Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting

As usual, the exact details of my story are worked out as I go. I need enough flexibility in my plotting to implement the good stuff which inevitably comes along after I’ve already started writing. On the other hand, sometimes figuring out the important parts when you reach them doesn’t always bode so well. Sometimes you hit a challenge which is solved in an even more difficult fashion.

Ever have a story or plot point you’re not sure if you should write for its intensity? I’ve come across the first instance of a fully justified, genuinely evil action which fits in exactly with the story. It ticks all the right boxes for reasons and rational in the world setting and for the characters in question. But I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the worst ideas I’ve ever come up with. For all the murders I’ve already written, the characters eaten alive, those betrayed and hurt beyond recovery, this one idea actually makes me pause. I got teary just coming up with it, and it sure would be hard to write.

The thing is, as I said, it slots right into place. It’s the big, awful catalyst I need. It works with all these other plots and subplots swimming around it. And I kind of want to write it. I want to be scared of what I’m creating, if only a little bit.

On that subject, I will always remember reading an interview with my favourite author, Matthew Reilly. In case you haven’t read any of his work (go fix that problem now, don’t worry, I’ll wait while you buy one of his stories), you need to know this: He kills any character. Not a single one of them is safe, no matter how important they are, and Matthew wields that power with a deftness and investment which really makes my experience reading his work superbly memorable. In one of his books, he kills a major player. It’s huge; this isn’t just killing a very important character like all those others, we’re talking “central to the setting he’s built” kind of character. In this interview, he spoke of debating over whether he could go through with it. Writing that particular death over all others he had put to paper. What it would mean to him, and to the readers, when that character is killed. He admits he had to take a break after getting the words down. But the important part was, for the story to go the right way, and for the surviving characters to face this challenge and grow, it needed to happen.

I know what it’s like now, in a surprisingly intimate way. Do I go through with this? Write this horrible event, knowing what it does to the characters, knowing how challenging it could be to readers?

You probably already know the answer.

~A

New books from Martin Livings, and Greg Chapman!

Coming from Dark Prints Press, publisher of Surviving the End, are two new novellas from Australian authors to tickle your dark side:

Rope by longtime horror writer Martin Livings, featuring the scenic seaport Fremantle and its historical prison.

And Vaudeville by author and graphic artist Greg Chapman, with classic demonic horror awaiting.

Click here for both Rope and Vaudeville

~A

This goes out to the Gunjin

Back in the days of old, I hung out with a lot of text-based role players. Amidst this group were a particular crowd who role played as magic users and warriors, demons and beasts of ill-imagining. Their purpose was to write the most epic battles you could imagine.

I dipped my feet in and wrote in a couple of battles. Would you believe, some people shy away from fictional text-hitting a girl? In a setting where this attack is meant to happen? Well, I experienced that, at least once, much to my character’s dismay. She was ready to bring it, but her opposition barely came to the party. I also role played as quite a few insane characters, which made text-battling very, very fun. In fact, characters of dubious mental stability have become a recurring theme. They are just too deliciously entertaining to write!

I also spent a lot of time as a designated panel judge for major battles and writing “tournaments” for this group. In this role, I learnt a lot about another side of writing. Because part of my job was to explain exactly why one person’s efforts in the ring had been superior to another’s, I had to understand what I was reading and why it worked or didn’t. I broke down a lot of work in that position, and analysed the description, movement, ferocity; the creativity, environmental use, and especially, the give and take of a battle. It taught me a lot about writing fight scenes.

One of the most important factors to me was always how untouchable a character was or wasn’t. There’s nothing great about a character who is never hurt, never at risk. If a writer remembers to let their character take a good beating in the middle of their turn and still overcome while considering the disadvantaged they’ve just written in, it’s going to be a thrilling battle. Nothing else works on the same level as seeing a character trampled, then still manage to fight back. Observe any successful action film and you’ll probably see this, well, in action.

The Damning Moths is no stranger to battles, and a lot of the essential elements for a good fight can harken back to my days of role playing. I know, those dudes won’t ever see this: but thank you. You can’t imagine how fondly I remember you, and miss you, and think of those who taught me the most when I’m in the middle of having my characters tear each other apart. Thank you.

~A

New books from Zoe Winters, and Laura Rae Amos!

Life Cycle is the newest installment in Zoe’s Preternaturals paranormal romance series. Things are getting exciting as the stories progress, and while you can read this on its’ own, enjoy the whole series and catch all the details!

Click here for Life Cycle

And Exactly Where They’d Fall comes out from Laura, a long-awaited literary fiction exploring all the good parts of dramatic, interwoven lives.

Click here for Exactly Where They’d Fall

~A

Surviving the End is here!

My first ever fiction publication, the neat little story of “Harvest”. It’s a little surreal to be holding the book, reading the other pieces (which are AWESOME, by the way!) with mine wedged in between. The editor and Story Keeper has pulled everything together tightly with the interludes keeping momentum going from one tale to the next, even when they are as vastly different as the people telling them.

One of the best parts of being in this anthology has most certainly been the other contributors. Meeting these writers has been great fun, they’re awesome to interact with, and it’s always brilliant to be introduced to other great stories.

Those of you who have pre-ordered Surviving the End should see your copy very soon! If you didn’t pre-order and are interested in these stories of post apocalyptica, I direct you to the publishers website: Dark Prints Press – Surviving the End.

And of course, thank you all for your support and encouragement. Means the world to me!

~A