Sunday, August 21, 2011

Super Sample Sunday

#Sample Sunday is a twitter thing that writers do to share samples of their works in progress, or books that they are trying to sell. I have far to many projects and don't want to fill a twitter feed with them so here is a blog post I'll call it super Sample Sunday.

Killing to Know: (read previous post for a synopsis)

The Conflict Within: The first part of my oft started Sci-Fi epic The Age of Chaos

The Long Night: Darkness has descended upon the world and it falls to an unlikely group of heroes to set things right.

Breaking Overnight: Die Hard meets TV news.

A note all of these are just drafts so parts are subject to change and grammar will be fixed as real editors go through and fix my inability to spell or use commas with moderation.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Killing to Know

Killing to Know was my first try and National Write a Novel  month, and also the book I have decided to publish first. The story had it's genesis in my obsession with film noir and an idea that I had to shoot a short single shot movie, another thing I hadn't been able to get out of my head since I saw Children of Men.

The plot of the movie was a killer walking up to an apartment and waiting for an un-named guy to come home, he then shots him and leaves. We were going to do this whole thing as a single take, but that never came though. But the man coming up to an apartment was burned into my brain, I know that was how the story started, I just didn't yet know it was a book and not some kind of shitty short movie.

So I spent a bunch of days writing little bits of scenes and I wasn't sure how they all fit in with each other. I knew that the new MacGuffin ( would be a mob boss's will. At that point I still didn't know why it was important, and didn't till about halfway though writing the book. I had the principal characters of Calvin Hobbs - named after the comic duo, but don't let him know that - The Stranger, and Jacki Deverox.

That script came toghter into a relativly short 29 pages which wasn't horrible but also was not a very good movie and wouldn't have been somthing that I could have pulled off well. Black and white is harder to shoot in then I would have thought.  By July of 2010 I knew that Killing to Know was a book, that I was calling Will Call at the time. Also in July I knew that I wanted to do National Write and Novel Month, and was deep into editing The Long Night (another post for another time,) so I slipped the idea away and let it mull in my head so that it would be a good vintage when I opened the bottle in November. 

Come November I started witting, and for most of the time it went really well. The story started in first person, but then halfway though chapter two I switched to third person without realizing it for another two chapters because that is just what came naturally. So by that point I just decided to let it slide and go fix that first chapter in editing. I finished the book with a few days to spare, and sat it aside till this spring when the task of working through The Long Night got to me.

Then I decided that it would be a good toe in the water for self publishing because it wasn't horribly long, was a solid story, and at the time wasn't something I was so attached to that I could live with seeing it crash and burn. I mean it would hurt but wouldn't destroy my spirit to write ever again. 

Privet Eye Calvin Hobbs is hired to take a few pictures of a mob boss's Will. What he doesn't know is that this single job will pull him into a web of treachery and death, as multiple forces fight over the document. As he struggles to put the peaces together Hobbs learns that when a secret is as valuable as the one he has anybody will end up killing to know it.

I hope to show you the cover soon, and as always here again is the sample chapter, a draft version of Chapter 1.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Age of Chaos Part 2

The rest of middle school post The First Stand was comprised of my writing on a long Star War's Fan fic based on the online role play of a girl I had a crush on.  So once high school rolled around and we went our separate ways I dropped the story, to go back to what I really wanted to write which was my sci-fi version of Lord of The Rings or maybe a bit more Red Storm Rising in space, but I digress.

I started typing, not quiet knowing where I was going, I was just typing as things came to my mind, I got about 50 single spaced pages in before this draft fell apart for reasons that I don't quiet remember anymore. I believe I picked back up the Star Wars story for the simple fact that it was a really damn good story, since I had stripped all the elements of the RP out, and gave it my own dark twist.

In 10th grade I decided that throwing myself at this massive story willy nilly wasn't going to accomplish anything, so I got a spiral notebook and started doing something that I had never done before, but would do for every book I have written since then. I outlined.

Short paragraphs for each and every scene. It allowed me to just go but still monkey around with the plot before I had committed thousands of words, and many hours, to a line of thought that didn't quite work out.  I stopped work on the manuscript I had, and started form scratch again, recycling a few things here and there.

The main thing that I kept was this massive conceit at the front of the book in the prologue about how the universe was like feudalism in medieval Europe that went on for close to a thousand words. It was to long, it was creative but didn't add a damn thing to the story. I couldn't cut it because I was a stuck up 14 year old who thought his shit didn't stink. That shit was the massive conceit and it did stick as the opening to a book.

The outline started to go, and go mounting to almost two hundred pages, with characters going everywhere, plot threads that never really ended, problems, but I was ignoring them. At school I would just work on the outline, writing as neat as possible with my uni-ball pin - I do really love those things. When I got home I would start plugging away at the manuscript again.  This time I would get to just over 50,000 words before something would come along and plunge me into a stretch where I wouldn't write prose again for a very long time...... screenplays.

To be Concluded....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The List

As a writer I come up with ideas exponentially faster then I can write them. In an effort to keep track of where I am I made a list. It consits of is every idea that I presently have; broken up by genera. I plan to hang the list over my desk and cross things off as I publish them.  I also got some cheep spiral notebooks from Wal Mart and I'll try and outline ahead of myself so that I'm not losing good ideas because they are deep in the queue.

My attempt to stay organized.

Sci- fi
The Age of Chaos
     -Conflict Within
     - First Stand
     - Fate's Crest
     - The Moltar Gambit

The Age of Strife (three books)

The Phoenix (a retooling of my SW fan fic to work in my established sci-fi world.)
Retribution (I got a cool way to novelize the short movie I made years ago)


The Long Night
The Three Thieves
The Long Winter 1-3
The Dwarf Wars
Lysta's Long Night


Killing to Know (Calvin Hobbs)
The Agility Murders (Calvin Hobbs)
Bodies under 95 (Calvin Hobbs)
Meat Cleaver (Calvin Hobbs)
Breaking Overnight
The Yokai Project

Those titles are of course subject to change. And things will get added as time goes on I'm sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Age of Chaos: part 1

As a creative person I get stuck on ideas that never seem to leave me, but never seem to get done. The Age of Chaos - a four volume Sci-Fi work - is one of them. The germ of the idea started way back on April 1, 1996. I was watching an episode of Babylon 5, one of the best shows ever, and had an idea for a space ship.  The next day in school I started drawing, it was flat and 2D but it got my mind racing. I drew these space ships everywhere and kept improving them, and slowly coming up with history and factions for them basically back story. I wouldn't start writing the first volume of the Age of Chaos, The Conflict Within until early 1998.

The EAS Enterprise plus escort. 
Virginia Class Battleship

I was sitting in health not paying attention, so much of my early writing history involves me sitting in class not paying attention. I was day dreaming probably drawing a spaceship when a scene took form, so I started writing. I kept writing stashing the pages of louse paper into my note books. The story kept growing and I had no idea where I was going with it.  
The basic plot is as follows. The Earth Alliance is at an uneasy peace with its neighbors and pushing farther out into the stars when a Civil War starts up, fueled by oppression on Mars and other worlds most notably in the Slavic sector. As the Civil War picks up the humans are caught unaware when a much larger threat starts to loom, I'll give you a hint ET doesn't want to just phone home. 

My influences were from just about everywhere though mostly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Space Above and Beyond, and Tom Clancy. That last one doesn't seem to fit but his 80's techno thriller fingerprints are still all over the basic plot and feel of the story.  As I have gone on other places have worked their way into my influence list, like Dune, Starship Troopers and Battlestar Gallactica, but they don't have the same foot print on the story as the original influences did. Maybe it's because I'm not 13 anymore and see that I'm leaching ideas or maybe it is because they just don't fit as well into the story that I already have.

Of course when I started it wasn't this massive four book cycle that didn't come till 9th grade right now in early 1998 I'm just writing, writing and loving every second of it. But come summer I would fall out of love with The Conflict Within and move on to a different idea that was set in the same world that was 8th grade that was when the Aliens came into the picture. 

 The First Stand (1999)

While doing free writing in my creative writing class another story started taking shape that at first I didn't know was in the same world as The Conflict Within, but by the end of the day I knew it was not only in the same world but a sequel. I would take that story to completion over the next two or three mouths. Every class I was in you could see me pull this massive wad of pages from my blue day planer and start working. I was more into my story then just about anything else at school.  Once I finished that I started a few other partial stories that didn't go anywhere but that left me with all of these bits, and it wouldn't be until high school after a breef flutation with Fan Fiction that I would put all of that toghter as a massive series that still haunts me when I sit down to work on something else. 

To be Continued.