Monkeys, Blood, And Radiation: Kadrey And I Talk Writing

So, earlier this morning (late at night for him), Richard Kadrey and I talked about writing. And about ninja monkeys and kidnapping writing students and about diapers and whiskey.

You just have to read it.

(Kadrey is, of course, the man behind the kickass Sandman Slim series. Which you should check out. I need to get caught up on the latest two books, but the first three are cracking.)

(I’ve embedded the conversation below. Thanks to Caitlin O’Sullivan for curating!)


  • I recently published my first book. Although only a novella, writing it was difficult as hell because I had this voice in my head telling me I can’t write. And it kept pestering me. Even after all the rewrites and editing, I still thought it crap, but it was the best crap I could do at the time. I sent it away for editing and was surprised the girl liked it, in fact, she kinda went crazy over it. I thought she was just being kind, but it gave me hope that, maybe, I wont embarrass myself. So I published it and it was quite for a while and then the first review appeared. The reviewer liked it–a lot. It made me smile for days, but still, I couldn’t help but wonder if the reviewer wasn’t on some kind of medication. And then more reviews trickled in and they were all praising the book. I was stunned. But happy too, because it meant I had a chance here, that maybe I wasn’t wasting my time after all.

    I’m now back to writing the next one, and would you guess it, that gnawing demon of self-doubt is back and badgering my brain with its shit. And then today I read this conversation between you and Richard. I feel better now. There is some security in knowing that what I felt, and still feel, isn’t so unique to me. I’m glad I continued to write, despite everything. And I know you get this a lot, but thanks for all the advice, Chuck, and thanks for posting this conversation.

  • I have to say, lately when I get to that self-loathing, everything i just did is utter crap place, I’ve been heading on over here to terrible minds for a pick me up. So, I guess I might just be perfect for this class. Sign me up. Though, I warn you in advance, I spent twenty years as a zookeeper, so I feel pretty confident about my serious moves in dealing with said monkey if I decide I want out!

  • We had monkey diapers when I was 7, because…we had a monkey as a pet! I am not even kidding–Harlo and she wore little monkey diapers–with. A little hole for her tail. But that is beside the point. You need to do this class, or maybe a legal version of this class.

    Maybe you just did.

  • I force my sixth graders to participate with me in National Novel Writing Month every year. There’s a lot of moaning and groaning at the outset – lots of I’m a terrible speller and I don’t have any good ideas – but when I challenge them to write the most godawful novel of all times, something that will make their parents think they need to be institutionalized, it suddenly becomes sheer joy. Some of the best stories I’ve even read about zombie chickens from outer space and spy headquarters deep in the bowels of a Kentucky Fried Chicken were written under those conditions. A lot of kids who hated writing before that find out that they like it when the pressure to be perfect is taken off of them.

  • I seriously needed to read this. Thank you! <3 It was hilarious and inspiring, and it made me realize what my problem is with my writing recently.

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