When I first began writing in full in high school, I was concerned with the number of what I thought were unoriginal movies. And then I read about an author saying that a lot of them start with fan fiction of sorts. I do not personally read too much fan fiction. A lot of it just gets too… weird and perverted, and that’s saying something if I’m worried about seeing it. Who knows, I could just be looking in the wrong places. None of that really matters now anyway. I write my own fan fiction, or that’s where some of it started!
Humans have always been capable of extreme violence, but as stated in my last post, not everyone has to experience it. I do not like physical conflict and try to avoid it at all costs- so far I have been successful. Although I joke with myself and others that I watch enough impromptu street fight videos to know how to fight now…
It has been a long 365 days. Unfortunately the latter half was not spent prioritizing my personal writing. College life, education... Here are successes and failures from 2015, and where I aim to be in 2016.
I enjoy the lone wolf hero, who doesn’t? They’re badass and have grizzled beards, most of the time… But I can’t see myself using them often. Originally I conceived Dave as the lone wolf in his series, but that’s just ridiculous now. It works in games like God of War because Kratos is literally a god. He can handle giant monsters better than most, but even he has the help of Athena’s blades.
After the chaotic bloodshed of The Devil’s Brood, I couldn’t wait to experience The Devil’s Night. Oh man, this is a story to put a smile on any fan of the oldies. The book itself is almost seventy pages shorter than Brood. This leads to breakneck pacing because all of the principle characters have already been introduced. David Jacobs also had lessons in sentence structure, apparently. They are more fluid and the action more clear than anything Michael Bay can dream up.
It is an extremely violent novel and the gore is ramped up to eleven. Glendon, the Wolfman, starts the book with a little over a dozen casualties. Limbs and organs fly and he’s still the good guy. Countess Marya has her work cut out, but she’s no light weight. Below sort of represents the relationship between Marya and Glendon.
Dracula and Frankenstein monster take the forefront too, with a battle that’s so powerful it takes out the front half of a fort. That was a rather fun scene to read. Both kill large amounts of people throughout the book, and almost none of them are innocent. Keyword almost. Neither are afraid to slaughter the local population. However, neither are worse than the corrupt police. Remember that scene in Dredd where Mama takes the Gatling gun and uses it on a whole floor… it happens to rioters who want their homes back. The villain pays his debt gloriously, but not until near the end.
After fighting Dracula and being thrown into an underground tunnel, the Monster drifts in a bay off of the coast of the island and has to swim back. On his maritime little (BIG) way, he has to punch out a shark. And then that shark is eaten by its fellow shark brothers.
You heard that right folks, Frankenstein’s monster punches out a shark.
Soto came back as a zombie, and he doesn’t show up for the longest time. However, when he finally does, his return is as glorious as the Monster’s shark punching. David doesn’t joke around with romance either. Soto and Dorian like each other, but both explicitly say the only reason they hang out with each other is survival. There is no love between them.
Everyone left alive meets up with Marya in her castle and all hell breaks loose. And so does the story. Instead of having a climactic battle, David sort of ends the story with a massive explosion caused by the Wolfman tinkering with equipment. It was just a little disappointing, but, I won’t take points off. The journey with all of these characters, good or bad, was too much fun.
Now for Return of the Wolfman, the first book in the trilogy…
****1/2 of *****; would read again, under a moonlit night with the werewolf’s howl at my window, the Monster in my kitchen, Dracula and his daughter catching up in front of a grand fire, and Soto the zombie chilling with some human brains at his side.
My recently released Vodka Men was a Western World Literature project. One of the coolest things about that class- I could actually write stories, not boring old papers. We were reading Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales. More specifically, we were reading The Pardoner’s Tale. To summarize the plot, three men partying at Ye Olde Barr hear about Death, who has released and spread the Black Plague across the country side. Their goal; hunt down and kill Death for destroying the sanctity of the Dark Ages.
There’s one problem with that. Death can’t be killed. Give credit where it’s due though; they try, and try drunk. On the way they meet a disfigured old man. They are quite rude to him, but he reveals that Death is down the road in a secluded area. Chaucer doesn’t deny the fact that this old man is Death himself. Off the three men go, and instead of Death they find gold. Carrying lots of money in their money would be too obvious. They draw straws and one of the men takes his portion of gold and hides it away.
With their own devices, the two other men devise a plan to kill the first man and take his share of the gold. The lone man figures they would do it and buys poison to mix with celebratory drinks and bread. In the end, the two kill the poison buyer and drink. Both die. The moral of the story is greed is the root of all evil.
I’ve put the story in the modern world, as you can see. That was the point of the project. I had to change a few things. First, unless the Bubonic Plague is weaponized by man, there will never be an epidemic again. We have the cure. Contagion inspired me. Super-flu is more realistic. I read somewhere online (great source I’m using huh?) about a flu going through hospitals. It is invulnerable to all antibiotics. But that could be a case of misreading. I never did find the article again.
In any case, I gave Death (Grimlock) a longer part because of the intimate setting. They’re in a bar, uptown, while Charlotte is falling apart. The old setting of a woods-area doesn’t really fit. In a bar they can keep an eye on him. And if you’re wondering what happened to the bartender and his girl who happens to be a friend; Death forced them into an early retirement.
The BB&T stadium is in the process of being built on Church St. and Queen City Forward’s office has a great view. When I wrote it, I thought it would be an interesting place to hide diamonds. Isaac’s plan is based off of my own observations after a long night. No one is around the stadium. Better yet, Isaac works there, so access is easy.
The distrust among the three men happens as quickly as it does in The Pardoner’s Tale. It took one look at gold before all three of them decide to kill each other. Diamonds were my preferred weapon of choice this round. With what little (zero) research I had done, diamonds are still worth a lot. And even silver is worth more than gold…
I’m writing an extended edition because local Charlotte author John Hartness is editing Big Bad 2 and I want to take a crack at the oldest form of evil.
In honor of my birthday last Wednesday, I wanted to share a scene with you from the upcoming Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate. You will find the PDF version below.
We didn't celebrate my birthday until Friday, because life. In any matter, I got a sketchbook and pencils, which I'm using at every chance. I also got Game of Thrones in paperback form, which is much, much easier to read than on the Kindle. There's so many characters!
At any rate, I'll get back to guys next week.
Oh yeah, and check out this really cool article about what storytelling does I found on Life Hacker.
As I prepared for the second draft of Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate I looked at Mackenzie; vampire trillionaire extraordinaire. He’s only seen for, six pages at most out of the 36 pages length. That makes for an awfully weak villain structure; especially when I didn’t mention him before. I couldn’t feel his presence throughout the whole story- I could feel the Candyman’s presence throughout Candyman.
So I started the story by fleshing Mackenzie out. Uncle Doug is still there but I feel I did an alright job with him in the first draft (but not to worry, he’s a lot different too). But this post isn’t about Mackenzie or Uncle Doug. It’s about the future.
This can become a series. I’m already planning- loosely- what to do with it. I’ll give you a hint. Each story will only take place for a short period of time in their lives: a night, a day, or a few days; and possibly, eventually, even more. They’ll age with the young readers and the violence and language will respectably grow into something more (late teens to adult). Do I focus on Stuart the whole series? Nope.
Each story will feature a majority of each of the children. I want to flesh out their mythos. Ernest is a gun nut. Samantha is a peace mediator and researcher. Stuart is a leader who may or may not possess wizard powers. Jimmy is a clumsy nerd who’s a lot more dangerous than he looks. Terrence is the inventor.
Each of these traits will show from their respected perspectives as the series goes on. Oh, and the Koi, I can’t possibly forget about him. He’s just too damn fun to write about.
The scope and magnitude of this story is something I’ve never really gone into before. I build a town/creature sanctuary in Ruby Caves but what else is out there? I’ve walked you through lucid dreams in Wish List. In the stories of Dave I’ll lead you into a protector of Earth’s spiritual and physical world. Besides It, I think the major inspiration for this series would have to be Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. It’s the story of discovery and life in a small town down south. There’s so much out there and I’m just beginning to scratch the surface.
I try to keep my point of view in third person limited or first person. I can’t see everything around me. It’s one of the first assignments you get in an art class. Stare at your hand and try to draw it without tracing. Mine looked like the universal peace sign if I had just cut off my fingers. It’s a real test to what you can perceive and do with that perception at the same time. I noticed something while editing the first Feral attack in Ruby Caves. Take a look:
Sarah felt a hard thump against the back of her seat. She got the last of the padding out of her eyes and blinked the tears away. The pain flowing through her left arm was secondary to her rage. Doc finally got past the barrier of junk between the seats. William threw her M1911 standard issue at the werewolf. She didn’t see where it went. Doc launched upwards between Michael’s outstretched legs. Her heart lurched.
She could hear William finally jerking the gear into drive and revving forward. It threw the werewolf off balance. A marginally healed arm fell through the hole in the roof and dangled there, fingers searching air for anything to grab. Doc took advantage and again jumped at its arm. He missed by a few inches but instead bit into the soft flesh of the beasts’ calloused palm.
Sarah can only hear her son hit the back of her seat. She could only hear her husband get the SUV rolling. Her focus is extensively on the Feral because it’s trying to eat her. If I said Michael was an emotionless husk or something overly dramatic like that, it would go into 3rd person omnipresent. You, my reader, would be able to see something Sarah can’t.
I do something like this when Dave and Jabari are stalking the Case family late in Chapter 4. Observe:
Jabari and I were less than twenty meters away. He grunted and punched my shoulder. My gun dipped, grip loosened. I cocked my head and saw his claw pointing off towards our left.
My eyes were well adjusted to the darkness by now. We had been stalking through the woods for an hour. Another werewolf was peeking behind a cluster of trees halfway between us and the cabin. It wasn’t looking our way. Its fur was the color of wet sand. The forearm nearest us was matted with blood. It didn’t seem particularly worried about being seen; if only for the continuous plumes of steam rising out of its wet jowls. They weren’t smart, I knew that much, but the Feral camouflaged itself by dumping snow over parts of its body.
Dave can only see Jabari’s claw because once he saw where it was pointing the Feral would, well, obviously catch his attention. Otherwise Dave's job would be very difficult.
It’s not to say something like this can’t be written. 3rd person omnipresent isn’t a bad style in the right hands. But until I have more experience with writing different styles I won’t be able to do it. One thing I failed to mention in my review of David Jacobs The Devil’s Brood is the fact that he writes in this way. He makes it work. When there is mass chaos I could read the expressions and actions of most of the characters taking part. There was a lovely, easy flow to it.
This is one of the reasons I never put the raid in Ruby Caves. There was far too much going on for me to try to describe. Too many players I didn’t know what to do with- in writing. I know what I’m doing with them in my head, but putting it to paper would have been problematic. I’ll do another blog on why I didn’t put it in there soon. For now, try to see something you can’t.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.