The first, Colin F. Barnes, whom I admiringly call the Author of Artificial Evil–not that he’s the only one, the founder, or whatever, but because of a conversation we had recently on Twitter, and how he is calling the first part of his next novel “Artificial Evil.” He is going to be my next interview on AudioTim, and in preparation for that, I picked up a few of his stories (Dark Metaphor: A psychological horror short story, and City of Hell Chronicles: Volume 1). “Dark Metaphor” piqued my interest because it’s a story about a down and out writer. I’m a sucker for those stories, even if some people call them cliche. The main character, Benedict, starts the story off getting the rejection letter he promised himself would mean returning to the corporate world for work; after ten years, twelve novels, and 125 rejection letters, he’s ready to throw in the towel on his dream. (Reminds me of Michael J. Sullivan, who wrote ten novels, none accepted before quitting writing for a while, and then picked it back up with the uber successful Riyria Revelations series–currently my favorite Fantasy series.)
Before giving up on his dream, Benedict is invited by a girl he has a crush on to attend a reading by his writing idol. After the reading, this idol takes the time to give Benedict some advice. Here’s what he says:
“My friend, I shall leave you with a gift.” His hand seemed to get unnaturally warm. “Observe everything, consume it all, and then pour it out on the pages. Empty your heart and mind of everything you have. Write yourself into everything you do.”
I finished reading “Dark Metaphor” today, and rated it on Goodreads (here) with a 4 out of 5 rating.
There are two themes strongly evident in my bigger projects that I believe reflect this advice in action. In general, I see my writing as an illustration of my relationship with my wife. Tomorrow, we celebrate our three year anniversary by driving to Illinois for my annual belly stuffing with the best food in the world, Penn-Station Subs. Long story on why we opted for that instead of something more “romantic,” but it will be fun, relaxed, and cheap compared to our previous two annual celebrations. I understand that the first five or whatever years are the hardest, and I am still balancing my love for her with my selfishness to ignore the opportunities to overcome my weaknesses. My stories reflect these weaknesses, from discontentment to anger, and how they can make my characters’ lives unbearable when taken to an extreme. Often, I conclude my stories with a greater appreciation for my wife, and a desire to love her better. Maybe these stories will help others do the same, but I’m satisfied with how they help me if that’s all I ever get.
My novel, Kaimerus Deception, is not as much about husband and wife, as it is a young man (29 like me) struggling to balance ambition with responsibility, though that still indirectly relates to my relationship with Rachel. I love writing about this character, Yuman Re, because he is the extrapolation of my Space Opera alter ego, a bounty hunter in space, outcast from his home, with a desire to be a General in his father’s army, helping defend his home planet from an overwhelming invasion. In spite of this justifiable desire, his blindness to achieve it in the face of neglecting those around him is an illustration of my desire to become a full time writer and how that sometimes clashes with my responsibility to put my marriage first. Exploring the outcome of his failing to make the right decision is beneficial to showing me the importance of making the right decisions in my life.
So, I’m building two series at the moment. My Deals with the Dead series will see what this young husband will do when surrounded by zombies, and burdened by the responsibility of the world on his shoulders. Sometimes my life feels like that, trying to create a career out of my writing when I see the ebook revolution showering more books into the market than people’s “water tables” can withstand. My Kaimerus Deception series will explore through an epic Space Opera adventure (also with a little zombie type enemies) what a young man will do when or if he can’t achieve his life’s dream because those around him need him to focus on their well-being. (These are all unreleased, so stay tuned on my Works in Progress page.)
I believe I’m following Colin’s second-hand advice. That I’m excited from my inner most being to write these stories is probably an indicator that I am. The comments might not be big enough a forum to voice how you are writing from your inner most being, but feel free to share. Maybe this inspires you to write your own blog post. If you do, link back to this one so I can go check it out.
(I ran out of room to mention the other two writers, so till next week then. I need to get to writing.)