Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Origins of Classic Camp

I am Classic Camp, and I really should have done this blog post some time ago to let everyone know exactly how I earned this moniker. Although this really should have been one of the first blog posts I ever made, as they say, better late than never. I have been known in some circles as Classic for over 20 years now. It comes so second nature to me now that I almost forget some people may not have any idea how I earned the name at this point. So here it is:

I first earned the name "Classic" in college. I was a staff writer for the college newspaper, The Speciator, and worked my way up to News Editor and then Features Editor. As such we had a certain amount of space for weekly editorials and features. Often the other editors would complain that these articles would come in late and sometimes at all. Between semesters, we had a meeting about what to do about this, so I suggested doing a weekly column on one of my favorite topics, classic rock music. I could use cover art for each feature to add a graphic and even one or two trivia questions. We just needed a title for the weekly feature, so one of my fellow newspaper editors suggested Classic Camp.

The column became a big hit.I did columns on rock groups such as Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, and many others. While sitting in class I would hear other students discussing the feature, and my professors brought it up in class from time to time. People began to refer to me as "Classic" Camp. After a semester, even my professors were calling me "Classic" Camp.

Well, not everyone loved it. At one point a group of art students got together to complain that they weren't receiving enough press coverage, and even named my column as part of the problem. To counter this I tried to prove by writing a column on the Sex Pistols, but in doing so I also proved that music is an art form and even a group such as the Sex Pistols contained artistic elements, such as the style of music fitting the message of anarchy within the lyrics. Secretly, of course, I like art and felt it did indeed deserve more coverage, so I even began dedicating a section of the features pages (which I was editor at the time) to upcoming art events and shows.

After college I joined the message boards on the Internet Movie Database, and needed a name, so of course, I chose Classic Camp. To this day I still have a presence online as Classic Camp, including my own Facebook group, Classic Camp's Classic Horror Emporium. It has been an adventure, which I hope will not be over any time soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

I Received 3 Rejections in One Day (And Why That's a Good Thing)

I hit a new record the other day, three rejection e-mails in one day. Even though all three were rejections, do not feel sorry me. In fact, I'm rather proud that I received this many rejections in such a short period of time, and here's why.

For one thing, it shows I'm being productive. It means I've been writing and submitting my work at a reasonable rate. Naturally, it is always better if at least one of those rejections were an acceptance letter, but in some ways publishing fiction is a numbers game. You have to get your work out there to as many publications as possible in order to become successful.

Aside from that, I also received feedback. Only one of the three rejections was a form letter, and that actually from the smallest publication. The middle sized publication provided me with a small note asking me to keep sending them my work, and the largest of the three publications actually provided me with some very personal and helpful suggestions. This was a professional paying publication that actually commented that my piece was "well written" and offered a suggestion for revision.

But most importantly, at the end of the day, no one really cares about how many rejections one receives, only how many successes they achieve. There are very few exceptions to this, although I will state that one exception is Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which holds the word's record for the most rejections before becoming a New York Times best seller, after being rejected 121 times.

The point is, writers need to make goals for how many submissions they make in order to subvert the depression of inevitable rejections. All writers receive a great deal of rejection letters in their careers, and this is why it is imperative to aim for a number of submissions, and let the rejections and acceptances come as they may.

That's my advice for this week. Happy writing, and feel free to use this image for inspiration:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Being Recognized

I received this from one of the schools where I teach, Paul D. Camp Community College. It is nice to be recognized. I'm assuming it has to do with the scholarship I won last year (and yes, I'm still working on the Frankenstein research). I also published several short stories and one poem last year, so I did achieve both scholarly and creative engagement as the certificate reads.

I'm hoping to continue my string of successes from late last year. I have several short stories and poems out right now, and am hopeful at least one of them might prove successful and gain publication. I'm also working with someone who may help with my long fiction. In addition to that, I'm still working on the Frankenstein in film project and hope to publish an article or two on that sometime soon.

Let's hope I find the success I'm looking for.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eat me! Thanksgiving Horror

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I got to thinking (dangerous, I know), what horror stories go well with this holiday? And eventually, it came to me: Cannibalism stories!

So let's hear it, what are some of your favorite stories involving cannibalism, either in books, short stories, or film? I want to hear about all sorts of stories that involve people eating people in all of its various forms.

By the way, the photo is from my Facebook group. You can join us here.

Friday, November 2, 2018

My First Scholarship Haul

I received my first haul from the Horror Writers Association Rocky Wood Memorial scholarship for Non Fiction Writing recently (pictured above). I'm pretty sure the contents at this stage will make sense only to me, but I will attempt to explain them anyway.

The books with the face cover are my methodology, Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad (or pentad on dramatism). It is considered a pragmatic approach to analyzing literature, or any other rhetoric. I will post more thoroughly on this at a future date.

Next to Burke is the first film purchase, Jess Franco's Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein. I have a few other outlets to get films, but am pretty sure I will not be able to get this one from any other source, so I placed it in this first order. It's also a film I've been trying to hunt down for about 20 years. Jess Franco is (sort of) the Ed Wood of Europe, I like to call him. He makes horrible films, but has a certain amount of enthusiasm for the horror genre, which I can very much appreciate.

Below that are two books that I chose to order first because I think I can use them for far more than just this project. The Golden Turkey Awards is a list of the worst movies ever made. It didn't have as many Frankenstein films in it as I had hoped, but it is a fun read.

Next to that is a far more serious study, that of homosexuality in film, The Celluloid Closet. It is essential for one chapter, but it is a very important chapter, the one on James Whale's Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, which I will examine together. Whale was one of the first openly gay figures in Hollywood. I would also like to use the book to write another article or two on Whale and the horror genre in general that will be separate from this book project. The book doesn't look exclusively at horror, but LGBTQ images in Hollywood.

I've also finalized the title of my book, Franksploitation and the Rhetoric of Filmed Frankenstein. I will be posting much more about it in the future, so please keep checking back, and don't be afraid to subscribe.

Friday, October 26, 2018

My First Pitch Party

I'd been reading for some time that Twitter is the place for writers these days so I joined a while back. From there I learned that they occasionally have pitch parties, where agents and presses ask you to pitch your book using a specific hashtag. If any agents or acquisitions editors favorite ❤ your pitch, they are asking you send them a query.

The pitch party I participated in was specifically for horror and dark fiction, with the hashtag #PitDark, and here is what I learned. I made several pitches (the rules stated it was okay to make up to one pitch per hour), one general, and several pitches from the perspective of some of the main characters. Only one of my pitches received a ❤, but it was from two different acquisitions editors. This helped me figure out what kind of posts attract the most attention from decision makers in the publishing industry. When I sent the query I changed it a bit to better match the successful Tweet. And by the way, it hinged on the stakes of the story. So makes the stakes large and important.

Last night I sent my two queries, a little wiser about how to write them. By the way the winning Tweet was:

"The Times of London reporter, Leonard Atmore, has been handed the strangest story of his career, but it is so fantastic that if he prints it no one will believe him and his career will be ruined. If he doesn’t print it, hell could take over the earth."

Meantime, don't forget to eat your Monsters cereals. It's that time of year again.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Photos from Monster Fest 2018

Here are some photos of my presentation, Franksploitation, Frankenstein exploitation films from the 1950s to the 1970s, at this year's Monster Fest. I'll provide more information on this even soon.