Posts Tagged ‘writing

14
Nov
11

People Are Complex and Compelling…Even the Ones Who Don’t Exist

If you’ve visited this blog for some time, you know I was for a while writing a novel in chunks here, between other postings. It was a contiguous storyline, rolled out more or less episodically (really, snippets of chapters since writing whole chapters as blog posts was too unwieldy). This was both an experiment (to see how well-received it might be, to roll out a novel as I was writing it from scratch) and a labor of love (as the first draft of what might turn out to be a novel I try to publish one day).

If you’re one of those people, you also know that with the crush of real life and the addition of more blogs to my life, a few of them devoted to fiction (erotica in some cases), that project stalled.

But it isn’t dead yet. The characters in that far-from-finished tale (the resulting novel of which would still only be the first in an epic series) continue to speak to me at times. In fact, sometimes they won’t fucking shut up, and it can get really annoying. Good thing for them that I love them.

Characters are important to me. Who they are, what they say and how the interact with each other and make decisions…well, it’s fascinating to me (whether in the “Cleansed By Fire” novel, or at my Tales of the Whethermen blog, or my erotica and fetish stories). You might, however, ask: “Why? You created them, so you know what they’re going to do.”

If only that were true. Much like living-and-breathing people, I can’t always predict their actions. Familiarity and experience with someone will give you a lot of clues and insight into what they will do, but they can still surprise you. So too do my characters. No matter how thoroughly I plot a story, in any genre or whatever medium, characters will surprise me and do things I didn’t plan on them doing.

Sometimes, things I didn’t want them to do, because it complicates my plans or changes the direction of my plot. Usually, though, I see the necessity in letting that happen, just as I acknowledge that unexpected decisions by friends, families, co-workers, etc. are not always bad ones. Usually, they are neutral or positive in the long run.

I hope my characters in my fiction continue to be complex (or perhaps I should hope they become so; some of you might argue the notion that they’re complex right now). I hope they continue to challenge me.

At the same time, I hope I don’t become lazy (assuming I’m not already).

You see, it’s easy to write in black-and-white. To have clear good and evil and to have defined winners and losers. For the people who do right to be rewarded and for those who do wrong to receive some kind of justice. But that’s not life, now is it? And I try to make sure my fiction feels enough like real life so that it not only rings true but also sucks you into my world, to give you as immersive an experience as you can get.

Yes, I love my villains and my heroes both. I love those who are neither. I love that sometimes a villain can do something noble and a hero do something awful. Even when I hate what people do and what happens to them, sometimes I have to accept them for who they are…even when they’re fictional. I have to accept life doesn’t always go my way, even when I’m the one creating the reality.

(This is one part of a kind of thematic dual-post. For the “other part,” click here and visit my Tales of the Whethermen blog)

14
Oct
11

A Seed to Cultivate?

The last thing I need is to juggle more fiction. I already have an entire blog, Tales of the Whethermen, devoted to a world increasingly populated by super-powered people, and in it I have an ongoing, ultimately novel-length (I suspect) series along with numerous short stories. I also have the in-hiatus “Cleansed by Fire” sci-fi epic I began here at this blog and will probably return to one day in the foreseeable future.

Not to mention two erotic fiction blogs I maintain under another identity that need to be populated with stand-alone short stories and which also have multiple ongoing series that need to be worked on.

Furthermore, I started a novel last year, “Necroverts” for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is coming up again. I never got far with it because all the other fiction-writing ate up my time, and have been considering whether I should try to write it for real this year.

So, naturally, with all that, I would have a line pop into my head yesterday that stuck with me, and makes me think there is a very large story to go with it (*sigh* need more hours in the day):

The Earth is round, but the world is flat. And it has edges.

And so today, I quickly wrote a scene that I think might be the first one in a future novel. What do you think?

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“I probably won’t be seeing you again, Little Rogue,” the man said, ruffling the hair of his granddaughter as if she were still eight instead of a woman of 28. He was still hale and hearty, though well into his 70s, and even with a little hunching of his back, he still stood nearly six feet tall, well over Anna’s height. “I’ll be sailing toward the edge of the world tomorrow.”

Anna almost laughed at the joke, until she realized how grave and serious his tone was. It confused her. Papa Vlad had always been a religious man, but he also voraciously read philosophy and science books. He’d never been a superstitious type, so she could only assume he was teasing her.

“The edge of the world, eh, Papa Vlad? There be dragons…” she trailed off with a smile as she looked up into his face. His eyes were still serious, but now there was a distance in them as well, as if he were looking past her into some far-off landscape.

“Dragons would be more welcome, I think, than what actually lives there,” he said gravely. “I wouldn’t tell many people this, Anna—my Little Rogue. I tell you, I am taking a ship to the edge of the world, and I doubt I will return. If I do, it will likely not be me as I once was, and you should run.”

“You believe in a flat Earth, Papa Vlad? That doesn’t seem like you. That’s not rational. The Vatican even gave up on that centuries ago.”

“Flat Earth?” he said, and managed a short, hearty laugh despite the stoniness of his face. “No, my granddaughter, the Earth is round. It is a sphere—an ovoid—as it always has been. It still circles the sun and spins on its axis. The world, though, is a different story altogether. Flat as can be. With edges aplenty, often razor-sharp ones.”

“What are you talking about?” Anna asked, not simply perplexed but now worried for her grandfather’s mental health.

“The Earth is round, Anna,” he said. “The world is flat, with many layers.”

He hugged her hard, kissed the top of her head for nearly a minute, and then he stood. Without another word, he left the room.

That had been five years ago.

She thought he’d never come back from the edge of the world. Yet there he was, seated on a bistro table outside a café, sipping from a steaming cup, with an iPad in front of him and a newspaper off to the side.

Anna wondered if she should run as Papa Vlad had warned her. But instead, she walked up to the table where he sat. She looked into his face. The set of the lines in it was different; crueler perhaps, or maybe just more indifferent. The eyes were still sharp, but no longer warm. As he set down his tea and looked at her, she realized he recognized her, yet didn’t. As if he knew her history and her name but nothing about her heart. She was data to him; something anonymous. Not his granddaughter.

This was not Papa Vlad, though it was his body. Anna almost did run then, but forced her quivering legs to stay rooted.

“Which layer of the world did Papa Vlad’s ship travel, and what did he find at the edge of it?” she asked, the words seeming alien on her tongue for the absurdity of what they described. “More to the point, who are you and how do I find him instead of just this body he left behind?”




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

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Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

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Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

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For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

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