Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WIP Wednesday

So, warming up to the release of Canyon Creek Love Story in just over a month now I thought it may be nice to share a little bit of the pre-alpha stuff I'm working on right now.

The closest to completion is also the only one still lacking a title; a cybernetics infused space western with a lot of heat, romance, and attempted murder. Everything I love about combining technology, space, and western themes in a M/M romance piece. This bit comes from chapter 2:

"Uh, I know I'm apparently an idiot... but South is over there." I pointed, pushing up with a frustrated groan. I tried to step forward only to realize too late that my right leg wasn't moving with me. "Ah, fuck..." I sighed, hitting the hard sand face first. "So, uh... little problem here."

Michael swore under his breath, turning back toward me. "You have a mechanical leg, don't you?"

"I prefer the term 'artificial limb analogue', thank you very much."

"Hydraulic would have suited you better... those damn cybernetics are touchy when you take on a large amount of current." He frowned, but sank down close again, withdrawing his tools.

"Yeah, but mine's cool."

He shrugged; "Fair enough." A long, awkward moment passed before I realized he was waiting for me.

"Oh, pants off?"


I tried to toe off my boots, managing the easy one off before nudging my dead leg with my human foot. "Little help here?"

Michael swore again, the corners of his mouth twitching as though he may smile, though it didn't come. "You know, I never really thought the next time I took a guy's pants off it would be in the middle of fucking nowhere."

"One of the perks of being a fucking merc. Travel to distant and exotic lands... have total strangers take your pants off."

"Shut up or I'm not fixing it."

"Just saying..." I lifted my hips, helping with the process of getting off my boots and trousers as best as I could. "This really is a lot more fun with control of all my limbs."

 I'm really looking forward to cleaning up this novel and getting it out to share the fun with everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Your Fun is Wrong!

Writing process is something I think about a lot, especially when it is frequently used as a device to tell new writers that they're “doing it wrong”. Personally, I can't imagine any one wrong way to write – if you're doing what works for you then by all means, carry on. I say this because I've been told that my “process” is wrong more often I really thought I would when I first started writing seriously, and I can't help but wonder what sort of irrational thought process would lead someone to judge another person's way of getting the ideas out of their head.

I've made no secret of the fact that my writing always has been, and likely always will be, influenced by fandom and by nearly twenty years so far of writing fanfiction. Fanfic is great, it brings a lot of things to the table that I think a lot of "traditional" authors dismiss much the same way fanfic itself has been dismissed as juvenile and the very worst of the craft itself. Writing fanfiction means the author is taking familiar characters, settings, plot devices, and situations and using them to tell a story that is uniquely theirs. In this process, you are required to examine the characters in all their glory and fault; a good fanfic author will take the time to know their characters as well as any you can create yourself. You study their motivations, their history, their shortcomings, and in the process you begin filling in the gaps (as with any medium there will always be gaps, how dull would a story be if it told you everything there ever was to know about a character?) that can either play a part in your story or not. For some fanfic is less about the characters and more about the world they live in, but the process is remarkably the same; what is this world about, what sort of things happen there, why is this a place. In taking apart what has already been established you also learn how to build it, how to create your characters and worlds and relationships. Fanfic, at its best, is a study of something you love and want to know intimately.

Another huge influence on my writing has been the world of RPGs. I'm a geek to my core; and my brand of geekery has always been heavily steeped in the world of roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire: the Masquerade. My first breaths of writing, of creating characters and worlds, was sitting around a table rolling dice. When I open the player's guides of these games the very first thing you're introduced to isn't charts and rules; it's how to make your character. The template for building a character quickly became how I relate to all characters, my own and those created by others. What do they look like? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What motivates them? What are they afraid of? Who are the important people in their life? Where do they live, and where did they come from? What is their community like? If you can answer those questions, you have everything you need to know to create a living character.

That's where my stories start. Sitting down with a piece of paper or an open document with one or two of those questions already answered, I flesh the rest out and then draw from there. By the time I start writing, I know what genre my story will be and what sort of goals my main character will have in it. From there I can layer on how they get from where they are to where they're going, what obstacles they'll face and their epic wins against them, or utter failures. I rarely outline, preferring instead to follow that vague track and let this character that now lives in my head to guide my path to tell me where they're going. I let my characters shock me with unexpected turns, and disappoint me when they revel secrets I hadn't considered until it came up in the moment. At all points the character drives my story, not necessarily the plot. In a lot of ways, I'm writing fanfiction for a character and universe I created, because really I love my characters and want to know more about them and the world they live in.

Which is why I'm wrong, because all authors should have a clearly defined narrative when they first set on their quest to write a story. I should have a clear message that I want to put out, not one that happens by chance as my characters are blundering through their world. Honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way. My fun is wrong, and that's okay.