A bit of my novel

Happy Leap Day! How nice to get an extra day in the year. I’m using mine to be utterly corny and take a leap — here are a few paragraphs from my novel.

I was too dumbstruck by the skaters to notice who they were right away. But, squinting more closely at the bigger, broader skater, I saw Viv was right. “It is Jim Dietz!” I whispered back, surprised. Jim Dietz had been the equivalent of a heavy metal power ballad at our school, semi-famous for his maroon Camaro and a lethal combination of bad temper and good looks. Viv had a crush on him when we were freshmen. But he got suspended pulling a knife on a kid in the cafeteria two years ago, and then was sent to his dad’s house in Wisconsin. No one had heard of or from him since. And now he’d come back, and become a skater. He had gotten much bigger and grown his hair out, but it was him.

“He’s amazing,” Viv noted, admiration in her voice as we watched him. She was right: he had incredible strength and power. Jim attacked every movement with a forward intensity, as if he wanted to smash himself into something and take glee in the rubble, like a human hurricane on concrete. He had a heft that belied the fearsome speed he got on the board, able to explode into astonishing flips and spins in mid-air.

Then there was the other skater, the one no one knew at all. He was less flamboyant in style, but once you started watching him, you couldn’t help but stare. Next to Jim’s massive bulk, he was taller and lankier, with dark hair and pale skin. A network of tattoos covered him, snaking all over his sinewy arms and shoulders. He had a different skating style from Jim, imbuing everything with a kind of offhand grace and intricacy. The way he moved wasn’t exactly feline, but it had an animal-like, instinctive quality. He could do half-cabs like they were nothing, one after the other. He could do all kinds of flips and grinds, dashed off like an afterthought. He could soar up into the air with ease, getting incredible air off the simplest of railings. He nailed the hardest skate tricks ever, the most complex combinations, and he did it like it was the easiest thing in the world.

I watched them for a bit, admiring the show like everyone else. But feeling my own board clutched against my chest, I remembered what I had set out to do tonight — and realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Nothing anyone did tonight would compare. It was this bittersweet feeling: seeing the most beautiful skating of my life, and realizing how janky my own efforts would seem in comparison to it.

I tugged at Viv’s arm, motioning for us to go. “Aren’t you going to go up?” she whispered, looking confused. I could tell she didn’t want to go.

I only shook my head. “Let’s go.” I took one last look at the two skaters, soaring high in the air in a way I could never hope to touch, and then turned and made my way back to the edge of the park where I belonged.

It is called, at the moment, LOVE AND CONCRETE, and it tells the story of Lily, a skateboarder who falls in love with a mysterious, gifted skater she meets on the scene. But he’s a werewolf, and of course, hijinks ensue. Okay, not hijinks! I jest — it’s a paranormal romance, for God’s sake! But there is illicit swimming in ponds, moshing with skinheads, animal sacrifices, skinned elbows and a secret lurking in the woods. If you’ve ever been giddy with a crush-turned-true-love, you know what my book feels like. If you’ve ever cowered in fear in the middle of the woods at night as you overhear the crunch of breaking bone and flesh against metal — well, you also know what my book feels like, too.

I also started a Tumblr for my book, collecting all the images I’ve been squirreling away since I started the novel. And I must say, it is super, super-hot, with loads of gorgeous wolf pics, skater pics, and the occasional snapshot of alt-rock heroines. Visit it: . I also started two Pinterest boards, one of , one of . You can also check out my dream home Pinterest board while you’re there. Or the one of my wardrobe. Those are kind of dorky, but well, there you go!

Screenplay: My 90s Zine Girl Epic!

Well, this isn’t the entire screenplay, just the first 15 pages — or the first sequence, as they say. I wrote “Silver” in my Screenwriting 3 and 4 class in film school, and then rewrote it in a Revision class, so it’s been through the wringer. When I first started it in, like, 2006, I was going for a very nostalgic 90s feel, like “My So-Called Life” but less mopey and more drab-suburban than posh-suburban, and I wanted to pay tribute to zines, music, girl friendships and rock star crushes. And now that the 90s ARE BACK, it’s kind of fun to re-read it again.

The first 15 pages are incredibly crucial for screenplays — most film execs only really read the first sequence to get a sense if they will continue reading or not. (Actually, I hear now that most only read the first 5 pages — ah, attention span, you relic of the past!) It does a lot of work — it sets up the main character, introduces the world, piques interest. I’m pleased with the visuals of this part, and how quickly it moves — now, to get to that pesky sequence after the midpoint…


(Sorry no ePub format this time — I can’t figure out how to keep the screenplay format from looking like shite.)

Short Story: “Some Dude From Romania”

This story was requested by a friend, who wanted me to try something related to a certain archetypal character that shall remain nameless, but who I’m sure you can figure out by the end of reading this. I was looking to cheat on my novel between knocking out the first draft and beginning a revision; this is what came out. I actually had started this as a quite ordinary “girl waits outside of a bar” tale, which felt like it was going nowhere — till I transformed the male character into the archetype in question, and then the idea finally came alive in my mind. I now realize there’s a reason why this archetype has such enduring power — because using it poses really fascinating existential questions that I only touched upon here. Needless to say, maybe my man of the hour will turn up elsewhere…

I hope my friend likes this, although I have a feeling it’s not quite what she intended. I quite enjoyed having an “assignment” to interpret, though. If anyone has any “requests” for me, please do let me know at kat (at) nogoodforme (dot) com.

The whole story is below. PDF and ePub format available for those who hate reading in a Web browser, like I do.

Clara stood in front of the Tribeca Grand Hotel on a cold November night, staring at the screen of her phone. It displayed only the date and time. It did not display a notification that said, “1 new message from Tim Abdington,” which is what she wanted it to say.


Old Zine Writing: A Story About Love, Sex, Punks, College and the 90s

What better way to procrastinate on revising your novel than by revising your old zine writing from eight years ago?

Back in the day I did a zine that ended up being called Continental Drift. (The drawing that’s in my rotating banner is from one of the issues.) My past life as a zinester means a lot to me: I met many friends through zines, read so much brilliant, inspiring writing and thinking and feeling, and it has ended up playing an essential role for me as a writer. I read a lot of my past zine stuff and, these days, it’s like Who wrote this? (In both good and bad ways.)

Most of my zine writing, especially at the beginning, was trying to figure out my thoughts, record my impressions, and just go on and on about music and records and movies and books. But near the end I started getting all arty and writing out fiction sketches — just shards of characters, incidents, moments. This was one place where they all came together to form a story. I found the old file from many years ago, dusted it off and edited it. And now it is called “Distance Covered in Four Songs” and here it is!

If it had tags, it would have: love, sex, college, punks, the 90s, parties, long distance, alternawaifs. That sums it up pretty well.

It is personal and emotional, of course, like a lot of zine writing is, but I feel so distant from it to feel fine about letting it go into the world as its own entity: something that transformed itself beyond my small, narrow experiences into its own thing. Who wrote this? is a very relevant question. I remember the person who wrote this and it feels like a great distance has been traveled and I live on other shores now. But it is a place I remember with great affection, even if I’ll never go there again. Which is what college feels like, often.

Here is the story. According to Figment, it takes about 18 minutes to read. The PDF and ePub have acknowledgments and a note at the end that tells you how much of the story is true:

——–> Read it online at Figment (if you’re a member, give it a heart, I feel so unpopular there, ha ha)
——–> Read it as a PDF
——–> Read it as an ePub document (have no idea if this works, just thought I’d give it a go.)

I actually read my shorter work out loud in the final stages of revision (an old practice from film school), so I have this story as an mp3 as well — just holler if you’re audio-inclined. I spent the summer listening to audio books and I quite enjoyed them, especially when authors or readers had nice voices to listen to.

Of course, everything is an opportunity for a soundtrack. It’s particularly relevant for the story, since music is very much something between the two characters. So here is a mix featuring the four songs in the story, along with five more that remind me of the time period that the story takes place within. There’s Unwound, My Bloody Valentine, Lync, Rye Coalition, and Red House Painters, among others, so it’s good even if you don’t read the story. Life deserves good sound design.