J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine based in San Diego, California.


Back to Writing and A Wild Sheep Chase

Back to Writing and A Wild Sheep Chase


Nothing but good news on the writing front this week. I finished two chapters and I'm excited about where things are headed. The way things are shaping up, this book is going to be much grittier than the last. If you think about a scenario that would produce a political revolution, things have to be bad. The threat of things being bad isn't enough. I'll leave it at that.


I finished reading Underground: My Life in the SDS and Weathermen by Mark Rudd. For those of us that weren't around during the mid 1960's and 1970's, the concept of a group of students deciding to fight a guerrilla war against the United State government is incomprehensible. But it happened and the book does a good job describing some of the events during that time. I wouldn't recommend reading the book unless you have a specific interest in the topic. I read it for research on 'what not to do' if you're trying to overthrow a government. Violent confrontations with police officers and blowing up unoccupied government buildings is a great way to make it on the FBI's Most Wanted List, but you aren't going to find many others who are willing to follow you down that path, no matter how righteous the cause.

I started reading A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and I still have no idea where the book is going, which is fascinating. Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author and the book was originally written in Japanese and translated to English. I know next to nothing about Japanese culture outside of what I've seen on TV and had no idea what to expect when I started the book. 

A friend recommended the book to me and I reluctantly took it. I honestly had no idea what to expect, what is 'Japanese Fiction'? I'm not sure that's even a genre, but that's the label I put on the book in my head. I was totally wrong to put that label on the book. The characters and scenarios are very familiar, in the book, if Haruki Murakami replaced Tokoyo with New York City, a reader would easily think the book was written by an American author.  What I think I'm trying to get at is, the book isn't a book by a 'Japanese' author with 'Japanese' themes and characters. It's a book written by a human about human experiences and it's got some serious depth to it.

Anyway, I'm hooked. Totally worth checking out.


Not a lot of exciting things happening on the Catranch, which is a good thing. Go to the day job, come home, work out, play guitar for 5 minutes to calm down, and write. Pretty boring stuff, which is exciting to me. That means writing is happening.

I struggled to sit down and start writing the first chapter of the new book. Staring at a blank screen titled "Chapter 1" isn't a pleasant experience and I found every excuse possible to do something else. I spent more time planning, I wrote down the 5 commandment of story for the chapter, I cleaned the shed, I read The Writer's Journey again, everything except actually write Chapter 1.

Two things actually got me over the hump this time. The first was something Shawn Coyne said on the StoryGrid podcast, if you want to accomplish something, "Put your ass where your heart wants to be".  For example, if in your heart you want to write a book, put your ass in the chair, turn off the internet, and write Chapter One. There is no other option, that is the only way to do it.

The second was this post from Steve Pressfield's blog back in 2009, I printed out the last three paragraphs and stuck it on the wall of the shed.



In case you were wondering, Rich and Pam are doing just fine. Their world this week was all cat treats, strings, and lounging in the sun spots. 

Stumbling in the Right Direction and Finding a Theme

Stumbling in the Right Direction and Finding a Theme

Weathermen, The Silk Road, and Excuses for not Writing

Weathermen, The Silk Road, and Excuses for not Writing