September 24, 2010
A Two-Four of Horror
The day came again. The brand new Killing Time - Horror E-Rag Issue 2-4 is available now. This is another of those issues that comes with a story bearing a warning--this is the Deserver story "Dead Inside". It's not uncommon, but what is uncommon is that it includes a further disclaimer that the author does not share the views expressed by the characters. The last thing I want to do is be identified with racism, yet as we know it exists and people who commit evil acts will be capable of it. I tried to keep it low key, and not to minimise it, but I tied it to a pretty heinous character while I was at it. The other story "Mind Me"--the cover story as it were--is a what-if horror. What if a classroom of children refused to do what they were told? Of course this has to turn nasty. It is interesting to see which of these two stories people find more disturbing.
The overarching idea for Killing Time in the second season is a tying together of the different articles and stories. It isn't something that was done with a lot of forethought, but rather in seeing what threads of similarity existed, finding the commonality. This issue is about the crossing of lines, which culminates in "Hangman's Noose 4" talking specifically about the lines that can be crossed. Certainly "Horror Movie Franchise Discussion #8" does that in spades covering the first six movies in the Hellraiser franchise. The reviews bear this out to varying degrees as well. Certainly lines were crossed--in more than one way--in the novel "Stir of Echoes". The novel is different than the movie so feel free to get your hands on both. I'll let you discover the other review in the E-Rag yourself and let you go pick up your copy now. Thanks.
Music: All I Want Is Everything by Def Leppard.
September 17, 2010
An Ancillary Experience
Previously I have spoken about deleted scenes and alternate scenes for movies, and working up their literary equivalents to expand and alter the reading experience of a novel. There is another similar topic that I wanted to cover today. It has the same effect as the deleted and alternate scenes but works from the other direction--or at least it can. I'm talking about ancillary materials. Some of them work as teasers and precursors to a movie. They can provide background that deepens the experience--they cause their tension by creating anticipation and hype for the movie ahead of time. One of the prime examples is the plethora of extra material that appeared online and off in advance of the release of The Blair Witch Project. It included interviews and faux documentary pieces. They were not necessary to understanding the movie, but they did fill out the background, the history.
Sometimes the connection between these ancillary materials and the movie are less tenuous. The mini-episodes of Gotham Tonight on The Dark Knight DVD are a good example. They introduced some characters, carefully skimmed subplots, and ran slightly into events in the movie. They were entirely superfluous, but a nice addition. They might have stood up better watching them afterward. As for using these same methods for writing the ideas are the same. Add to the main attraction. Make sure understanding the book does not require these materials--just that they enhance the experience. Do not create spoilers, but create hype for the book. Consider some that will be consumed after the book, maybe even on a continuing basis. They do not need to be in the same format. They could be audio, they could be art, they could be documentary or news clips.
Music: Time, What is Time by Blind Guardian.
September 10, 2010
Planting Seeds and Planning Ahead
When I last spoke of the bobmale Youtube channel I did not mention that some of the videos are linked in at least two ways. The first is that I have a short series of ghost capture videos that I created with 3D software. The second is that each of these has a text intro describing something about where the video was "supposedly" shot and other similar details. This intro also carries a line that states, "Dr. Stephen Earl of the O.S.I.R. has verified its authenticity." I made up the scientist's name. O.S.I.R. stands for Organization of Scientific Investigation and Research--popularised by the TV show Psi Factor, which I can hopefully use without any troubles even if that means redefining the name somewhat--there are similar named real groups, plural, so seems acceptable. I hope to do something with the character of Dr. Earl.
One of the things that was very exciting in the large sprawling body of work that Stephen King built--and is still at--is the way bits of stories connected, merged, flowed apart, and all of that associated goodness. It is still my intention as far as fiction goes to try and build a single mythos where everything true in one story is true in any other containing the same element, whether that is a type of monster, a form of magic, or the cosmology of the setting. These O.S.I.R. videos are a part of that, which I have no planned direction for yet. I'm just putting them out in anticipation of coming out with something bigger and more elaborate. For the time being there is just something nice about a connection for the ghost videos, something tying them together without limiting them. I can make use of this connection in a number of ways on a number of projects, or not, as desired.
Music: There Was a Time by Guns N' Roses.
September 3, 2010
The Conundrum of Prescience and Prediction
I have a cyberpunk horror novel. I wrote it a while ago as of this blog entry and like many cyberpunk stories I tried to use my crystal ball and see the future of technology as I needed it for the story. The progress in science, medicine, and technology moves at a pretty serious pace most of the time when looking at a larger time scale, so it's only natural that even the most prescient thinking and well thought out predictions, even taking the current pace of advancement--never mind it's more exponential than it is an even rise--end up falling short. So the writer or futurist pushes the boundaries or just plain doesn't put that much serious thought into where specific technologies will be at the time their story is set in and ends up way off the mark--unless you have a rocket car already. The question is at what point do I look and consider updating things?
This is an immensely hard question. If a publisher had picked it up already, or even better yet within a short number of months of when I finished it then this would all be moot. Changing little things on the technology and social sides of the setting have implications that reverberate throughout the rest of the book. It could be a major retool. Things could break. Let's imagine for the time being though that nothing needs to be changed now and it was published--even if I had to take the plunge and publish it myself. What happens with the sequel if it takes any amount of time to be published--I haven't even begun actually writing it yet--and it requires the technical aspects to be retooled? Then there is a separation from one book to the next. It would then seem that it is better to leave things be and look at it from the perspective that even modern setting works may exist in alternate timelines, which is obvious from many a movie.
Music: Back To Madness by Stratovarius.
Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada
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