30 Days of Writing #18: Favorite Antagonist?

18) Favorite antagonist and why!

I have a perverse desire to give the same answer to this one as I did the favorite protagonist question, since Akane Moroboshi/Radian of Superguy sometimes played the antagonist. And there’s no question she’s in the running, as she was fun to write in that capacity as well. But I think my answer to this one has to be the Creyts brothers, Gordon and Kelly, from Brutal Light.

They’re both dangerous, and mad in counterbalancing ways. Without one another, they would go off into the aether with their own peculiarities, and might be more fun to write in some senses, but less appealing as characters otherwise. Together, they have a sinister dynamic that was endless fun to write.

30 Days of Writing #17: Favorite Protagonist?

17) Favorite protagonist and why!

My favorite protagonist would have to be Akane Moroboshi, aka Radian, from Superguy. She was originally introduced as an ancillary family member for another hero, Rad, and later on got powers of her own. From there, she got into a team series, and then I really started screwing with her fictional life.

What I liked (and still do) about her so much is how perfectly willing she is to not be understood, to remain an enigma in situations where someone else might be trying to explain their actions to avoid sanction and gain forgiveness. (She needed this on a few occasions, such as when she tried to destroy the Earth, see.) Her defiant nature was invigorating to write, and has come up in other characters I’ve written since (notably characters in Brutal Light). I suspect Akane remains my favorite because she is the one through whom I really learned to tap that feeling in my writing.

30 Days of Writing #16: Write Romantic Relationships? What Of The Goinking?

16) Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? 😉

Romance and sex have been part of many things I’ve written, from some fairly straightforward romantic subplots in Superguy and SfStory, to some partially-to-completely dysfunctional relationships in Brutal Light and True Places. My novels have been more explicit in terms of sex scenage, though I took great pains to have them be part of the story, rather than something that stops the story dead for x number of pages. (Given the nature of these novels, this also means that the scenes end up being very weird and possibly disturbing, and overall not likely to simply take you to your happy place.)

30 Days of Writing #15: Writer You Admire?

15) Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

There are a lot of possible answers to this questions, such as writers I’ve grown up reading (Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert), writers I read much of now (Terry Pratchett, Philip K. Dick, Michael Connelly), and writers who are friends of mine (Greg Fishbone, Eric A. Burns-White). In fact, once I’m through with these 30 questions, I think a regular feature here will be a writer I admire, and how his or her works have influenced me. But for this time around, let me go on about Avram Davidson.

I did not discover Davidson until well after his passing, but have spent much of the past ten to twelve years reading and re-reading a good portion of his bibliography. He is a writer with a definite voice — curmudgeonly, erudite, cantankerous, obscure, cynical, and of good humor, sometimes all within a single sentence. His erudition, particularly in areas of mythology and history, is something I admire, and am likely never to equal. His stories break many so-called rules of good prose, such as that of pushing plots forward, or having nice, trim, Strunk-White approved stylings, and ofttimes can seem to go on for pages and pages without anything seeming to happen. But things are always happening, beneath the surface, and if you can relax the part of your brain that insists that everything you read has to make sense right away, you may find much that is rewarding in his stories. In fact, maybe forget about worrying that it makes sense at all, and just submerge into the rhythms of the story, and the rhythms of his rich and generous storytelling.

I sometimes catch myself looking back over something I’ve written, and thinking ‘Davidson might have tweaked that like so.’ Not often do I let these darlings stay unkilled, because, enjoy Davidson though I do, his style is not mine and never will be. But I admire his craft and his cunning, and would have greatly liked to know him when he was alive. Until then, I do still have a few more of his works to track down and enjoy.

30 Days of Writing #14: Map Out Locations?

14) How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

If it’s an interior space, such as an apartment or a house, I visualize a place I’m familiar with, such as my residence or that of a friend’s–altering details as necessary. If it’s a larger or more fantastic space, I’ll sketch out a map if I don’t have something visual in mind. For exterior spaces, it depends on the story. Brutal Light has Detroit and its suburbs in mind. In a previous iteration of the novel, it was set in Chicago. I had a map on the wall with particular locations marked out, with the idea that I would eventually go to the city and make more detailed notes on what was around. (If that sounds unlikely, well, that’s why I changed the setting to Detroit, near where I live.) For the jungle-setting short story sequence I’m coming up with, I’m going to sketch the exterior locations out, very loosely based on real locations. None to show you just yet, so sorry.

30 Days of Writing #13: Favorite Culture to Write?

13) What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

I think what is meant by this poorly worded question is ‘what is your favorite culture to have your characters interact with, or relate to, or somesuch.’ To which I answer… um. I don’t think I have one, per se, and I’m not going to make one up to answer the question. I’ve enjoyed spoofing aspects of ‘superhero culture’ and ‘fan culture’ in Superguy and SfStory. I’ve enjoyed having characters discover hidden cultures based on mythic beings in stories like Fabulous Beasts. But… favorite culture? I just don’t have an answer for that one right now.