Friday, September 2, 2011

New Directions

Today I have no specific topic to blog about. But, in keeping with my desire to be a prolific and regular blogger, I will talk about various ideas that have been rolling around inside my brain (of course, you have to read that last part using the voice of Madagascar's King Julien to really get the proper effect).

First of all, my orc story of Mahak the Vengeful has stalled. I've kind of hit a creative wall, and the story has stopped making any sense. I'm sure this is temporary, and I will go back and finish, edit and revise it before long. In the meantime, my tastes in writing have been all over the place. I am going through one of those periods where I just don't know what I want to write. As I have stated in previous posts, this all comes back to my lack of focus, and my wide variety of literary tastes.

One thing that has recently caught my attention again is Erotica. Yeah, I know, I'm a perv. So? Anyways, several years ago I had written a couple of short vignettes about a northern barbarian having some erotic escapades. But, being me, I couldn't just let it go at that. I mean the vignettes were well-done (at least all who read them thought they were), tasteful, and decidedly NOT in the Penthouse Forum vein. But, I wanted to link them all together in a cohesive narrative with an actual story, of which the sex was only a small (but somewhat important) part. Well, the narrative died because I couldn't decide where exactly it needed to go. Unfortunately, those vignettes disappeared. So, yesterday I began trying to re-create them. I have the first one done, with plans for two more parts. However, the overall narrative will be much shorter, less involved, and easily handled in less than 10,000 words. I think I can do this. And I even did some research and found a couple of possible markets. So, we'll see how that goes.

Thanks to an article I read today about Raiders of the Lost Ark, I now also have this desire to write some plain old pulp adventure. I have a character in my head (and some of him on paper) that is a direct homage to characters like Doc Savage and Indiana Jones, named Jack Redstone. He was first developed as a character for White-Wolf's Adventure! RPG. Though I never got to play him, I wrote an extensive background for him, and even had a couple of stories plotted out and started. Unfortunately, both of those efforts were lost when my last flash drive mysteriously disappeared. Still, I think I have it in me to start over, and do something cool with the character.

Related to that, a friend of mine told me I need to start a Pulp Revival. There are ups and downs to that. First of all, how cool would it be to have a source for new stories in the Pulp Adventure vein? The downside would be that the audience would be relatively small, as many people don't really have any interest in that era (beyond an occasional movie), and, in the case of younger readers, don't even know about the existence of such literature (see my last blog entry about this). I did have an idea of how to do it, though. Basically, I would set up an eZine, and each story that was published would have a link to a virtual "tip jar" that would link to a PayPal account for the author. That way, people could read the stories for free, and if they liked them, and felt compelled, they could drop a bit of change in the author's account to let them know. I dunno. We'll see how that goes.

Speaking of Indiana Jones, I'm kind of eager to get started on studying ancient cultures. Though, for some reason, I know it's not going to be as fun as I'd like. But still, it will motivate me to read about actual history. I love ancient cultures and hearing about them. I just hate reading that much academic stuff, and usually only do so when forced to. I'm lazy, I know.

I've also been thinking of trying my hand at screenwriting. Mainly because other writers I am friends with keep talking about it. And after the fiasco that was Conan, I wonder how hard it would be to adapt an actual Robert E. Howard story for the screen. Again, we'll see how that goes.

So, there you go. I managed an entire blog post off the top of my head. I know, I astound myself as well, sometimes.


David McMurdo said...

I'm new to your blog but I'm just wondering whether you plan a story out before you begin writing, and if so, to what extent? Some writers seem to baulk at the prospect of beginning without a plan while others have philosophies like, "let the characters build the story". That sounds wonderful, but would be disasterous for me I think.

I know what you mean about being influenced. If I'm in the middle of reading a book, and decide to begin a story, then the chances are that my story will have the same essence as what I'm reading. It's just an unconscious thing that can't be helped I think. I keep telling myself that at the end of the day, the skill of any writer is just a combination of the styles of everyone who inspired them. That might be bullshit though.

Tom Doolan said...

Personally, I have always been one of the "let the characters write the story" writers. However, my lack of anything published can probably attest to the success of that approach. Generally, I think at least some planning is best. I've been experimenting with various degress of that. Still no concrete results. But, while I think it's possible to underplan, you can't possibly overplan, IMHO. So, my advice is to plan as much as you can, and then go from there.

I'm sure there is some merit to your theory. I think all who want to write begin by aping who they admire, and then add their own unique traits as time goes on.

Scott Oden said...

My style is pure REH-meets-Steven Pressfield, with a touch of Mary Renault and just the barest hint of Karl Edward Wagner.

As for plotting beforehand or outlining, to me it's dictated by the story -- some are intricately outlined (to the tune of 37 single-spaced pages), while others are just a collection of random thoughts on a notecard. I tend to deal solely in long-form storytelling, however, and it often behooves the writer to know where the hell all those words are going. I've written two short tales in the past few months and they were both totally seat-of-the-pants.

Charles Gramlich said...

I still have a barbarian and sex story in my files called "The Conqueror" that I've never submitted anywhere. It was sort of an experiment. I think it works but I think it's too male centered to be viewed well in this day and age. So in the box it stays.