...with another interview. This one moderated by David Ellis of the toofulltowrite blog. You're one click away from reading and enjoying
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Y’know, I really have to stop promising that I’m going to do these Progress Reports on a more timely basis because everytime I do, up jumps The Devil and puts more work in my way. Then I feel guilty about goofing off here at BLOOD & INK instead of doing the writing I’m supposed to be doing. But then, when I don’t update the daggone thing I feel I’m slighting those of you who do read it. The Eternal Dilemma.
But it hasn’t been as if I’ve totally neglected it. I hope you’ve been enjoying the book reviews and “Kickin’ The Willy Bobo” interviews. And I have been busy with a few things that I’m sure you know about but just in case you don’t, allow me to catch you up as well as inform you about a few things coming your way in the months ahead:
We haven’t even hit the halfway point of the year yet and you’ve got three Dillon adventures to keep you busy. “Dillon and The Last Rail To Khusra” “Young DillonIn The Halls of Shamballah” and “The Vril Agenda.” There’s three more new Dillon adventures planned for the rest of the year but for more information on those you’ll have to go over to the DILLON blog. Ain’t I a stinker?
The major project that is taking up most of my time is one that I can’t say much about yet as it’s a special project I’m working on for Pro Se. If I say too much about it, Tommy Hancock will cut out my tongue. You know how he is about his announcements and teases. But I think I’m safe enough in telling you this much: Tommy came to me with an idea for me to novelize a movie. Not just any movie mind you. But one of the worst movies ever made. I’ve seen the thing more than once in the course of taking notes for the novel and trust me on this. This movie makes “Plan 9 From Outer Space” look like “Citizen Kane.” Yes, it’s that bad.
But I had a challenge from not only Tommy but the star/director of the movie himself; write the novel and make it better than the movie. If it’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a challenge. And after writing two Dillon adventures back-to-back I thought it would be a nice change of pace. And so far it has been. I should be done with it by the end of this month and no doubt Tommy will be telling you all the grisly details about it then.
What else? There’s a new Sebastian Red story; “Sorrowful Are The Souls That Sleep With Gold” that will be appearing in HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD Vol. III sooner than you think. Last I heard the plan was to drop the ebook first with the paperback to follow soon after. So keep your eyes open for that. I get a lot of inquiries about a Sebastian Red anthology and I’m not ignoring you, I promise. There’s one story I have to finish; “The Bloodstained Trail” and then I can see about putting the thing together with the existing stories. The next time you see Sebastian Red after that will be in a novel that for now I’m calling THE SEVEN GUNS OF SEBASTIAN RED.
I’ve also got to finish the third episode of A MAN CALLED MONGREL before Ron Fortier disowns me completely. The man has the patience of a Kansas City accountant, I tell ya. But in the last month or so I’ve actually been contemplating going ahead and writing a 30K story to bring the series to a satisfying conclusion. It’s a decision I’ve been wrestling with for quite a while and didn’t want to make but the hard truth is that Mongrel Henderson, much as I love him is a character that nobody seems much interested in reading about. And it’s mostly my fault because I don’t publicize Mongrel as much as I do Dillon or Fortune McCall or Sebastian Red. I suppose he’s that little brother who simply can’t get out of the shadows of his bigger, more successful brothers. And I’d rather devote my time and energy to writing stories about characters people do want to read. Maybe it’s just not Mongrel’s time or maybe I should go back to my original plan I had for him: find a helluva good artist and do a Mongrel graphic novel. We’ll see. In any case, I’ll keep you posted.
What else? I guess that’s it. Thank you for stopping by to chat and let’s get together real soon to do this again. In the meantime, read some good books, watch some good movies and say hello to everyone you meet.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Hey, there! Welcome back and thank you for stopping by once again to see what’s going on in my precious little corner of the world. This time I hope to clarify the purpose of the collection of blogs and Facebook pages I have or am affiliated with as some people have emailed me or contacted me via Skype or IM to ask me exactly how many blogs/FB pages I have and why I have ‘em. So without any more delay...
First there’s my Personal Facebook Page. I used to just dump everything here but I found that after a while even I was getting confused as to what was posted on there and when and why and important stuff like new book releases and movie reviews was getting mixed up with personal stuff and whatnot and it just got to be an unholy mess (is there such a thing a holy mess?) So gradually I’ve been steering my personal FB page back to what it should be: a personal page. Oh, you’ll see announcements about new books I’ve got coming out and new movie reviews and such as those spheres of interest tend to overlap but I’m going to try and keep my FB personal page personal. At least that’s the idea. Moving on…
Usimi Dero. This Facebook page is named after the birthplace of my most popular character, Dillon. This is where I’m going to steer most of of my writing business/interests to. Slowly but surely, but yonder lies The Promised Land and we’ll all get there eventually, I promise. The emphasis here is not only promotion about my work but that of others. So if you’ve got something you’d like to promote, (within reason of course) feel free to sign up. Discussions about anything and everything to do with writing is also encouraged. Digressions into other topics are not only welcome but encouraged.
The Better In The Dark Facebook page is one I administrate/maintain along with Thomas Deja, my On Air Partner, Our Musical Director Kelen Conley and Our Webmaster Kelly Logue. It’s the main method of communication by which Tom and I stay in contact with those with those who listen to and enjoy our podcast, Better In The Dark. Here’s where I dump all my movie reviews, old and new and where we discuss movies, TV shows, animation, pop culture and a whole buncha other stuff along with our 193 members. If you like movies then this is the place to be. We’ve got a wonderful and knowledgeable crew of movie fans and I can guarantee you’ll not only be entertained but educated as well.
And finally the Dillon Facebook page page is alive and well. I actually began that because it was suggested to me by some pretty influential people whose opinion I trust and value me that Dillon should have his own FB. Hey, it doesn’t cost me a thing to maintain and so far it’s been fun interacting with folks who have read the books.
That covers the Facebook pages. Now mind you, I’m not that much of an egomaniac that I expect you to be interested in or join with up with all of ‘em. But if you’re interested in what I do, now you know which ones cover which particular aspect of my career. Okay? Okay. We continue onto the blogs…
BLOOD & INK is where you are now. Here is where I cover everything that isn’t Dillon or movie related. Here’s where I do the essay thing when I'm in the mood, throw in book reviews now and then, provide you with updates on what I’m working on or what I’ve got coming up. I also do a series of interviews with writers, artists and various creative types I call “Kickin’ The Willy Bobo With…” mainly I do ‘em as a sneaky way of getting to know more about people I’m interested in. And there are a lot of folks I know who are doing some serious cool stuff I want to share with you and others.
The DILLON blog has in-depth information on Dillon and his universe. There are essays written by talented writers such as Percival Constantine and Brent Lambert, reviews of the various books and stories, behind the scenes stuff. In short, if you’re at all interested in Dillon, this is where you should be. I regularly add to pages such as the Casting Call where I indulge in casting actors as the various characters and pretty soon I’ll be putting up a comprehensive chronology of the order in which the stories and novels should be read.
THE FERGUSON THEATER is where I house all my movies reviews. I think I’m up to around 400 now. Or pretty close to that in any rate. Why movie reviews? Well, people constantly ask me my opinions of movies so I figured if I started writing reviews I could just simply point them to the review. It’s also good for me as a writer, I think. Writing reviews of movies (and books) are an exercise in taking apart a story and finding out what makes it click for me. Taking apart the stories of others helps me take apart my own stories and figure out what works and what doesn’t work. It’s also just a lot of fun to write about movies. And if you do drop by to check out my reviews and find them fun and informative there’s a handy dandy Paypal link (“Tip Jar”) by which you can demonstrate your appreciation with filthy lucre.
And PULPWORK PRESS is the imprint under which most of my work has appeared in print. So it's someplace you need to bookmark and stop by there for information on where to purchase not only my books but those written by my extraordinarily talented partners, Joel Jenkins, Joshua Reynolds, the aforementioned Percival Constantine and Russ Anderson,
And I leave you with my second favorite quote from my twenty-first favorite book just because it’s my blog and I can. Until we get together again, read some good books, watch some good movies and get plenty of rest. Peace!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Since I started this boulder rolling downhill with talking about how I create my characters I figured I’d keep right on going a talk for a bit about what I think goes into making characters interesting and how I do it. As always, feel free to steal any of this you think will help and anything you think is bullshit, keep it to yourself. Okay? Okay. Have a seat and we’ll jaw jack for a bit.
For me, a story begins and ends with character. If the characters aren't interesting and if what they're doing doesn't interest me I don't care how mind-blowing the ideas behind the story is. There are writers who can pull off an idea driven story and I've read many of those over the years but as a rule, those types of stories don't put the sugar in my coffee. I'm more drawn to character driven stories.
And the characters don't have to be likable In fact, I'm more intrigued when a writer can present me with an unlikable character and during the course of the story I grow to sympathize with him or her. My DIAMONDBACK novel; “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” was partially an exercise to see if I could write a novel length story where 99% percent of the characters were backstabbing, unrepentant cold-blooded bastards (especially the lead character) and still make them compelling characters you wanted to know more about and find out what happens to them.
That's why most of the time when you start to read a story of mine, I'll open with the character doing whatever it is he does best. Dillon is a globetrotting adventurer so I'll usually start a story with him in the middle of an adventure. If I write a story where a murderer is the lead character, I'll start with him murdering somebody. For me, nothing gets you into a character faster than showing him or her doing whatever it is they do. And I can do that because before I sit down to write I know the lead character so well that a lot of the indecision about what they would do in a given situation is gone. And I sincerely believe you have to know your characters well before you sit down to write and you have to care about them one way or another because as a writer you're the first audience for your story and if it's not interesting and exciting to you then why should it excite or interest a reader?
But all this felgercarb isn't getting into the meat of what you want to hear: what I think makes a good fictional character. Okay, here we go:
First of all, the character has to be interesting enough for me to want to care about what happens to him and since I'm a picky son of a bitch, you don't have a lot of time to make me care. Six pages of description about the main character lying in bed watching the dust motes in the brilliant yellow morning sunshine is going to make me throw the book on my desk and go upstairs to watch "The Walking Dead” or "Arrow"
The character has to do things that are believable in the context of the world and situation he's placed in. In my Dillon stories I have the character do things that would be outrageous in Real Life but in the context of the world I've created for him, which is a pulp action/adventure world that is larger than life than ours, what he does is plausible. It also helps if the writer can convey his story in an entertaining manner that doesn't make me wish I was reading 'Silas Marner'.
How about raising the emotional stakes for a character? There's a lot of ways to do it but the one I like is that I take away the choices my main character has until there's no course left to him but one.
Take DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN for example: when the story starts, Dillon has a lot of choices and a lot of ways to go. During the course of the story he's saddled with a young woman who's safety he becomes responsible for, he's hunted by the bad guys and midway through the book, even the good guys are after him. He's cut off from his friends and he's got nothing but a howling pack of enemies chasing him hinter and yon.
Each and every one of those points named above represents a choice Dillon has to make. Sure, he doesn't have to take care of Kris Quinlan but he decides to. And that means he not only has to look after his own life but hers as well. Sure, he could cut a deal with the bad guys for the opal ring that is the book's MacGuffin but if the bad guys get it a lot of innocent people will die. And as we see later on in the novel Dillon has seen more than his share of innocents die. And based on that past experience he makes another choice. One that sends him on the run across Europe. Later on he makes another choice that has him pursued by Her Majesty's Secret Service who send their best gunslingers after him. And so he has to run again. In fact, even though Dillon's our hero he spends 75% of the book running from everybody until he has no choice left but to cut a deal and go after The Big Bad of the story to save his own ass and the world's.
But it took me 75% of the book to get Dillon to that point where a reader would nod his head and say; "Yeah, I can see why he's got no choice but to go after Odin." And that's because gradually I took away every chance he had to walk away from the whole bloody business and he was left with only one: to go after the bad guy.
That's how I like to do it, anyway. My thing with writing is motivation: if you don't give me a good solid reason for why your characters are doing what they're doing, you've lost me. That's why I consider 90% of horror movies comedies because you'd have to be a brain dead idiot to do what people in horror movies do and I try my best to stay away from brain dead idiots. And I try not to write about brain dead idiots. Well, only on purpose, anyway.
So that's how I like to raise the emotional stake for my characters: I like taking away the choices they have. The more choices I take away from them, the more pressure they're under and the more conflict and tension is generated in the story itself among the characters.
That's all I've got for now. Thanks for stopping by and keeping me company for a bit. Come on back by soon, okay?
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