Veneri Verbum Book Review

Veneri Verbum by Zanzibar 7 Schwarzenegger

Writing a book may be the perfect solution to all of Christopher Cullum’s problems. He’s currently living at home (at age twenty-five), but his mom fears she’ll be doing his laundry forever. If he doesn’t accomplish something notable soon, she may invoke some tough love. He might even have to clean his room.


Opening this book is like opening Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Eyre Affair at the same time: an explosion of welcome insanity, and a healthy dose of crazy that we all need at some point in our lives. I entered the world of Christopher Michael Cullum, and followed him down the plot hole after his Figment, Elsa. Traversing the land of lost plots, faceless characters and court cases involving a jury of poopieheads, and a hot-dog judge, Christopher and Elsa discover Shiv, the one whom reincarnates several times, my favourite as the female impregnated dragon as one of his sex changes, and named Shivana, and Eric, the One Who Always Dies. And thus we have entered the world of NaNoWriMo, where we will meet NaNa Romo, and launch cat cannons across the realm, and bask in the eternal deaths of Eric. Confused? Welcome to NaNoWriMo. Enjoy the plot bunnies while you stay.
Christopher’s journey is complicated by multiple plot bunnies and tribbles, and the many plot holes he finds himself tumbling down like Alice down the rabbit hole, although, unlike Alice, he doesn’t play croquet with a long-necked bird, he has to fix his plot holes…and at every turn, Eric is dying, Margie the fairy appears but she is not his fairy godmother and he must defend himself against faceless jurors after blood, and a confused NaNa Romo who integrates her shopping list into prophecies he needs to follow to find his way back home, away from the insanity of his mind…but is a healthy dose of crazy all he really needs to finish his journey of NaNoWriMo? And will he clean his room when he is finished?
It took me about four or five days to complete this for review, and I was disappointed when it ended. It was one of those books that I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens, but then, once it came to it’s conclusion, I felt myself feeling sad that I had to leave Christopher and his Figments. But I hope that Zanzibar has more in store for me, and Christopher. Whilst this is quite niche and definitely, participants of the great NaNoWriMo will understand this more than those who do not, it is still a great read, a fun read. There is so much to explore and be found in between these covers that the journey is half the fun, and upon finishing, you will find yourself crazier than you once were, but in a good way.


Pirates, and wenches and magic

I said I was going to post these every week but last week got busy with university and other disruptions, so here we go.

I’m about 20,000 words in, and, am actually jumping between a couple of projects, adding in new words here and there. My cast of characters in my fairy tale murder mystery is quite interesting, from Wolf N Lupus, the wolf/human hybrid detective who sniffs fine arses, to a dwarf police officer with attitude, a talking elephant and a police dog named Seamus pup, willing victims…err…inspirations of some NaNoWriMo friends. The talking elephant, Joshua, is yet to thud, and the pirates just showed up not long before my second body drop. So things are going well. The ninjas have kindly stayed away, and so far, most characters are behaving themselves. Most of the time. At the same time, Princey has shown up as Hermes Charming, the misogynistic prince who gives his hair pep talks. As much as I love Disney, and Once Upon A Time, I was starting to get annoyed with the perfect prince Charming. I gave him flaws, a broken heart and murderous mind. The pirates were unexpected but First Mate Snagglebeard might just be heading the right way for a severe keelhauling. What’s NaNo without a little torture as a side dish to go with the death?
Of course, a lot of time is spent in research and procrastination, referring to my fairy tale books to discover the little bits of information that I need to link everything together. Using the juicy, original tales is much more interesting than the Disney ones: I think Snow White could die in red hot iron shoes. That would make things interesting, and give me a chance to write a red hot murder scene. Why all the death and torture? Why the pirates? NaNo is about getting out a first draft or story: edits can be done later, and as long as things don’t get too ridiculous, with any luck, the story will work with a tweak, tweak here and a tweak, tweak there.
Classic signs of NaNo are the wonderful typos made: lovely young womb instead of lovely young woman, posting like mad about things happening on the Facebook page. Strange Google searches, like, What is the favourite rum of pirates, or How can I kill someone and leave no trace? All things necessary for novel writing, depending on the genre – in fantasy, things get even more interesting with mapmaking – my cartography skills are terrible.
And with that, the pirates are heralding their arrival. I must go and rein them in.

National Novel Writing Month 2014

In about thirty days, I will be undertaking the craziest thing I have ever done: working on my eighth NaNoWriMo novel, a fairy tale serial killer plot, whilst finishing off a course entitled Writing the Zeitgeist and preparing Christmas decorations for my room. I am coming off of seven NaNo wins, even counting one where I was away most of November and had a week to type up my hand written story, and on top of that, I was working off of jet lag that year four years ago, and being sick for half the month two years ago. You may well ask why I am doing this to myself. Well, because it’s fun. And superficially, I want to maintain my winning streak for as long as I can.

This year though, I am throwing another cup of flour into the mix: I am going to attempt to blog at least once a week about how I am going, right here on my reading and writing blog. It’s crazy enough that I might just pull it off and no doubt I will be very tired by the time the month is over, and going between Scrivener and Word daily is likely not the best idea, but if I can pull it off, and hopefully have a novel completed to a standard that can be edited to be potentially published, things will be looking good.

I’m still of course, planning bits and pieces of my novel. I have no protagonist, but I have an antagonist. Prince Charming as a misogynistic serial killer (or multiple murderer, because I believe a serial killer has to use the same method to create his or her signature), who goes after all the female characters of well known fairy tales. I plan on using the Grimm versions. Why? Because they are ever so much more juicy and delightful than Disney, and have all those nasty details I need. Slowly, my plot and setting will come together. The Facebook group is picking up anticipation. We are chatting about plots, throwing ideas around. I have a long list of ways to kill certain characters. It is what we do as writers. Chat about the demise of our characters, and how to pull it off. I believe with our body counts, Ducky from NCIS would have many a lifeless form to talk to, Gibbs and DiNozzo and McGee would have many a suspect to interrogate with vigour, if they lived in our worlds. As writers, we understand each other during this hectic time and support each other. So, my followers, I will be back as often as I can over the coming weeks about books, writing and NaNo.