Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thunder Canyon Reviewed

While Rage of the Behemoth will not see print until June 1st, the advance reviews have started to come in. John Ottinger is first up with a review at Grasping For the Wind. Here is what he has to say about Thunder Canyon:

"Thunder Canyon" brings monster and man together against something much more evil. The hero Rath is seeking revenge for the death of his lost love, in a very Braveheart fashion, though with a more positive ending. Draper writes a good tale of friends found and revenge taken.

It's always nice to get positive reviews, especially because I really like this story. I tried to capture the essence of that old Klingon proverb, 'Revenge is a dish best served with an 8" blade through the throat.' (Or something like that.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Difficult POV

The final clashes in "The Granite Strand" are an interesting mix. The party splits into three operational units and each has their action happening at the same time as all the others. In that way, it's sort of like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. One of the POV characters is not human and has amazing powers of accurate perception. This provides some POV challenges to the writer. The character can see, hear, feel, and sense all kinds of things at once, process those inputs, and rapidly come to a decision much faster than a human can. The trick is how to write it. If I list everything that he's able to do, the pages would go on and on while describing only a few seconds of a fight scene. What's normal for him is overwhelming for us. So my idea of really getting inside this character's head, for the first time in the series, might have to be scrapped in favor of a smoother narrative. Maybe the rewrite will provide some insight but for now, I'm not sure how well it works. Of course, I could just blaze ahead with whatever idea comes to mind, heedless of any reasonable restraint or justifiable plot devices. In that way, it would be exactly like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Roping the Wind

Several irons in the fire for me at this time. "River of Bones" has received some critiques and is getting molded into its final form. "Broken Rocks" is next up for my writing group and it needs to go from rough draft to first draft. "The Granite Strand" had some new words added to it this morning; it's up to 9000 and rocking and rolling through the climax. The origin story for Othren Four-Scars is percolating along at about 1500 words and I'm still in development mode with that one. We also have two family functions this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights that we have to prepare for. (Or rather, Wife Number One and Only prepares for while I make my best attempt at looking busy.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blaggard's Moon

This month the CSFF brings you Blaggard's Moon by George Bryan Polivka. Not only will you be blown away by the cover but the writing is top notch too. You got to love a story that starts out with a main character who's unconcerned about being tied to a post suspended above a seaside lagoon. 'The piranha, now, they were somewhat vexing.' That's good stuff. And a great way to start a book.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Facebook: The Black Hole of the Digital Age

Nothing can escape the gravitational attraction of Facebook. Not my family, not my friends, not my professional contacts, not some random guy I might have spoken to while buying a Coke from the local 7-11. Despite my best efforts to engage Ludicrous Speed and escape the inevitable I have slowly been sucked into the vortex. Just in the last few days I've been bombarded by friend requests. While I politely agree to them, I can feel the overload of superfluous information beginning to crush me already. Please. I love you all but I don't need to have that much contact 24/7. (Don't even get me started on Twitter.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Triond: Big Money, Hot Cash, Massive Income

After checking my Triond account for the first time in a few months I've discovered that they've upgraded the dashboard and made it easier to see which of my Life Lessons From the Marines articles are being viewed and how much money they've made. Two amazing things came of this. First, I'm up to about seven bucks now in total income over the last two years. Maybe I'll celebrate by throwing all that money on the floor and rolling around in it. Second, one of my articles has amassed nearly 1900 views in all. It's way above the hit rate for all the others. Not sure how it happened but it can be seen here: Improvise, Adapt, & Overcome. Other crowd favorites are The Nature of War (Life) and Combined Arms. If you'd like to unscrew your life then I highly suggest you read them all. (And share them with everybody who's life is a pathetic mess.) The link can be found over on the right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Othren Four-Scars and the Search for the MacGuffin

The new story about Oth from The Battle of Raven Kill is at 1300 words and has some interesting developments. First, I've decided to use his full name which I didn't do in RotS. In this story he's younger and a bit more full of himself. The name denotes skill and cunning and he wants everyone to know it. (Since William S. Preston, Esquire, had already been done, I went with the idea I'd had before but never used.) Second, I launched into the story not knowing what the quest object was. Usually I'll get to the point in the tale where some kind of goal needs to be revealed and sit back until I think of a cool sounding name. When nothing came to me I just typed [macguffin] and moved along. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've actually written a story that way. Many thanks to Alfred Hitchcock for giving us a more interesting way to refer to The Thing That Drives The Plot.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Story Started

I had an idea that seemed to be coming to fruition so I've started another story at the same time I'm finishing The Granite Strand. Ever since I wrote The Battle of Raven Kill I've been thinking about how the protagonist got his immortality. The follow up flash fiction piece goes into it a little bit but I knew I really wanted to write an origin story and that wasn't it. So over the last week or so the images have really gelled in my mind and I knew it was time to start typing. More updates will of course follow when I have more to update about.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Generation E

So I'm downstairs listening to my kids and I realize they are forming The E Generation. Then I whip on some Google Fu and find that I have not coined a new phrase. While there may be a few different definitions to it, I believe it stands for The 'Entertained' Generation. These people cannot go five minutes without some kind of Thing (usually electronic) to occupy their grey matter. It's a constant need for diversion and it is a little bit troubling. Now, granted I am seldom more than ten feet away from my laptop but there was still a day where I was perfectly content to sit and stare at nothing. (As a matter of fact, I still do this quite often while waiting at gate S9 in the SeaTac Airport.) They cannot seem to do that. Car trips are becoming absolute misery with incessant caterwauling about not being able to play Roblox or Guitar Hero IV. What's staggering is that Son Number Three can now navigate around on the Wii using the wireless controller. I swear there are times when I want to throw my gladius against the arena wall and shout, "Are you not entertained?"

But then the kids would likely just say, "Cool, do it again!"

Monday, April 06, 2009

How Writers View the World

The other night I was catching up on the Terminator episodes that were recorded while I was gone. There was a great shot at the end of one that had John Connor sitting quietly on the couch between his mother and the hot Terminator babe that his future self reprogrammed and sent back through time to protect his past self. (For those that don't know the premise of Terminator: In the future, machines destroy almost all life on Earth. John Connor inspires the remnants of humanity to fight back and win. The machines discover time travel and send human looking Terminator cyborgs back to both kill young John Connor and ensure their own creation. John's mother, Sarah, has to keep him alive and train him to lead the future resistance.) The episode we'd just seen was a fairly intense one and the conflict between Sarah and the Terminator is brewing. I looked at the way that last shot was filmed and chuckled to myself. "He's caught between the two of them," I said. "One's teaching him to be human, the other's teaching him to be a machine. And you're not really sure which is doing which."

Wife Number One and Only rolled her eyes and said, "Some people just watch a TV show without coming up with all kinds of elaborations." She shook her head and muttered, "Writers."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Clash of Rogue Steel

Now that Rage of the Behemoth is on final approach and solid in the glide path, RBE has made this announcement about their next project. It's a new series of anthologies in a more direct relation to sword & sorcery of old. That leads to an interesting discussion on the genre.

Fantasy has very broad horizons. The average bloke on the street immediately says, "Oh. Like Lord of the Rings type stuff?" (To which it is easiest to respond, "Yeah, exactly like that." Otherwise if you keep talking you reveal 2d8 Geek Points per round.) But we all know there are differences amongst fantasy's various tentacles. The two on display at RBE right now are heroic fantasy and sword & sorcery. Both have standard fantasy trappings: the existence of magic, action oriented plots, and pre-industrial, pseudo-medieval technology. They can be hard to tell apart. I think the difference is in the protagonist.

A typical S&S hero goes through little or no transformation. They do what they do without much deeper meaning to it. Kick down the door, slash open the bad guy, now where's my beer kind of thing. The typical heroic fantasy protagonist usually has a personal transformative arc that carries him or her along. Reasons and motivations are explored and fulfilled. You could say that heroic fantasy is the thinking person's S&S. (Further up the genre chain is epic fantasy, in which several major characters on their own arcs move through a larger world with larger stakes and create an overall societal arc to the story, but that's not relevant right now.)

So best of luck to Rogue Blades Entertainment on these endeavors.