March 2022: Plotting Your Mystery, A Hero of Our Time, Green Knight, and More 

 I hope your New Year is off to a good start. What a weird few weeks. 
Starting February 7th, I’m teaching a course for University of Toronto SCS. “Plotting and Writing a Mystery” is online, with weekly meetings and feedback on your writing.
Plot stumps a lot of would-be-mystery writers. (A lot of published ones, too). People either fall into the “plot is the devil and kills creativity, so just wing it, maaan” school, or the “find a 12-step outline and shoehorn your story into it” school. The course will cover most aspects of writing, characters, dialogue, etc., but will spend extra time on plotting.
Registration is open through the first week.
I have a pretty good and pretty dark story in Existere, York University’s lit magazine, about a high school shooting told from the perspective of survivor who grew up friends with the perps.  
A couple of quick and book and film recommendations.
Naben Ruthnum’s A Hero of our Time is brutally, achingly funny, and precision-tuned to nuances of identity and commerce. 
Authors, academics—all of us—perform a fair amount of self-mythologizing. In some ways it’s inevitable. What Hero does so well is express the value and the cost of these narratives, question their inevitability, and challenge the hypocrisy of cloaking your ambition in an “origin story” designed to get what you want. What happens when someone challenges your well-crafted story—or in the case of the main character—hoovers it up into their own?
The highest praise I can pay A Hero of Our Time is that if it were written worse, the ideas simplified, the edges rounded off—if it were more dishonest but just as well-written—it would win every literary award in the country.
(Ennio, my kitten, also enjoyed it.)
The Green Knight is miles better than any film in Oscar contention. 
2021 was a good year for movies, and Power of the Dog, The Lost Daughter, etc. are all worth checking out. Some great genre films too, like Old Henry and The Night House.
I can give you a list of its qualities—a brilliant performance by Dev Patel, breathtaking cinematography—but what makes Green Knight extraordinary is how it parks itself in literary ambiguity. Yes, it’s an Arthurian romance, one of the stories distilled by Joseph Campbell and Hollywood into the “hero’s journey.” But it refutes and questions and complicates that, too.
Two movies I obsess over are Unforgiven and Apocalypse Now, both of which work on the genre storytelling level (the bad guys get killed, the good guys don’t) but also seem to undo their own stories. It’s something I shoot for with the Wakeland novels. “Satisfying and troubling” is not easy to pull off, but The Green Knight does it as well as anything. 

Hell and Gone comes out in the States on March 8th. Pre-ordering is a huge, huge help. 
There’s a nice review in my hometown paper: “some of the best writing Wiebe has published to date.” And mystery legend Reed Farrel Coleman says “Hell and Gone cements Wiebe's place alongside Penny, Barclay, and Atwood.”
Please consider ordering up a copy at your local bookstoreAmazon, or Barnes and Noble. And if you already have, thank you, and please review it wherever you can. 
Next month I’ll be able to share some awesome tv/film news—contact signed, press release coming--as well as another short story, and a hint about the direction of the fourth Wakeland novel. Thanks for reading!

(The cat gets the last word.)
Copyright © 2022 Sam Wiebe, author, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp