con, a diplomat, and various members of Newcliffe’s staff. One among them is a werewolf, and Newcliffe is determined to discover who it is through various “tests” he has developed. The events that follow are a twisty-turny series of mysterious events that eventually segue into a 30-second intermission called “The Werewolf Break,” wherein the audience is asked to determine who the werewolf is based on the events of the story.

Yes, it’s an interactive werewolf film, made it 1974.

The Beast Must Die! plays out more like an Agatha Christie story with horror elements than a real werewolf film, and therein lies the delight in it. The werewolf is treated more like a secret assassin than a monster, a creature fully aware of what it’s doing and yet shrewd enough to cover its tracks…at least until the big reveal at the end. And despite the film being made in 1974, it has more in common with the films of William Castle made in the 1950’s, infamously embellished with their gimmicks and gags, than anything released at the time. 
I have fond memories of watching The Beast Must Die! in the early 1980’s when it experienced something of a small film renaissance due to the sudden popularity of the (then) new Howling movies. Other than the mystery elements, there is nothing especially standoutish about the movie. It isn’t scary. It breaks no new ground in its handling of the werewolf legend. The full moon is soon to rise and the night is full of new-blooming wolfsbane. The protagonist means to shoot the werewolf with a silver bullet, end of story. The actors, other than Peter Cushing, and to lesser degrees Charles Gray (of the James Bond films) and Michael Gamdon (of the more recent Harry Potter movies) weren’t exactly A-list actors at the time. In fact, Mr. Cushing looks like he might be slumming it a bit.

The sets and special effects are only a few notches above poverty row. The production budget was so miserly that the “werewolf” was played by a painted, all-black German Shepherd, and the whole movie looks like it was filmed at the weekend estate of one of the actors. There’s a definite air of “made for 1970’s TV” about this little movie—even though it was, technically, a theatrical release.

And yet the movie does the best it can with what little it has going for it, and manages to be both interesting and charming despite its rough exterior. The fact that its protagonist is black, and the movie isn’t, in fact, either grindhouse or blaxploitation, and the black character doesn’t die in the first act, elevates it ever so slightly above some other examples of film schlock of the 1970’s.

I like The Beast Must Die! A lot. I like its enthusiasm and fearlessness in the face of a near-nothing budget, and I like the fact that it’s based on a favorite short story of mine, “There Shall Be No Darkness,” by James Blish. I like the fact that it soldiers on doing what it does in the face of crappy special effects and 1970’s kitsch. In some ways, it reminds me of Frogs (1972) another impoverished and almost claustrophobically filmed little gem of a film full of washed-up, tired looking actors and B-movie talent giving it all they have and looking like they’re having the time of their lives. The Beast Must Die!, like Frogs, is a fun, shallow, entertaining romp that looks, and feels, like it ought to have existed about twenty years earlier. Personally, I’m glad it existed at all. It’s a good drunk film, and a great film if you want to see a bunch of spoiled 1970’s people entertaining themselves as they’re slowly picked off one by one.

And it has an aging Peter Cushing in it. Really, do you need any other excuse to watch it?

3 pentacles out of 5.

Agree or disagree? Share your opinion below. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

White Cat Announces New Magazine- "Insatiable- The Magazine of Paranormal Desire"

Before finishing the werewolf series, I thought I'd let you all know that White Cat Publications, LLC. will be coming out with a new print and e-magazine near the end of October titled "Insatiable- The Magazine of Paranormal Desire."  We'll be posting the submission guidelines there along with the schedule, but I wanted to let my blog readers know first.

Don't bother emailing me about it, though- I'm just the publisher.  The editors are listed over at White Cat Publications, LLC. under the Staff button at the top of the page, so please forward all your questions to them.

But please do send  a congratulations note to Vasha and Erica about this exciting new venture, and if you're a paranormal romance writer, keep an eye out for the submissions guidelines.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Werewolf Principle- Man or Beast?, Part Three of Five

The guy in the middle is the writer.

His name is Elmo.

He wants to write an action adventure novel, or a paranormal romance, or... maybe eve a western.  Possibly a suspense/ thriller.

The problem is, Elmo's kind of geeky.  His life is average.  He plays online games a lot and hangs out on Facebook because in-person crowds make him nervous.  Girls don't think he's cute, but he'd like a hot date.

His dog likes him, and he saved the neighbor's cat from being run over by heroically dashing out into the street, grabbing it up and diving for the grass but landing on the pavement instead.

The cat freaked, and scratched Elmo's arms and back.  Elmo broke his right big toe trying to run away.

Do you think Elmo, as Elmo, will make a strong narrator?

Does he need to change his personality to be a strong narrator?

Is anyone going to want to read what Elmo writes if he's writing using his real identity?  He can't make life work in his favor.  Do you really think that makes him qualified to be a strong writer?

You and I can be supportive and tell him it's the power of his desires and his imagination that will make his fiction both dramatic and compelling.

But Elmo wouldn't believe us.

Elmo's praying for that full-blown full-moon transformation to become someone people will want to listen to.

So he's thinking- nice guy or evil wild man?

Which way to go?  Who would be the better writer?

We really and truly are someone different when we write successfully, but the question is the same as every werewolf has faced throughout the centuries- can we control who or what we become when the full moon of writing illuminates the inner recesses of our minds and hearts?

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Werewolf Principle, Part Two of Five- The Electric Air

The full moon is coming.

The highway leading to your creative world comes alive with crackling energy.

You pace, you grow irritable.

You don't want to be around other people.

You want them to stay away so you can write.

The full moon is coming and there is creative electricity in the air you breathe.

You're about to change from that nice person everyone knows into a rather frightening individual.  You're going quit thinking about writing and actually write.

Writers are different than most people.  Beneath our outward humanity, we create dark mysteries, brutal crimes, brooding killers and futuristic worlds where the judicial systems are manned by automatons and humanity itself is on the run.  And fantasy, well, that's a very dangerous world to explore.  All this before we take on the current rage "50 Shades of Gray."

How many times over the years have you wondered what kind of person created the suspense thriller you've been reading?  The paranormal romance?  The sword and sorcery novel that's been keeping you up nights?  Or how about that erotic masterpiece you read when no one else is paying attention?

Would you know the writer if you stood next to them in a checkout line?

They look like everyone else.  Did you really think Stephanie Meyer or Tom Clancy or Stephen King or H.K. Rowling looked different than you and I?

But they are different.  They, too, like you are linked to the waxing and waning of the moon.  They, too, become different people when they write. Is the fact that they are more successful to you in any way linked to the fact that they actually allow themselves to slipper deeper into that new identity?  That they allow themselves to be more completely transformed?  And are you not completely letting go of the reins of your day-to-day identity when you write?

Answer me this, but think about it first:  Are you really the same person when you're writing?  Don't get defensive.  The things you make your characters say- they're not really coming from you.  You wouldn't say those things and mean them.  It's just a story.

I think we do transform on those nights when we really write with power.  I think we become different people.  It's a curse of course, which is something we very much share with werewolves.  And we can't help it, we love the power flowing through us when we write.

How about you- do you become a different person when you write?

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Werewolf Principle- Part One of Five

Writers rarely listen to werewolves, and it's our loss.

While it's true that this may be in some degree be blamed on the rather limited range of sounds they are capable of producing (they howl well and are not bad snarlers), it's also a fact that when the full moon rises resplendent above the dark clouds to grace the the evening sky like the queen of the night that she is, writers hide behind their computers.

Embarrassing, isn't it? 

Granted no one wants to step out on a night where their neighbors may or may not be transformed into hideous were-beasts, but no one ever did or ever should assume that being a writer is safe.

In fact, being a writer is dangerous work.

And, like the werewolf, writers live out their lives under a gypsy curse.

But if it doesn't show up on Google, you probably never heard about it.  I'll explain later in this short series why we were cursed, which gypsy cursed us and all the details of how the general public can protect themselves from were-writers.

We all know how to break a were-writer.  It's not silver bullets.  You know better than that.

You want to know how to stop a were-writer?  Just don't respond to any their requests for you to "like" their newest release.  Nothing weakens a writer more than no one responding to their latest effort.  It's like pounding a stake through their heart while they're in a garlic sauna.

It's the in between magical strictures that we need to pay attention to.  Like this one:

Writers look like everyone else.  Sometimes not as good.

How were you supposed to know that the 73 year old woman with hair in her ears has been writing the lusty, bawdy, rowdy adventure-fantasy you've been loving your whole life?  Gag, as the late Janice Joplin said, is just another word for nothing left to puke.

See that scrawny little guy walking down the aisle at work, the one who looks like he's been beaten like a rented mule.  Bench presses less than the average two liter diet drink.  Sounds like a cricket on coke when he talks.  Yep he's the one.  He writes science fiction that can bend your mind.  He has dreams more muscular than an Olympic wrestler.

What happens to the old lady and and the scrawny little guy to make them write like that?

Metaphorical full moon, that's what.

When the conditions are right, they let their inner animal free and then.... look out!!

They're beyond human.  They're were-writers.  They turn into writing animals.

It's an ugly scene, as though all their pent-up sexuality, their need to dominate and every creative ambition they've ever repressed gets covered with wild hair and they literally snarl their way through their manuscript.

But not every night.  Only the nights when the conditions are right.

And wouldn't you like to know how to tell when the conditions are right?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Twitter Buys SETI

The business community telegraphed their growing belief that Regulan candidate Quintelex might just be the next president of the United States by applauding Twitter's acquisition of the SETI program.

Most political pundits have poo-poohed the Quintelex campaign, citing polls showing that the American people are not ready for a president who, although born during a short stop in the state of Kansas where his parents were attending the Crop Circle Festival, is clearly alien.

Still, Quintelex struggles on in the face of such prejudice.

By Twitter acquiring the SETI program, the trend-setting social communications company could be saying that the American people are more open to alien interface than jaded Democrats and Republicans  realize.

"But why acquire SETI?" this reporter asked the CEO of Twitter.  

He smiled indulgently at my mystification.  Later, I would wonder if "mystification" was actually a word.

"The radio signals monitored by the SETI program might contain intelligent discourse," he said gently.

I was confused.

"So you have a personal interest in the search for intelligent life among the stars?"

"In a way."

"Does this mean," I asked, "that you've been unable to find intelligent life in Twitter Tweets?"

He began to pluck at his fingernails, as though trying to torture himself.

"Have you ever tried reading Tweets day in, day out looking for something more intelligent than, 'I love the new iPhone', or 'Eminem's too old' or how many 'K's" in  Gaga?'"

I saw his point.

"There's another thing," he said.  "The EPA is changing the classification of Twitter Tweets from non-toxic household waste to HAZARDOUS.  The Surgeon General has determined that they're toxic to our brains.  That means we have to find a way to dispose of them; the EPA won't allow us to just litter the web with them anymore."

This reporter finally saw the "why."

"So you're jumping on the Quintelex campaign bandwagon to convince him to open up Space as the new electronic hazardous waste dumping ground?  Since Tweets have no redeeming social value and worse are now considered toxic, you want to get rid of them by broadcasting them into space?  And in return, you'll support his candidacy, is that it?"

He put his hand on my shoulder.

"Look," he said, "the entire universe sends us their incomprehensible white noise, why can't we send some back?  SETI's been monitoring their electronic refuse for years.  Time for them to share the pain.  We'll donate cash to Quintelex's campaign if the Regulan team will support the new law allowing us to re-locate Toxic Tweets into deep space."

"Re-locate is a polite word for 'dump,' isn't it?"

"Now you're learning," he said.