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Posts tagged “S.T. Cartledge

You can help support bizarro author S.T. Cartledge through Patreon

S.T. Cartledge is a writer and poet from Australia and he’s creating one-shots and chapbooks of his work that YOU can receive when you sign up to be one of his patrons. I’m a fan of Cartledge’s work, personally. He writes weird and whimsical fiction that blends the magical with the disgusting, the heartbreaking with the humorous. Plus, he’s one handsome fella

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Here’s more info on his patreon, which you can find HERE.

Hi,

I’m S.T. Cartledge. I’m the author of the Orphanarium, Girl in the Glass Planet, Kaiju Canyon, Day of the Milkman, Beautiful Madness (poetry), amongst others. I’m a bizarro author and poet based in Perth, Western Australia.

I’ve started this patreon because I’ve got nothing to lose from it and so much to gain. The primary gain would be in the capacity to dig right into my DIY poetry roots and create some truly unique work that will take you to strange and magical places far beyond the realm of your own imaginations.

Writing, to me, is a place to strip away all generic and real-world concepts and to capture something beautiful using words alone. I occasionally perform poetry at various local spoken word events, and I often take the poems I perform and print them out into what I would call “one shot” poems. A poem which fits on 2-3 A6 pages (a single folded A5 piece of paper) with a simple black-and-white cover.

With funding support through patreon from my fans both old and new, I would be able to share my poems and fiction with you in a variety of formats, in plain text, digital and print one shots, digital and print chapbooks, maybe even video and/or audio, and if I get enough support, professionally published chapbooks and collections.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you decide to support me in my crazy wild poetic adventures. I promise not to disappoint!


The Tea House: On Organization and Planning: Guest Post by S. T. Cartledge

Today’s Tea House post is brought to you by a good old fashioned Irish Breakfast tea. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just a good, reliable tea. It’s a great way to start the morning.
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I recently moved house, and there’s been a period of about a week where I’ve been moving things from one house to another, and I’ve only just now had the time to set my computer back up and resume my daily writing habits.

I’ll admit, my previous habits have been pretty poor. I’ll admit I don’t have a fantastic track record. Even while I’ve been writing every day, the amount of projects which I’ve finished compared to the amount of projects which I’ve started is a sad number.

But don’t be sad for me. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’ve had a hectic week off from writing, and I’m back and I’m writing a new advice column and I don’t care if people think advice columns are best left to the professionals.

I’d like to dwell on a few pieces of advice I hear all the time, how they work for me, and how they relate to progress and becoming a better writer.

The first piece of advice is: Write every day. Chuck Palahniuk does it. Stephen King writes a certain amount of pages before breakfast. My goal is to write an average of 1,000 words a day. Aside from situations like moving house and taking holidays and having a short break after finishing a major project, I should be writing every day. Always pushing towards that 1,000 word a day average.

If I can manage 7,000 words a week, that’s great. If I can do 30,000 words a month, that’s awesome. 365,000 words in a year would be fantastic. These are the incremental goals I’m shooting for. Sometimes it means 500 words a day before work. Sometimes it means 1,500 words on a Saturday. Sometimes it means 2,000 words and up on a day off.

The thing that’s been working for me is that I’ve been taking the “write every day” challenge and molding it around my day-to-day life, finding out the most feasible way to obtain my goals, and when I reach them, making them a little bigger.

In January I was trying to get used to things, so I wrote about 25,000 words that month. February was a little more. About 66 days into the year I had written and documented over 60,000 words of new writing.

I’ve given myself a lot of freedom with what I count as writing. It’s anything I type down which could potentially be published some time in the future in print or online. This includes novels, novellas, short stories, poems – the standard fictions – but also non-fiction articles and reviews, things like this. Even drafts of stories so horrible they will probably never amount to anything, they still become part of the writing process, therefore they’re a learning experience. Count it.

The next piece of advice is: Take notes. Some people carry notebooks all the time or pieces of paper or note pads which can fit in their pockets or wallets which they can write down anything that springs to their mind at any point in time. I love that. I’m not that organised. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and scribble down a handful of random words on a piece of rubbish, and then months later I’d find it and it would still vaguely make sense. But I never used to have much at my disposal for note taking when I was at work or just out of the house.

One little device has made this issue infinitely easier. The smartphone. Any ideas I have, I can not only jot it down, but I can refer to it at any time and I have the space to flesh it out. And it’s not like the good old days where my scrap paper notes would just lie around doing nothing. When I return home and sit at my computer, depending on what I feel like writing, I can either continue with something which I’ve been fleshing out already, or I can crack open a fresh stack of notes and begin creating something new.

Or, even, sometimes my notes are about my most recent works in progress, so they help me to get straight into it when I sit down. The more notes you take, and the better you organize your time, the more productive your writing time will be. It becomes easier to hit my targets earlier on in the day, to see projects through to the end, and to move on to other things.

I’ve also been keeping track of things at home in my diary. I got a 2014 diary specifically to track my writing and plan my days and weeks and months so I can write every day and track my progress throughout the year, so I can plan time to write and time for other things. To keep it managed and track progress on specific projects as they pick up or drop off.

The last piece of advice I have is one which I follow religiously: Do what works best for you. I write as much as I can in order to improve my writing skills. I take notes so that I always have something to write about whenever I sit down to write. I only think about editing and revising once the first draft is done. Editing mid-draft used to be the thing which held me back and now it’s a non-issue.

Leaving projects a few thousand words in used to be a problem, but now it’s just a matter of pushing through until I find something which works. I may not finish a novella or short story all that often, but I’ve done more on that front in the first few months of this year than I did throughout all of last year. Writing more articles and reviews has also helped break the monotony of constantly trying to churn out the next masterpiece. It’s the small successes which keep the momentum going. It’s knowing that all the unfinished works and falling short of my goals and not having a market for my work aren’t failures. They’re experiments, testing what can and can’t be done, what should or shouldn’t.

Some people spend years on one thing. Some people seem to be constantly pumping out books. Some people can plan and plan and plan and then write everything in three days. With the right amount of planning, note taking, and with at least a little bit of writing every day (no matter what it is) you can make a lifestyle of your writing. Even if you’re like me, trying to find out what your next big step will be, knowing your own habits and working towards improving them is the hardest part. Once you’ve got that figured out, you’re all set.

What works best for you? Is there anything here you really agree with or disagree with? Do you have a set schedule, or do you like to try new things all the time? Are there any specific organisation and planning tips you have found useful?
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S.T. Cartledge is the author of the 2012 New Bizarro Author Series book, House Hunter. In 2013, he graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing (first class honours). He loves bizarro, manga, anime, robots, dragons, wizards, heroes, monsters, dinosaurs, and any combination/mutation of these things.


The Tea House: Guest Post by S.T. Cartledge: The Stories at your Fingertips

by S.T. Cartledge

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Today’s Tea House post is brought to you by Oolong tea. Most of the time I’m like your everyday tea drinker, a great way to start the day is with a good black tea, milk and sugar, nice and sweet. Irish Breakfast, preferably.

Oolong is not like that at all. It’s a traditional Chinese tea (Oolong meaning “Black Dragon”) which you drink just with the tea leaves brewed in hot water. I drink it usually on my own to help clear the mind and to warm the body up, especially gearing up for a late night of writing/study. It’s an acquired taste, but I don’t think it’s nearly as overpowering as some green teas can be.

Today I would like to take your memories back to the Tea House post: An Exercise of Tastes. Spike stressed the importance of reading outside your own genre, trying new things and opening yourself up to the potential of new influences. I think this is extremely important and I cannot stress that enough. A few years ago when I discovered bizarro fiction I was also simultaneously discovering manga and anime. Within those genres there are a billion different styles and sub-genres, influences and nods to other genres.

There is no one novel which exists in and of itself in one single genre. Genre is sprawling, genre is uncontrollable, genre is ever expanding as the universe is ever expanding. There are genres being written that don’t have a name yet. There are novels that are just mashups of many different genres. And there’s a genre for mashups, too. Genre is a type, a simplification for these beasts of imagination which often struggle to boil down to just one genre. Sure, there may be one main genre driving the aesthetics and style of a work, but within that there might be romance, crime, noir, horror, whatever.

What I want you to do is stop thinking about genre here. Genre is the end-product. Genre is the classification. The description that readers use to identify with stories. When you read a book, think of the characters, plot, setting, the conflict/resolution. The point of view. The narrative arc. All the elements that an author goes through to piece their story together. All the things the author doesn’t want you to think about because their writing and editing was intended to mask all that. You should appreciate the skill involved when a writer seems to pull it off flawlessly. But you should still, as a writer, be able to break things down and analyse them in the reading.

Instead of asking:

Why is this character doing that? Why is this thing happening to that character?

You should ask:

What is the reason behind this character’s actions? What function/purpose does it have upon the overall narrative?

It should be easy for a writer to ask these questions while reading a book. It should come to some of you like second nature. The logic of narrative and storytelling, the pieces of the puzzle. You may not come up with all the answers, in fact it would be strange if you could. Your answers may not be even remotely close to the truth. But the truth of why an author writes a book doesn’t matter. You’re probably familiar with the idea that once a book is published it becomes the property of its readers. They own it and they are responsible for pulling meaning from it, regardless of what the author intended. The only thing that matters is that you make your own logic.

Now, to take it one step further, take this logic to anywhere you see art, anywhere narratives are made. Watching a movie or TV show. Imagine the process behind the finished product. Imagine how the stories have translated from script to screen, or how the story on the screen may adapt to the page, not as a script, but as a story to be read not only by actors and film makers. How does the style translate? How do you capture the visuals in your writing? It doesn’t have to be film and TV. It could be theatre. If you want a challenge, try reading narratives into art and music. Video games. Stories are everywhere, waiting to be deconstructed and understood on various levels.

Whenever I try to discuss movies with people who just want to watch them for the entertainment value, they see it as stripping away the movie magic. Breaking the illusion. Taking them from the dream world and forcing them to look at the cogs and the gears. They think it ruins the movie. To writers, no matter what quality the film or book or play, there is value to be had. If you open up your inner critic to everything you watch and read and play and hear, there’s a lot to be learned. There’s not just the inspiration that comes from borrowing from other genres, but also the learning process of how that borrowing can be done in the first place.

In the end, it makes you appreciate the finished product even more.

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S.T. Cartledge is the author of the 2012 New Bizarro Author Series book, House Hunter. In 2013, he graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing (first class honours). He loves bizarro, manga, anime, robots, dragons, wizards, heroes, monsters, dinosaurs, and any combination/mutation of these things.


Review: House Hunter by S. T. Cartledge

By Michael Allen Rose

househunterImagine a world in which a shadowy agency funded by the government pulls strings behind the scenes to create a state of perpetual war and devastation in the name of progress. No no, wait, I don’t mean OUR world, I mean the fascinating and violent world of S. T. Cartledge’s House Hunter. Okay, well there might be some allegory at work here, it’s true, but at least we don’t have enormous buildings wandering around our skeletal cities pounding the hell out of each other with lightning cannons. We save lightning cannons for conflicts in the middle-east.

House Hunter is set in a society where buildings are semi-sentient and capable of much more than simply providing shelter and places for birds to crash into. Using a cerebrum, which is a sacred object imbued with special properties that allow a user to control the structure, houses can engage in combat, protect their users, and transform into a variety of animals, flying machines, weapons and creatures from our mythic lore. House hunters are those who wrangle the most ornery of houses and train them to be peaceful and helpful, something like wildlife conservationists with an added mixer of daring adventurer and the occasional splash of cock-fighting aficionado.

Cartledge introduces us to Imogen, a house hunter who quickly ends up going from a normal life (as normal as house hunting gets, anyway) to being on the run from a syndicate of influential people interested in consolidating their power using the might of the fabled Jabberhouse. Her only ally, a mysterious figure named Ellis who hides a past that leads to some great twists later in the book. From there, Cartledge spins a tale of adventure that takes the characters through ancient jungles, dark labyrinths and mysterious monasteries to try and stop the Association. This is a fun book, the story riddled with battles between bizarre monsters and exciting transfigurations. It’s obvious Cartledge is a fan of cartoon violence and giant monster flicks, as the series of battles in House Hunter hearkens back to battle scenes from the classic Godzilla films, with the addition of smaller figures (such as his human characters) swinging around and shooting lightning cannons, setting traps, and generally adding to the chaos.

The plot is lightning fast and lots of fun. Cartledge wisely sticks mostly to one through-line and though he occasionally riffs on things with slight detours, every chapter serves the central arc and drives toward the conclusion. It’s difficult to diverge from the main story in a book this short and keep things moving in the right direction, so we’re treated to a very tight and direct plot, which works well. The prose itself belies the author’s youth, and reads far better than a typical first novel. It’s obvious Cartledge has a love of language and storytelling, and that voice comes through in House Hunter. There is also a distinctive noir feel to the style of the book, with the gritty feel of urban environments utilized as characterization instead of setting, which is interesting.

I wish that there had been more room for House Hunter to really explore the world that we get glimpses of in the book. There are all sorts of amazing creatures and concepts on the periphery as we read through the book, everything from minotaurs and sprites to the weird insectile facial features and mutations of the citizenry. In that vein, House Hunter walks a line between the world of the familiar in a sort of magical-realism way and all out full-on bizarro. Because of the book being novella length, it always feels like there’s more just outside the reader’s line of sight. Perhaps we’ll see more of this world in future books, as there seems to be a great deal more to see. Intriguing, fascinating and strange, House Hunter is definitely worth picking up, especially for adventure fans and people who want the grime of noir jammed into their weird action stories. I’m also a huge fan of epilogues that cast the story they follow in a new light, or recontextualize pieces and parts of the narrative – something the author uses here to great effect. A great debut from Cartledge, who is sure to rise in the bizarro scene like a flaming house about to cold-cock a skyscraper.


New Bizarro Author Series Week on I Read Odd Books!

I am a big fan of the New Bizarro Author Series and I am showing my love by devoting a week to these books, plus hosting a book giveaway.  The book discussions start Monday , May 6th  and lasts through Friday May 10th .  Though I don’t know the order in which I will discuss them, these are the books I will feature next week:

Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams

Gutmouth by Gabino Iglesias

House Hunter by S.T. Cartledge

Avoiding Mortimer by J.W. Wargo

Her Fingers by Tamara Romero

Check out my blog for all the details and come out to support the New Bizarro Author Series authors!  I really love this program and think it has brought us some amazing books by equally amazing writers, so come to support great ideas and stay for the free books.


Free Fiction Roundup!

The following is a list of free weird/bizarro fiction that has been made available in the last week:

Give and Take by Caris O’Malley

Weirdness from the mind that brought you THE EGG SAID NOTHING. Published by Unicorn Knife Fight.

The Expansion Peach by S. T. Cartledge

Great bizarro tale told in less than 1,000 words. Published by The New Flesh.

Tiny Rainbows by Dustin Reade

Strange little time travel story. Also found on The New Flesh.

The First Assembly of God by B. Morris Allen

Published by Weirdyear.