I’m one of those rare authors who hates talking about himself. I’d rather let my work do the talking for me. I want to stay in my in little hole, cut off from the rest of the world and write…LOL. Okay so back to reality.
I love movies and books, but the latter so much more. I want to get into the characters head and see what they are thinking. If the main character is the middle of an epic duel with his protagonist and gets his arm sliced off, I wanna know know what his shocked little mind is thinking at that exact moment. Does he go berserk or does he he let the shock overwhelm him? And at that moment, does the protagonist step back and give him time to digest it or does he swoop in for the easy kill? These are the fun details that keep me up at night obsessing.
I wrote my first novel which I consider to be my personal magnums opus, because it espoused a two year effort in trying to create my version of Star Wars marrying the concept of the ancient greek story Troy with Jurassic park. Let’s just say, that so far, the response has been a bit underwhelming. (Apparently there are only two acceptable ways to visit dinosaurs. Travel back in time or discover a lost world or—recreate them genetically and put them on an remote island.)
After I regrouped from that travesty, I decided to embark on a new series to capitalize on the werwolf and vampire craze sweeping—and refusing to die—through literature. But I also wanted to take advantage of the sudden popularity of the e-book. After all, how cool is it that you can download to your phone and just read? No more hand cramps flipping pages. You have to love technology!
I also wanted to create the guy’s answer to ‘Twilight’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing the ‘bible’ of paranormal romance. I just thought that the action-adventure crowd needs the polar opposite to rally around. I do realize that women readers vastly outnumber men, but there has to be an untapped market out there for the anti-version of Twilight. Right? (Okay, so we writers suffer from the illusions of grandeur syndrome.)
It was crazy idea that I couldn’t shake, but I did plot my madness with a a rational meticulousness. If I was going to do this, I’d was going to do it right and tailor my product for those readers who download on phones or computers. I was going to strip down the basic fine culinary of novel and make a fast food—cheeseburger and fries meal—for the reader on the go. That meant aiming for a novel that would round out about 70,000 words ( the novel ended up being 69,000 words). I would have to find a style that shortened and demanded every word to deliver time and a half effort, to pull this off. There would be no frivolous three page writing of a character waiting by the dryer as her favorite hoodie dried, worrying about a buddy that met a cute girl, the character suspected was a vampire, in some park and now she hadn’t received a call or text from him in three days.
Impossible right? I didn’t think it was impossible enough. I wanted to channel back to the 80’s and imbue my story with the sort of campy action and cheesy—but memorable one-liners from such movies such as Rambo, Dirty Harry, the A-team—etc.
I’m a huge Roller coaster-enthusiast and I try to write a story that sends my readers on the ultimate ride. Everything I write keeps that in mind. I want you to plunge down steep hills, throw you into heart-pounding twists. I want to give you a chance to catch your breath, but just before you can say—wow—I want to grab you and send you through the next set of surprises.
And that brings up another fascinatingly favorite subject of mine—the adjective. As a writer, you’re told that using them is a crutch a bad writer uses to prop up their sentences. Personally, I think they are seasoning you add to a soup. The right mixture makes a great soup and over-usage kills it. But I’ll take it one step further. You do not write—the blood was red—unless, you’re trying to show the character is shocked by the vibrant and almost unreal richness of the color. (And preferably, the character is even more shocked because the blood is coming from another person they cared about deeply)
However, in today’s world, our society uses adjectives freely and often to describe things, so in a perverse sense, a writer needs to capture that as a way of illustrating how a character thinks and interacts. Over usage of adjectives combined with a dreaded ing word for emphasis can perfectly bring a character to life in a way that relates to the reader. The same thing with profanity. (Which I abhor as member of the human race.)
It’s that inherently unstable chemical concoction of ideas from which Freaking Wicked was born. I had no problem from straying from the original mythology of the vampire, werwolf, and Frankenstein monster as long as I stayed true to the original premise of the legends. What does that mean? I’ll let one of my characters tell you:
Decker threw back his head and laughed. “You know, I always thought if you became a monster with cool and freaky powers there was always suppose to be an evil price to pay for that—you know—usually your feeding habits are gross and offensive to most of the world.
With that ruling principle keeping my character firmly staked to the ground, I created what I think are the perfect characters for my premise. Here is a quote from the book…
“The surrounding myths encompassing vampires and werwolves were mostly wrong. Silver bullets and wooden stakes could not kill Megan and Jack. Neither could garlic or sunlight. There might be some magic ‘talisman object’ that could kill them, but neither Jack and Megan were much for volunteering themselves for experiments to find out and Harris firmly agreed—although he often warned if they ever gave into their wicked desires and started boning each other, spontaneous combustion was a strong possibility. Grod had the same regenerative powers. The only known ways to kill Grod, Megan, and his werewolf bad-self, was to sustain enough body damage that their bodies couldn’t regenerate fast enough, like being caught in a massive explosion or thrown into tree shredder”
Jack the werewolf can transform into werewolf-mode at will. It’s only in this mode he has the his super-strength power. I don’t tell you that—I show you in the subsequent action, allowing the reader to deduce that rule on their own. Being a werewolf is the ultimate cool-guy of the novel. Jack feeds off sex, essentially stripping his willing victims of their essence and transforming it into supernatural energy. Wait a minute—Mr Poor! Didn’t you just break a rule! LOL. No—I didn’t. The defining essence of the werewolf I used, is going into an unstoppable killing frenzy. Jack is the ultimate cool-guy, relying on common sense and natural instincts to govern him. But I show you his fits of anger that threaten to override his good sense throughout the novel.
Megan, my ‘deliciously evil vampire’ with her super-model looks at first might seem like the shallow eye-candy of a good 80’s movie, but I brutally disprove that in the 2nd chapter. As a vampire, she likes to kill people and that brings a perverse morality conflict for her to deal with. She can’t quite make the leap of logic she is a vampire and humans are basically cattle to her predator like being. Making it worse, she knows, but refuse to admit she has had these psychopathic tendencies as a human. Evil wishing to be good is stinking cute according to my werewolf, but I do think the reader will enthusiastically empathize—because she has this overwhelming desire to please Jack. She loves the wolf and she’d die for him.
Grod my resident Frankenstein monster/super-soldier is more of a minor character modeled after Dolph Lungren’s character in Universal Soldier—except he’s not scheduled to go crazy until the third book. To sustain his massively-muscled psychic he has to eat a brown mush manufacture by the government.
Action sequences. I’m very particular about them. Pacing is everything and I don’t need a paragraph to describe one action. “Selecting another special round, Jack took aim and pulled his trigger. The SUV exploded into a fireball and littered the road with burning metal and glass. “
That’s all I need to write unless I want to emphasis a particular action so it resonates in the reader’s mind. Kind of a ‘wow’ did he just do that, kind of moment. Again, this is a thrill ride ride and every sequence has to be designed to elicit the maximum amount of screamage.
Hopefully, I’ve accomplished what I consider to be the paramount goal of my responsibility to the reader. Going back to the roller coaster idea—I want the reader to get off my book and say: “Wow! Super fantastic. Let’s do that again—but first I want to sit down on that park bench and let my head stop spinning.”
So if you dare, check it out and tell me declaritively if I deliver…