Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let the world do its own spinning.

The third story I'm working this year has some dialogue that is extremely challenging. But that is a good thing. I do not particularly struggle with dialogue, but to give this story a third dimension, this part needs to be spot on.

The wild child inside me is saying to just let it flow...and it did for the most part. But it wasn't quite right until just yesterday, a testament that sometimes dialogue does take some work. Sometimes my characters are lazy, and they don't want to do the song and dance for me.

This particular character is partly E.B. Farnum (played by the great William Sanderson) from Deadwood and partly a stubborn grandfather (perhaps my own) who has watched generations of his people succumb to lawless madmen.

Here is the best of E.B. Farnum, which I think is some of the best dialogue ever written, just mesmerizing. Note, this is R-rated.

The Best of E.B. Farnum.

Do I have my work cut out for me or what?

Approaching this character, this particular piece of dialogue, I put myself into E.B.'s head and fired him up a little, just a small injection of dignity and indignation. Now, if I can just ensure it translates to the page...E.B. might say to me, "I'd hate to cripple your progress, Mr. Soward. But for a favorable recompense, perhaps I could tender a song or two."  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Play your fantasy game, and write.

A couple of weeks ago, my writer-friend David Dalglish (author of the Half-Orc series among others) gave me a great game to play that would not interfere with my writing. Not too much, anyway.

You see, I had to give up video games five years ago due to the fact that they had completely saturated my life, causing me to become the greatest slacker this world has ever known. It was amazing that I did not lose my job. My habit? Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies and Age of Mythology. By the time it was said and done, I was in debt, had neglected all my friends and had all but given up on writing.

The best thing I ever did was quit. I subsequently killed my debt, got promoted multiple times at work and started writing again. My life turned around.

But with my first book published now, The Budget of Your Life, and my life back on track in general, I have been fiending to do some sort of gaming, conscious of the fact that anything too heavy could destroy me.

Warily, I posed the question. Is there an online game out there that is not completely devastating to one's life? David's answer, Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms. You can pretty much play for free (or pay a little something) and you do not need to install any special software. It is a combination SIMs and Age of Empires.

Basically, you set up a kingdom, build alliances, create cool characters and go to war. You make a few moves an then come back later to see the results. So far, it has satisfied my need to pillage things and hasn't had much of an effect on my spare time, especially my writing. It has had just enough of an effect to be fun.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, David! your fantasy game, and write.

My creative juices are better than your creative juices.

The urge to write comes and goes. Often, it is as elusive as a bunny hopping through a field of indian grass, and at other times it is an elephant that comes into the office and sits right on top of you. And, yes, more often than not the writing is always better when the elephant does its thing, but sometimes it is a healthy exercise to go chasing the bunny.

I thought I would mentions some of the things that put me in the mood to write, whether I catch that damn bunny or not. In no specific order of importance:

1. A stressful day of work gives me the strong urge to be free, to be the one telling the story rather than someone else dictating it to me.

2. Music almost always gets me going. Specifically, dark bands. Case in point, How to Destroy Angels was tonight's special guest on the Kenny Soward Show.

3. Mid-life crisis. I try to sleep or take a nap and then wake up and realize that if I don't get up and write something now, I will never do it. Half my life is over.

4. An image or scene in my head that absolutely will not leave me alone, specifically something that is brutal or sad. What is brutal and sad to me is a subject unto itself.

5. Nothing to do for about four days. While it rarely happens, nothing like plenty of sleep and then right into the office with a coffee and a positive attitude. The day job should be far, far away.

6. Winter. While this is becoming less and less a factor--I'm becoming a hermit in the spring and summer now too--nothing like being cozy in your house while everyone is freezing outside. Strangely enough, watching Deadliest Catch has the same effect on me.

I'd love to know what gets those creative juices flowing for you. Drop me a comment!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fun with repurposing ideas.

There is a specific publication I have to be published in. Besides it being an SFWA publication, I just want to prove something to myself damn it.

Wisely, I spent a good deal of time reading up on the types of stories they publish, a great time saver. This in itself was a big change from my younger days when I used to randomly send pieces to anyone who took them. It is hard enough to get published without being completely off the mark with regards to content.

Then I had to think up a story that would work well with this specific style. When I couldn't think of anything, I started going back through stories I'd written ages ago but had never published. For one, I forgot how many stories I'd actually written. And two, many of them were pretty good.

One in particular was a western (in the vein of Deadwood) about a town run by lawless madmen, and a widows revenge on their leader. I might have gotten it to work with this specific publication, but it would definitely have needed a fantasy twist...and the story was much more of a horror story.

So...I took the entire town and plopped it on huge tank-like tracks and sent if off into the wasteland, and there sits the story. This really opened things up creatively, and allowed me to add some cool elements. I'm 1/3 through, and I'll keep you posted!

You guys ever re-purpose stories like that?