So, I was thick into the development of the follow-up novel to THE GOOD KILL (any guesses what follow-up title will be?) when of a sudden it seemed like End Times had finally started to throw down with the Covid-19 pandemic and cult daddy trump’s horrific death-inducing response to it.
With the Killian Lebon storyline as dark and violent as it is, and with all the research into the real-life examples of darkness and violence it takes to bring it out fictionally, I just thought it best for my mental stability to shelve all the pretend mayhem for a while seeing how there was far too much of it going on within our apocalyptic twilight zone of a reality.
But of course I could not not write so I immediately began looking internally for a story that would be able to transport me away to a better place.
Anyway, these kinds of posts are always a bit self indulgent, but if you’re like me (and god help you if you are), you too like to know how the sausage is made when it comes to an author’s creative process.
I’m both old and old school when it comes to writing. First drafts are were always done with pen and paper.
Mostly because I love the physical act of writing, the feel of pen in hand, the feel of ink flowing on the paper.
But also because if I try to write the first draft on the computer I never make it out of the first chapter seeing that I’m one of those edit-as-you-go guys. I have too many folders with forgotten novels with unfinished first drafts that I attempted to write on the computer.
Writing the first draft by hand allows for limited editing — a line through here, a line through there maybe — and because of this, I enjoy a more immersive, free flowing writing experience…
One that actually results in finished novels.
How ’bout that?
But there is a catch.
My handwriting is garbage.
Which means draft two is pure and absolute torture when it comes to typing it up into the computer. Oftentimes it takes longer to type up the second draft than it did writing out the first.
Which brings me to my novel approach to first drafts, an approach that saves me months in novel development…
Jackie has a whole sight jammed full of reviews for your reading pleasure. So, after you check out her review of my book, make sure you don’t stop there and continue on to snack on all the other delectable literary goodies she has prepared just for you.
A former Navy SEAL turned vigilante hitman already in the crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents finds himself in even deepertrouble after rescuing a sex trafficking victim against her will just as she is about to be delivered into the hands of an unscrupulous corporate mogul, an impetuous and dangerous man who will not be denied his purchase….
During the battle to liberate Mosul from the brutal grip of the Islamic state, Killian Lebon, a war weary Navy SEAL Senior Chief, sustains life threatening injuries from an explosion during a rescue operation that goes horribly wrong.
Forced into early retirement from a vocation that for almost twenty years had been his sole purpose for being – that of a fearless warrior in defence of his country – Killian’s life quickly spirals downward to the deepest depths of hopelessness and despair due to the traumatic after effects of his injuries…
1977 He drove to a secluded, leafy spot, and looked at Cocoa covertly when they stopped. She patted her blonde wig, contrasting her chocolate skin, and popped her gum, pretending not to notice him pulling out a pair of nylons. Cocoa slammed his head against the steering wheel before he could act. He was out cold. Cocoa handcuffed him to the steering wheel. Vice arrested The Pantyhose Strangler. However, his car remains where he intended to assault and kill his fourth prostitute.
This abandoned car is oh, I don’t know, maybe a half mile or so from my humble yet lovely abode and it’s been parked right there for as long as I’ve lived in my said humble yet lovely abode, which has been oh, I don’t know, maybe eighteen years or so.
Every time I pass the beautiful, wabi-sabi of a relic on one of my walks, I always think to myself, I bet there’s a heck of story to go along with that thing…
And I also always tell myself that one of these days Ima gonna write my own story about it.
On a whim I did a search for Save the Cats in the WordPress Reader and the second entry returned was this gem of a post of which I’m now reblogging for your entertainment and instruction.
I had no idea there was a Save the Cat! Writes a Novel [about]!
Guess who’s going to be putting that little sucker right smack on his Want to Read list pronto like…
You guessed it. Yours truly, that’s who.
Now maybe I’ll finally learn how to write one of them novely things..
You should really check out the Writers’ Rumpus website. By the looks of things, it is swarming with pertinent need to know stuff for the discerning writer… including a review of the original Save the Cat! book written by Blake Snyder.
How can you go wrong?
Well, knowing you like I do, maybe I shouldn’t ask that, even as rhetorical as it may be…
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody uses all of the basic tenets from Blake Snyder, but shifts them specifically for writing a novel. She provides word counts and genres for every story, including yours.
Have you ever heard someone talking about a character’s “Dark Night of the Soul” or when the “Bad Guys Close In,” and thought, dark night of the what? That’s Save the Cat.
The title of the book comes from the idea that to make a character likable they have to metaphorically save a cat. They have to have a moment that makes the audience think, “sure they launder money and just stole that car, but…
So as I continue to work the mysterious magic of turning the words from the pages of my most recent novel into words on the pages of what will hopefully soon be my most recent screenplay (with the ultimate and even more hopeful goal of magically turning those words from the screenplay into magical images on a screen), I am tangentially listening to a screenwriting howto book by Viki King with the impossibly-sounding title of How to Write a Movie in 21 Days: The Inner Movie Method [about]
I’m just about done with the book and when I am it will have been the third screenwriting howto book I have read.
The first two, The Screenwriter’s Bible [about] and Save the Cat [about] I own; the one I’m reading now, I borrowed from Overdrive.
So for the past two months I’ve been stuck within the tedious and grinding and painful first phase of the developmental process for my next book (while I can’t say the first phase is my favorite phase of the entire book development process — to me the entire process of developing a book is tedious and grinding and painful — I can at least say it is the least tedious and grinding and painful of them all) when it recently suddenly dawned upon me that I am not yet ready to let go of the last book I that tediously and grindingly and painfully developed…
Which of course is The Good Kill, thank you very much.
At first I tried to fight through the desire to not let it go but it wasn’t working…
By way of reblogging this very well-written and intriguing review of Jennifer L. Place’s amazing sounding book, one of which I will def put on my “Want to Read” list as soon as I finish up here, I’d like to introduce you to my new friend Lee Hall, the author of this very well-written review.
Lee was kind enough to respond to my call for Indie Author recommendations and I am the better man for it. Not only am I now aware of Jennifer’s horror novel which I look forward to reading very much as it seems to be right in my wheelhouse, I am now aware of Lee’s fantastic website full of other such well-written and intriguing Indie Author book reviews; and, just as important if not more so, I am now aware of his own fine-looking list of what I am sure to be deep, verisimilitude-inducing reads, particularly his book Teleporter which is about a twenty-something slacker turned superhero, and which is now def on my “Want to Read” list:
So do yourself a favor and check out Lee’s website chock full of wonderful things that are sure to pleasure the discerning reader…
And do me a favor by letting me know what other awesome Indie Author books I should be reading…
Urban exploration horror filled with tension and some truth…
Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion. Their destination the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane; a real place with a real history that can be described as harrowing to say the least.
Exploration of abandoned places is a specialist niche in the genre of horror and one which I very much enjoy. Films such as ‘Grave encounters’ and ‘House on Haunted Hill’ come to mind but in terms of books, Building 51 is the benchmark and makes for a roller coaster tension filled read.
Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl is a haunting mystery with a complex, engrossing story and complex, intriguing characters, especially Stanislas Cordova, a creepy, reclusive cultish film director who I wish to the literary gods was a real person.