Sexy Writing Time

ESRB Warning: Game contains life changing experience.

ESRB Warning: Game contains life changing experience. Viewer discretion is AWESOME!

Finished my draft of the summary for the short story submission window this September. I want to write one more story, then write a final version and the samples. I am very pleased with the plot, making it sophisticated for something so short. In fact, it startles me. In the past, my stories were so conservative, focusing on descriptions and character development like I had all the time in the world to write it. These days, I find myself stuffing my stories with more action and more plot, working character development into the details whenever I can.

Is there such a thing as too much story? I’ve asked that question before but never dived into it beyond a toe in the water. Some of the greatest works I’ve read, seen or played certainly did. Neon Genesis Evangelion was originally going to have two seasons minimum, but when it only got funds for one, the creators jam packed the first and only season with tons of story. The same is true of Xenogears, which was also likely influenced by Evangelion.

Man, Xenogears was pretty unbelievable. It’s hard to describe everything that occurs, but it dives into the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and other psychologists, somehow weaving itself around the concept of religion. All of this on top of hefty sci fi themes and influences. Originally the developer wanted five games but only got the green light for one, so he went all out.

Anyway, I feel like the Warhammer 40k series definitely touches on similar themes from time to time. It hints it, particularly during the Horus Heresy series. Almost anything fully psychological has the capacity to become a very long story.

On the flip side, it’s too easy to try and stick too much story in a format you simply do not have time for. Spider-Man 3, like I mentioned before, had a similar problem. There was material for two exceptional films shoved into one flick, and as a result the overall idea suffered. It was too much. Too many villains to develop, too little time to find out “Why do you want Peter Parker dead?” And as a result, a lot of Spidey fans missed out on the chance to see Venom portrayed amazingly, the Sandman given his due and the Green Goblin story arc satisfactorily concluded.

But I’m going to gamble it a bit. I’d rather write a story that keeps a reader on the edge of their seat than a piece that is slow from beginning to end. I think it’s easier to cut away from too much than to try and add more to so little. Hence, when I write stories, I’m going to bet like a Texan. Big stakes, game changing stakes. There’s nothing to lose considering that the worst they can do is tell me no. So why not make it huge?

I say, go for broke.

In the Beginning…

Chain swords cure everything.

Chain swords cure everything.

Started a new blog. I considered using Rots Your Brain for my writings as well, but I defined the scope of that as being for movies and television. To change its focus would be undesirable given its focus for mainstream appeal. Warhammer 40k isn’t mainstream, at least not yet… the attention that Space Marine is getting could really begin to change all that. Still, I hope the attention doesn’t go to the creator’s heads. It’s the hardcore fan base who will always be loyal, long after the more fickle fans have gotten over whatever caused the surge in popularity in the first place.

Anyway, I started this blog to keep my writing flowing. Many of the other Boltholers do the same, Pyro, Narry, Shadowhawk. But I need a spot where I can vent to myself the musings of the day, random thoughts and reactions to developing events within and about the 40k universe.

Recently, the submissions window closed after I had pitched three short stories and a novel submission. Of them, I’d say two of the short stories are decent. The last short story was surprisingly intensive, and I honestly have doubts that I could fit the full context of the story in less than 8,000 words. But then again, I think about what The Dark Knight was like or Memento, and recognize that there is a lot of story going on there as well (I am also biased as a huge Christopher Nolan fan). Then again, so did Spider Man 3. Still, I would venture to say that it is better to have too much story than too little, because no one would want to read a snooze fest.

Almost immediately after the contest ended, I went on a reading binge. I read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and posted a comparison of it against Gav Thorpe’s The Last Chancers. I completed reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe (not to be confused with William).  I slayed Zombieslayer by Nathan Long and am working my way through Nemesis by James Swallow. I’m trying to mix up my fiction with non-fiction, and also mix some more classic reading on top of that. Part of me is trying to avoid becoming an easily satisfied reader, when simply finishing a book automatically makes it worth reading in my opinion. That’s not always the case. Not every book is amazing, and adding another notch to my book shelf is nothing to be proud of.

My hero.

My hero. ❤

But reading the classics like Robinson Crusoe and A Clockwork Orange has the benefit of allowing me to identify and craft stronger themes into my work. It’s… easy to get lost and simply write what some call “warnography”, when the writing is produced simply to satisfy a person’s craving for action. An excellent story should do that and much more. Still, I suppose as long as the reader is entertained, the job is done.

Who inspires me? In the Black Library crew, my favorite authors are Nathan Long, Gav Thorpe and C.L. Werner. What’s amusing is that these three have veered more towards the Warhammer Fantasy than the 40k universe, but Nathan Long’s plot crafting skills are second to none. CL Werner’s enthusiasm for Robert Howard draws me to him every time. And Gav Thorpe’s story telling… The Last Chancers remains my favorite work in the Black Library despite how old it is. Outside of the Black Library, Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky influence what I want to see. George Orwell, William H. Keith Jr and Robert Howard the other works.

I like to think that reading non-fiction can improve your fiction. When you understand the functions of political-economic structures, I feel you can construct more elaborate worlds within the 40k universe. Dan Abnett does so beautifully when he devises the structure of a hive-city’s political scene. It’s a talent that makes the world more complete, more realistic than the predictable black and white, evil vs good concepts that have little more to offer than the physical struggle against the other half.

Besides, it’s not like there’s any side I would call “good” in the 40k universe. To quote Darth Helmet, “So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good… is dumb. “