Diving For Conversation

There are moments when life is lonely.

Days pass and you have no one to talk to.  Weeks pass and you still have no one to tell of your exploits.  Months pass and still no one comes over to see how you are.

Maybe it’s you.  Maybe you have nothing to offer them.  Maybe they know that you’re just a shell of your former self.  Maybe they know that you’re empty inside.

Sometimes you wish for more but you can only be who and what you are.  It’s on sad days like these that I dream of being someone else.

But I am nothing more than a dumpster behind a long closed factory.

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(image courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/)

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Influences and Other Things

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Who are my writing influences, you ask?  Well, there are quite a few.  I have listed some in previous posts and I hope to find more as my journeys continue.

I have been on a bit of an older genre of authors kick as of late. I just finished all but a couple series of Edgar Rice Burroughs and I am currently going through H.P. Lovecraft’s work.

But if we jump in the way back machine, there’ll be some staples, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Heinlein, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Frank Herbert.

In the middle, some of my favorites were Daniel Keys Moran, John Steakley, Christopher Hinz, William Gibson, Joan D. Vinge and David Gerrold.

And currently, I have a tendency to read:

Steven Brust (http://dreamcafe.com/)

P.C. Hodgell (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/h/p-c-hodgell/)

Joe Abercrombie (https://www.joeabercrombie.com/)

Jim Butcher (http://www.jim-butcher.com/)

I am also looking forward to read Carrie Vaughn’s (http://www.carrievaughn.com/) Martian’s Abroad.

One of the biggest influences on me writing wise has been and probably always will be is Roger Zelazny (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/z/roger-zelazny/). The flow of his stories always grabbed me and shoved me through the pages.  He covered Sci-Fi and Fantasy. He also blended them together in a way that I haven’t come across anyone else having done.

Another of the biggest influences on me would be C.J. Cherryh (http://www.cherryh.com/WaveWithoutAShore/). The biggest universe I have ever come across in story is her space series. It spanned hundreds of years and multiple planets/systems.  And the stories wouldn’t necessarily connect. I have yet to come across a ‘world’ as large as hers.

So if those weren’t a clue, (or possibly confusing) my first book will be in the Sci-Fi genre. It’s pretty much heaped up with a lot of the things that I like and some of the things that I think are missing from Sci-Fi.

So, yay for influenza! Or influences I mean. Yeah not the other thing…

Skin Suit

385hThere are days when being trapped inside a human skin suit can just get wearing.  See how I did that?  God I kill me sometimes.

Unlike those guys behind me, who really do want to kill me.

Why, you ask?  Do I really have time for questions while I run for my life down a filthy alley?  Well sure, Captain Hindsight.  Why not?

Like I was saying, these skin suits get itchy.  Every now and again, I’ll slip out and stretch in the warm sun.  They must’ve seen me.

I know, I know, the High Overlord says we’ve got to blend in.  We don’t want them to know that were here and these things will help with a smooth take over.  But they’re itchy.

Their insides catch on my scales.  The ribs cut into me when I’m trying to digest a pig.  And don’t get me started on those leg things.  I mean seriously, who needs two of them?

Great.  Now they’re throwing things at me.  Could this day get any worse?  Oh yes, of course it can.  My tail is slipping inside the left leg casing and the ankle is all bunched up down there like a bad sock.

I’d curse them out but I’m already sticking out of the mouth hole of this thing.  I taste the air and realize that I’ve run out of alleys to run down.  I’m stuck in one of those small open plots you find in the city sometimes.

Well, I best shed this skin and slither out of here.  I’m going to catch plenty of hell for the lost flesh bag.  No need to give credence to a conspiracy theory or two.

(image courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/)

Morning Litany

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I must not sleep.  Coffee is the awakener.  Coffee fends off the little-death that brings total unconsciousness.  I will face my cup.  I will permit it to pass into me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn my mind to watch its path.  Where the coffee has gone, there will no longer be sleep. Only grounds will remain.

(image courtesy of https://www.goodfreephotos.com)

Writing My First Novel Pt. 3

Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen in Black

One of the big differences I have found between screenplays and novels has to do with building the world itself.  In screenplays, it is generally recommended to leave these sorts of things open, aka not too heavily defined.

The simple reason is due to the collaborative structure of a movie or show.  The screenplay is just one piece of the whole story, almost the outline as it were.  I haven’t written a stage play but I assume that the differences are similar.

A novel is the opposite of this.  More knowledge of the places the character goes to is required.  More detail is needed for the sights, the sounds, smells and so forth that the character experiences.  Even the characters themselves.  I just had an interesting idea, a short story told from the angle of smells only.  Hmm….

Well anyway, back to where I was going.  Before my grand excursion into this project, I had written screenplays and short stories only.  A short story also requires less knowledge, structure and detail.  The most extreme example of this being Flash Fiction (a story told in 100 words or less).

I was used to being sparse with things.  As I mentioned previously, I needed more locations, more people and so forth.  But they all had to fit into the world.

In many cases, characters are easy for this.  You can take a bare bones character and stick them into any world with some variations.  An easy example is Sherlock Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle http://www.arthurconandoyle.com/.  He was made contemporary by Benedict Cumberbatch but still the same character, or House by Hugh Laurie.

But the world itself was a different matter.  I had a certain ‘world’ that my characters fit in but keeping that ‘world’ consistent was the key.  My friend Darrell Hardy had written heavily about world building in general and I found it incredibly useful (http://www.darrellhardy.com/category/world-building-2/).

This was especially true during my rewriting phases.  And I mean phases.

Eyes On You

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Ever have that sense that you are being watched?  But every time you look around there is no one there?  And that feeling won’t go away, it just grows.

Who would want to watch you and why?  These questions eat at you until the very sense of paranoia consumes you.  It controls your every move, your every decision.  You can’t find any proof for it and yet you can’t escape that feeling.

Everyone you know breaks contact with you because of your actions but it stays with you.  Your home is a shambles as you’ve ripped it apart in search of anything to answer the question.  But that feeling is still there.  You’ve reached your limit.

Just as a warning for you if you get to that point, don’t dig the eye of your own skull to see if it’s a camera.  It hurts like the dickens.

Even the Dead Have to Earn a Living

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A single street lamp shone forlornly in a dark parking lot.  A gruff man known locally as Mr. Crowley stood next to his black sedan.  The lights were off but the exhaust from the running engine puffed out into obscurity.  He wasn’t alone though.  Four very large men with their hat brims pulled down low stood around him.  There was a tenseness to all of them as if they were waiting for someone, or something.

A slender man in a very dark suit stepped out of the shadows.  Mr. Crowley jumped nervously at the sudden arrival.  He shook himself and his expression went flat.  Seconds passed as the new arrival to the party squared off in front of the five men.

Mr. Crowley cleared his throat, “There’s something odd about you, Dominique Sanctus.”

Dominique’s gaze ignored the four men and zeroed in on their leader, “I have disposed of your problem Mr. Crowley.”

“Yeah.  I saw it on the news.”

The four men shifted uncomfortably.  Dominique continued to stare through Mr. Crowley and waited.  When no response was offered, he stated loudly into the quiet, “I am expecting payment.  Now.”

Mr. Crowley glanced at his men and slightly dipped his head into a nod.  As he began to back away slowly, he muttered, “Yeah, let me get that for you.”

As the words rolled off his lips, the four thugs opened fire.  Dominique just stood there as round after round punched into his flesh.  With a preternatural speed, Dominique whipped a pistol out of a shoulder rig and another from his waist.  Both guns barked into the night.

One of the thugs spun from an impact and crumpled to the ground.  Another screamed as a slug ripped through his leg.  The remaining bodyguards bolted for cover between the parked cars.  Dominique strolled up to the limping man and broke his neck with a quick snap.

He whirled and his long coat fanned outward.  With a flying leap over an automobile, he landed on one of Mr. Crowley’s brutes.  With a shivering relish, he tore the man’s throat out with his teeth.

Dominique jerked at the sound of a shoe as it scuffed against the asphalt.  He reached out and grabbed the wrist of the ruffian who ran toward him. With a quick tug on the wrist, the thug lost his balance and his head impacted with the roof of a car.  Dominique slowly stood up. He gingerly picked the man up by the scruff of his neck and bashed his skull against the side of the vehicle.

He wiped at his hands and his strange eyes reflected in the solitary light.  Mr. Crowley looked on in horror as the blood drenched Mr. Sanctus moved inexorably toward him.  Mr. Crowley scampered to his right and backed away from him.

A strange smile lit across the assassin’s face as he pulled the flaps of his long coat outward, “Satan laughing spreads his wings, wouldn’t you say Mr. Crowley?”

Shaking, Mr. Crowley ran to his car.  He hopped in and flipped on the headlights. He slammed on the gas as he drove toward Dominique.  But that strange man just stood there.  His eyes looked like silver coins in the glare of the headlights as the automobile sped toward him.  Just before impact, Mr. Crowley squeezed his eyes shut.

There was no sense of impact and the car sidled to a rolling stop.  Mr. Crowley pried one eye open at the clunk of the passenger door as it closed.  He slowly turned his head to see a blood spattered Dominique in the passenger seat.  Shaking with a fear he didn’t think a man of his position could feel anymore, Mr. Crowley began to cry.

“Where is my money, Mr. Crowley?”

He replied stutteringly, “In the trunk.”

Dominique’s eyes bored into the man, “Never cross the dead, Mr. Crowley.  We are not known for forgiveness.”

The car shook wildly as screams erupted from the vehicle.  Blood splashed against the windshield.  A hand scrabbled against the window, looking for a handhold.  Slowly, the screams and the shaking died down until there was only stillness.

Dominique stepped out of the vehicle.  He opened the trunk and yanked out a bag. He slammed the trunk shut and with bag in hand, strolled off toward another car in the parking lot.

He slid into the driver’s seat, pulled out of the spot and drove past the dead bodies in the street.  It’s a harsh world when even the dead have to make a living.