Friday, January 29, 2016

Progress Report: The Burning of Hugo

"Ken, come on now." Hugo said, his hands up in supplication, "We don't need another incident."

Ken glanced about him, marking the mob closing in, and then locked his glare at Hugo.

"Oh no, my friend." Ken smirked, and Hugo's eyes went wide. "That's exactly what we need."

The others, writing like a pack of rats looking to swarm, did not see Ken draw his Hi-Power before he shot three of them dead.

"Dead or alive, Hugo, you're coming with me."

The revision has Hugo being more of an active character, a foil trapped by his own psychology, and deep in enemy territory. This exchange, which sets off the climax, comes at the end of a confrontation where Ken infiltrates the cult retreat compound and attempts to convinced Hugo to leave. The Legion of Evil knows that Ken will fail, so they allow Ken to attempt it anyway; when Ken starts fighting his way out, that's the signal for the Legion to assault the compound, much as in climaxes like You Only Live Twice. Ken's smirk is his self-acknowledgement that The Dark Lord was right, and just cut to the chase--"failing faster"--rather than waste time on a dead end.

Which reveals another aspect of Ken's character: as soon as he noticed that he's failed, he cuts his losses and moves on- in this case, to Plan B ("Kill Everything Between Me and the Objective").

I now hope to have the manuscript ready by the Spring for beta readers, and then do the final polish necessary to publish by the Summer. I will need to figure out a cover by then, but I'm working on learning how to handle that (and other business side issues) as best I can with what I've got.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Writer's Development: Curating Good Resources

I am not some omni-competent super-genius. That means that there are people out there who know more than I do about this thing, or that thing, or the other stuff. I'm fine with this; it means that I can rely on those others to handle things that I either lack the talent or the drive to make myself competent at the hard way. I rely on my skill at discerning good from bad sources,

When it comes to writing and publishing, this means I keep an eye out for people and places possessing (by demonstration) that very thing I seek. I've added a Blogroll widget to the sidebar, and that will feature the writing/publishing blogs I find as I come across them. In addition, I will publishing recommended resources here with an eye towards likely applications for a writer. I welcome others leaving their recommendations (and if you do, tell me why when you do) in the Comments below this or any future related post.

I am glad to find that, whatever our beliefs, writers on the whole really do want to spread the knowledge of the craft far and wide; we want all people who wish to become better writers to have the means to do so. This will be the start of my reciprocation of this trend, as a demonstration of my gratitude--paying it forward, if you like--and a welcoming of association on common grounds that are actionable and reasonable.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Writer's Development: What I'm Reading

Part of one's development as a writer is to read, and not just in the genre one seeks to establish a presence and build a fortune within it. This is what's on my nightstand right now:
  • Spacehounds of IPC by E.E. "Doc" Smith.
  • Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken.
  • Primetime Propaganda by Ben Shapiro.
The first is, roughly, in my targeted fiction genre. The second is pure fodder for my imagination and an exercise for my analysis skills. The third is a non-fiction work whose structure and approach I want to analyze for use in my own non-fiction work, as it mixes first-hand inquiry (in Ben's case, including a lot of interviews) with analysis of the gathered information into a comprehensive thesis presented for a lay audience. That's the sort of thing that marks a Public Intellectual, something worthwhile (and necessary for a healthy free nation) and we need more of.

The purpose, besides being informed or entertained, is to see how they did what they did. Picking it apart, looking at how they put the work together, and learning both from their mistakes as well as their successes- that's the point of keeping up a regular reading habit as a writer. You do it as part of ongoing learning about the craft of writing, about what practices are best for which purposes, and so continue to hone your skill as you persist in your efforts.

So, that's what I'm reading and why. If you care to share yours, leave a comment below.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Why Ken is an Iconic Hero

When I write fiction, I prefer to write using an Iconic Hero as my protagonist. Since Robin Laws gave me the direction, here's a link to his 2012 blog post talking about it in the context of doing The New Hero. Here's the big deal, taken from that post:
What Makes a Hero Iconic

While a dramatic hero follows a character arc in which he is changed by his experience of the world (examples: Orpheus, King Lear, Ben Braddock), an iconic hero undertakes tasks (often serially) and changes the world, restoring order to it, by remaining true to his essential self.

Prevailing creative writing wisdom favors the changeable dramatic character over his serially unchanging iconic counterpart, but examples of the latter remain enduring tentpoles of popular culture. It’s the clear, simple, elemental iconic heroes who keep getting reinvented every generation. Each such classic character spoke to the era of its invention, while also evoking an eternal quality granting it a continuing resonance. We are going to create a new set of heroes who speak to the contemporary world while evoking the inescapable power of the iconic model.

An iconic hero re-imposes order on the world by reasserting his essential selfhood. The nature of his radical individuality can be summed up with a statement of his iconic ethos. It is the ethos that grants higher meaning to the hero’s actions, and a clue to his creator’s intentions. An iconic hero’s ethos motivates and empowers him.
For someone looking to get paid writing fiction, you're a god-damned fool if you dismiss the Iconic Hero as the focal point of an evergreen series. Conan of Cimmeria, Solomon Kane, James Bond, Indiana Jones- these are well-known Iconic Heroes that keep selling for their creators even long after those creators died. Ignore this at your peril.

So, of course when I hit upon The Burning of Hugo I went to my own Iconic Hero: Ken. Sure, he's different in that he's not the fearless slayer and consumer of the undead that he is after The Coming of the Azure Flames, but what defines him as an Iconic Hero--that ethos Laws talks about above--is present and fully-formed.

Ken kills monsters preying upon Mankind to purify a corrupt world.

Before the Cataclysm, those monsters are criminals--often those above the law, or exploiting social norms--that he has no qualms ensuring that they die. After the Cataclysm, those monsters are literal Things That Should Not Be, and he kills and consumes them to put them down for good. He's a Scourge, he knows it, he's good with it, and abides by the consequences of it. Those aware of him rightly fear him.

There's another element to having an Iconic Hero as your focal character. It allows you the option of using supporting characters for Dramatic Character Arcs, contrasting against your Iconic Hero to enhance the process. 2000 A.D. does this wonderfully with Judge Dredd, and has for many years now. That's a very worthy example to follow, adapt, and tweak to fit your needs and preferences in a way that is far superior to the outright fucktarded moves that D.C. and Marvel have done in the same time.

So, as I continue re-writing and revising The Burning of Hugo, know this: the Protagonist is Iconic. Everyone else is not. If you want to see Dramatic Character Arcs, look to the other Dramatis Personae in the piece; Ken being exactly who and what he is will only enhance their arcs.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Walker's Study and the Plan for 2016

Formerly, this was Corinth's Consolidated Chronicles, a blog where I wrote original serial fiction. During those years, I developed what first was a Future History continuity. In later years, this went into a Hidden Present and hinted at a Hidden Past that linked to the Future History. I intended from the start to take what I did and make it into something worthy of another man's hard-earned currency, and I began that transition last year. As such, it was time for this outlet to undergo a change, and a change in focus requires a change in name.

Walker's Study is the new forum for my writing about writing, both fiction and non-fiction. The stories will remain as an archive; I will put a Chronicles link above presently and put links to the first part of every story there. I will post no less than once a week, and more than that as I see fit. In part, this is a means to make myself accountable to myself (as Odin sacrificed himself to himself, hopefully without the piercing and the near-death); in part this is to keep you, those who are interested, in the loop.

So, there is a plan.

The plan this year is to finish two novels of speculative fiction and publish them. I intend to go through Amazon, so epub via Kindle and print (POD) via Createspace. I will need help when it comes to a cover, as I'm doing this in the most do-it-yourself manner possible. I also plan to put in work on two more novels of that sort (intended for publishing in 2017), and start work on my first non-fiction piece (which I also want to put out in 2017). One or more shorts may be revised, cleaned up, and published independently if I have time and resources.

The first of these novels is The Burning of Hugo, which I will devote a future post to; I will do the same for each in turn as I see fit to give a dedicated post to it. However, in the immediate term, there will be posts acting as a catchup on the overall milieu for new folks; this too will have a specific link when finished for ease of use.