Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Guest Blog by Chuck Wendig - Having a kid changes everything

Please welcome Chuck Wendig to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs.  Blackbirds (Miriam Black 1)* will be published in April (US/CAN) and May (UK/RoW) by Angry Robot.

Having a kid changes everything.

In italics: everything.


It’s all changed. Changed in the most sanity-destroying, brain-damaging, time-eating, sleep-killing ways.
Many writers give themselves over to a daily routine: wake up, drink coffee, write the first thousand words, walk the dog, second cup of coffee, write the next thousand words, shot of whiskey, a moment spared for Internet pornography, the next thousand words, eat lunch, discard pants, begin editing, get sleepy, get second wind, descend into madness, and so on and so forth.

Writers must become creatures of habit. We must apply order to our day to succeed.

Babies, on the other hand?

Babies are creatures of chaos.

They are, in this way, the very opposite of writers. They cannot give themselves over to routine because every day they change a little more. Our son – nicknamed “B-Dub” – just turned nine months old and out of nowhere this tiny hairless chimpanzee is ticking off checkmarks left and right. Learning to high-five, kiss, stand, walk, babble, put objects together, play patiently with toys, and so forth. He can climb the stairs. He can ascend both tiers of the couch (cushion and the back of the couch) with ease. Having him run around the living room is like setting a coked-up goblin free in your house.

You really have to pay attention to coked-up goblins. And you really have to pay attention to babies, too.

So, where once I had routine, I now have chaos. Where once my day was splayed out before me like a Chinese buffet, I now have to chase down hours with hatchet and spear.

Ah, but all that’s just external. Just what happens on the outside. Something happens inside, too—suddenly, the writer must look at the stories he tells. I take a look at BLACKBIRDS and I think, “My son can’t read this. My son shouldn’t read this until he’s at least a teenager. Hell, I’m not even sure I should read this. Sex. Drugs. Violence. Bad language. Prolific snark.” DOUBLE DEAD features zombies and cannibals and asshole vampires and, worst of all, a nation of Juggalos. SHOTGUN GRAVY has a teen girl who goes up against bullies with shotguns. Not the greatest message for a young mind. “Sure, boy, got a problem with bullies at school? Here’s a .410 shotgun. Give ‘em a scare!”

So now I’m thinking, I’ve got to learn to tell stories to this itty-bitty human. Half the kids’ books we already have don’t help. Daddy can’t read those without criticizing. “This book about this weird button-eyed teddy bear has no character development, no thematic arc, no narrative conflict. I DECLARE IT TO BE A TURD. We will throw this away!” And then I fling it to the far corners of the room.

What will I do? I’ll adjust. Like man has been doing ever since he turned flippers into feet and waddled out of the ocean brine. I’ll keep carving away hours to write. I’ll keep figuring out how, as B-Dub gets older, to tell stories he’ll like as well as keep writing stories that adult human beings will like. And I’ll do it happily and eagerly and without concern because now I’ve got one more reason to keep on doing my penmonkey shuffle: I’ve got a child with a mouth to feed and a mind to fill with stories.

Having a kid changes everything.

In the best – if also the craziest – possible way.

About Blackbirds

Miriam Black 1
Angry Robot, April 24. 2012 US/CAN, May 3, 2012 UK/RoW
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch Of Death | The Future Is Written | Free Way | Surviving ]

About Chuck

Chuck’s novel Double Dead hit shelves in November, 2011. His second novel, Blackbirds, is already getting rave reviews prior to its publication in April of this year. Its sequel, Mockingbird, publishes at the end of 2012.

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award.

Chuck has contributed over two million words to the game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP). He is a frequent contributor to The Escapist, writing about games and pop culture.

He currently lives in Pennsylvania with wife, dog, and newborn son. You can find him at his website,, where he is busy talking about storytelling and the art and craft of writing. You can find his writing advice collected in e-books such as Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey and 500 Ways to be a Better Writer. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy.

Chuck's Links

Terrible Minds (website)
Tumbelog (Tumblr)

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Blackbirds (Miriam Black 1) from The Qwillery. Please note that should you win the novel will not be sent to you until after it is published in April.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Share one thing that it on your bucket list 
(that list of things you'd like to do before you die)? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

**Giveaway rules are subject to change.**

*To those of you who might say, "but, but THIS is not Mr. Wendig's first novel!!" The Qwillery considers Blackbirds a debut novel because it is not part of a series (Tomes of the Dead) with novels by several writers as is Double Dead.  The Qwillery may be wrong to think so, but that's the way it is. It is not a reflection of the quality of Double Dead or any novel in the Tomes of the Dead.


  1. Besides reading all the books I own, visiting Japan and Egypt are on my bucket list.

    Blackbirds sounds quite interesting. I guess it will end up on my bucket list, too! LOL

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

    1. Hello .. I have never seen a smart articles that you created. It really helped me to get back my ideas for writing. I will save this post, for I learn more

  2. Traveling in Thailand is on my bucket list. Can't wait to read Blackbirds!

    miss DOT ewe AT gmail DOT com

  3. I'd figure a way to get my toosh into space, or the Moon (depending on which is more reasonable at the time). I don't care what it takes; I'm doing it. Okay, so I won't kill anyone to make it happen, but I'll definitely sell my body or whatever. I'm going to die, so what does it matter? I just want to see space with my own eyes...

  4. Wise words, those about babies...

    On my bucket list: get into a fight in order to protect something just or someone in danger, hit my opponent with his/her own shoe, then throw said show onto the nearest roof or down the closest bridge.

    inomuiro AT gmail DOT com

  5. Travel. I would love to travel to so many places, see so many things, try so many cuisines. Take a trip through Asia.

  6. MUST. SEE. NORTHERN. LIGHTS. It's not grand or anything like world travel, but it's certainly doable which makes it that much more appealing to put at the top of my list.

    +1 for following.

    LOVE the cover of BLACKBIRDS. It's amazing.

  7. I'd love to meet Chuck. It's on my bucket list.

  8. I have a novel in my head I'm just not ready to write. It needs writing. And filming.

    I'll retweet Chuk's tweet link. :)

    Asylos at gmail dot com

  9. The thing that's first on my bucket list is to live a long, long Lazarus Long time :)

    thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  10. Bucket List
    1. Get something published
    2. Have Chuck say curse words about it

  11. The #1 thing on my bucket list right now is to finish writing my first novel and getting it published (ok the publishing thing is out of my hands...)

    Chuck Wendig is a huge inspiration with his funny yet informative and slightly disturbing tweets and blog posts!

  12. Hrm. Bucket list. I'd like to compete in the dragonboat World Club Crew competition (I know, I know...weird one), snag a publishing deal for my novel, and be able to die saying I had a torrid affair with Henry Rollins.

    Yeah, not much.

    The cover of Blackbirds, by the way, is one of my favorite covers over the last 12 months. Nice.

  13. Ah, yes, a child does change everything...and here's a secret: if you have more than one, it'll change EXPONENTIALLY. But then it all becomes excellent fodder for ideas. Truly, children make you look at the world through a completely different lense.

  14. To make it to the top of a lighthouse in NC that foiled me on my honeymoon. I got about 1/3 of the way up the iron steps before my fear of heights kicked in and drove me back down to the bottom to wait for my husband. I'd like to make it all the way to the top and look out at the water before I kick it. :)

  15. Bucket list: To visit Loch Ness. (Bonus points for practicing my Scottish accent enough beforehand that the locals think I'm one of them.)

  16. I'd love to live in another country for at least a year.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower

  17. I want to cruise around Australia.

    GFC Anne38

  18. Thanks for the awesome post and giveaway! This book sounds amazing!

    Ummmm... On my bucket list is to travel, travel, travel. I want to leave Nebraska and go around the US ,then travel abroad. I will also win the lottery or find a sugar daddy to fund all that... lol ;)

    +1 gfc: erin
    +1 comment

  19. Bucket list: Have my own coked-up little goblin running around the house.

    Swiftscribbler at gmail dot com.

  20. Bucket List. Holy crap I don't know where to begin, and I've done an awful lot already.

    I'd probably have to say visiting South America and that other cold continent - they're the only two places in the world I haven't been to yet.

    Other things somewhere down the list would include launching myself out of a perfectly good airplane (preferably with one of those übercool wingy thingy suits), retracing Papa Hemingway's steps hunting in Africa, drinking Scotch filled with ice from an iceberg, and writing the next great American novel. Wait. Scratch the last one. Done that.

    And I'm seriously looking forward to reading Blackbirds!

  21. Travel to Australia
    I follow the blog.

  22. Visit Venice before it sinks!
    GFC: Vivien

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  23. Irish Pub Tour!

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

    1. Tweeted:!/BookAttict/status/177605804478832640

      Follow GFC: BookAttict

  24. Nice post. I've been enjoying your adventures with B-dub through blog & twitter. And I'm seriously looking forward to reading Blackbirds. (And congrats again at winning the cover lottery - it ROCKS!)

    Now bucket list. I don't really have one. I guess my tremendous travel yen would fit. I want to visit Australia, and spend some quality time in Europe. Oh! And another cruise, but Caribbean next time!

    +3: commenter, foower, serial retweeter


  25. Learn to surf, and also go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.


  26. Bucket list: finish a couple of screenplays.

    +1 follower
    +1 comment
    +1 tweet:!/raygarraty/status/177686341889433600

  27. I'd like to visit NEW YORK CITY. I live in a small country town, so...

    I follow.


  28. I would like to learn some sort of martial arts. The book sounds really interesting. Adding to my ever growing list. Thanks for the chance.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  29. I want to go to Ireland at least once!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/177826927694974976

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  30. On my bucket list: travel to Ireland, most of Europe really, but definitely Ireland.

    And pick up a copy of Blackbirds if I don't win. ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. On the bucket list, travel more of Europe and be published. Both will probably take a while.

    Thanks for the giveaway, the books sounds awesome.

    laparker2010 at gmail dot com

  32. Travel is definitely part of my bucket list. The big one for me is Australia or New Zealand; I'd love to get to know such unique places!

    +1 for following the Qwillery.
    +1 for Facebook post:

    b (dot) edge315 (at) gmail (dot) com

  33. I'm right there with you booklover0226. I want to read all the books I own or at least by the time I die, have a collection where I have read 95% of them. And I also want to visit Egypt. It has always been a dream of mine.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I have been reading alot of good things about Blackbirds. I also have Double Dead on my TBR list since I read a number of awesome reviews. And I love the cover art for both :)

    I am a follower.

    ssosborn at gmail dot com

  34. I wanna go to the US for a coast to coast. I've been saving for it and plan to do it SOON!

    blog follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it