Trying to Catch Up… Again!

251,711 Catch Up Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

I’m way behind in my work today, the viewership is way down–and the WordPress problem that I had last week, with the comments failing to display… it’s baaaaack!

Man, this is getting old. Welcome to the Age of Nothing Works.

(And suddenly Robbie only wants dry cat food… What’s that about?)

Going about my chores last night, a new character for the book I’m writing, Ozias, Prince in Peril, popped into my head, along with what she’d be doing in the story. I’ve learned that it’s usually a good idea to stop what I’m doing and write it down in case I forget it overnight. Enter Aylen, the old nurse of the late King Flosi, who may have a loose screw somewhere but is otherwise sharp as a tack.

Where do these characters live when they’re not breaking into my plots? It’s so cool, the way that happens. It’s like I knew these people, once upon a time, and now they’re coming back. Do you think that’s weird? Welcome to the world of fantasy-writing.

What’ll We Do This Afternoon?

Your Daily Dracula – Count Dracula (1977) | The Kim Newman Web Site

Louis Jourdan as Dracula

Man, I don’t want to write up any more nooze today; and I don’t think I want to read any more, either.

We’ve decided to watch Louis Jourdan in Count Dracula this afternoon. This film came out in 1977 on a Tuesday night: Patty home alone (except for lizards), and me on a 20-hour shift in The Bayshore Independent’s production room. So she watched the first installment of this movie and scared herself silly.

The thing about Dracula is that, as terrible and deadly as he is, the good guys still ultimately manage to do away with him. That’s how we know it’s a movie. The World Economic Forum is a much worse threat than Dracula could ever be, and who knows how to get rid of them? How many Dr. Van Helsings would we need to get the WEF off our backs? To say nothing of assorted Democrats.

When all is said and done, the story of Dracula is escape fiction. And that’s why we enjoy it.

 

Another $70 Million Down the Drain

Warner Bros. DC 'Batgirl' Movie Officially Canceled | The Mary Sue

New definition of “countless”: the number of movies made from comic books

Warner Bros. has shelved what they’re calling an “unspeakable” Batgirl movie, won’t even release it as streaming video, let alone show it in theaters–in short, nobody will see it (https://nypost.com/2022/08/02/batgirl-movie-gets-shelved-by-warner-bros-source/).

They’re admitting to a $70 million cost, but some sources say it was closer to $100 million. And that’s before having to pay for publicity, distribution, etc., etc.

It was a cooperative venture between Warner Bros. and DC Comics–yeah, they’re still making $100 million comic book movies, they think we all stop developing at 12 years old. But DC’s “Extended Universe” project (whatever that is–why would I know?) is going belly-up and it looks like Warner Bros. has decided to cut its losses while the cutting is good.

Gee… How bad does a movie have to be for its own company to call it “unspeakable”? We could have something truly unique here. I almost want to see it! I mean, can anything really be that awful?

Probably a question that we shouldn’t ask.

A Tribute to My Wife

Bell Mountain Series: Lee Duigon: 9781891375668: Amazon.com: Books

My allergies are at me again today–I don’t know how to write a fantasy novel while my nose is making like Niagara Falls–so I’ve been reading Hell’s Cartographers, autobiographical sketches by half a dozen prominent science fiction writers.

Very nearly all writers go through a stage of cranking out novel after novel, story after story, without ever selling anything they write. One winds up asking oneself, “Why in the world am I doing this? Beating a dead horse! I’ll never get published, never get anywhere. Might as well quit!”

I mentioned this to Patty today, and her reply scored a point:

“I wouldn’t let you quit!”

She feeds me. She manages our household. She reads my work. We talk about it.

And she’s right, you know–she never let me quit. So I kept writing, and writing, and writing, slowly getting better at it as I went along. And out of nowhere–or rather, out of God’s all-knowing providence–along came the Chalcedon Foundation and, after taking me on as an assistant editor and publishing dozens of my articles… offered me a chance to write a novel. Which was Bell Mountain. Thirteen books ago, with two more in the hopper.

And a fantasy novel, no less! My first love. And all those writers, an army of them, right behind me, pushing me forward by example–Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Walter Scott, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, C.S. Lewis: I couldn’t possibly name them all. If I hadn’t read them, if I hadn’t learned from them, I could not have become a writer myself.

Nor could I ever come anywhere near achieving it without my wife’s support.

Thank you, Patty. Thank you, all you other writers who delighted me and mentored me.

And thank you, God the Father.

Where Do My Characters Come From?

Jacobean Drama & Theatre: An Overview Of Drama Of The Era

An Elizabethan stage play

If you write novels, people are bound to ask, “Where do your characters come from?”

Well, I write fantasy, so “write what you know” is out. Model characters after real people. But I’ve never met any kings, outlaws, hermits, or barbarian chieftains, so that’s out, too.

I don’t know where my characters come from!

It’s the truth. It’s as if the book were a stage set up for a play, with the characters all waiting in the wings for their cues to come onstage. They already know their lines! They know what they’re supposed to do. Pop goes the cue, and “Enter Lady Gwenlann,” who appears to be a scatterbrained wardrobe mistress but in reality is in charge of all the king’s spies. Cue again, and “Enter Jocky,” the king’s fool.

Really, it’s just as if the characters were already signed up and waiting to play their parts… and I didn’t have much to do with it. I need ’em, and there they are.

This is one of those things that makes writing fun. You don’t have to do it this way, but I’ve come to enjoy it.

Back to Jurassic Park!

So there’s a new Jurassic Park movie coming out, I’ve seen the trailer–and I’m hooked! But really the hook was set in 1993 (good grief, 30 years ago!) with the first Jurassic Park–which we’re going to watch again this afternoon.
I have just blown 20 minutes trying to turn my computer back on–which is one of the lessons Michael Crichton tried to teach when he wrote Jurassic Park. All those high-tech safety and security systems aren’t worth a damn when they rely on human beings never to forget anything, never to click the wrong key, never to try something cute. God made us fallible. Did He ever make us fallible! You’d think that would breed humility. But then Jurassic Park is about hubris, not humility. Homer would’ve understood it instantly.

How wonderful would it be to see a dinosaur? I’ve been fascinated by dinosaurs since I first learned how to read. Of all God’s creations, these speak most powerfully to me. Imagine the size and strength! Try–in vain, probably–to imagine what it must have been like to be a dinosaur.

I know, I know. I’m old enough now to forget dinosaurs and just watch movies about failing relationships and sinks full of dirty dishes.

Not a chance, kimosabe! Not a chance.

Do You Cry While You Write?

Ailish Sinclair: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle - Amazon.com

Ailish Sinclair

Scottish blogger and writer Ailish Sinclair asks a question which I can answer, sort of: “Crying While Writing: anyone else do this?”

Crying While Writing: anyone else do this?

The other day, as I read to my wife a chapter of my new book in progress, Ozias, Prince in Peril, I found my voice beginning to break as I came to the death of a major character to whom I’d already grown attached. I didn’t actually cry, but I came close: I already loved this character and writing him out of the saga was… well, hard.

Ailish makes a good point. If the writer can’t get emotionally involved with the story he or she is telling, why should the reader? You have to believe in your story. It has to seem real to you, at least while you’re writing it.

I won’t forget how upset Patty and my editor, Susan, got a few books ago when they thought I’d killed off the old Abnak warrior, Chief Uduqu. “I was ready to come up there and punch you in the nose!” Susan said. And Sir Walter Scott had to rewrite part of Ivanhoe because his printer was so upset over the death of Athelstane. I’m glad I didn’t have to rewrite The Glass Bridge.

 

‘UN: Only 12 Years Till Doomsday!’ (2018)

Climate Change: Best Photos of 2021

“Oh, if only we’d let them have that carbon tax!”

Well, that was four years ago, so now I guess we’ve only got eight years before Climbit Change–and lack of government control over our disorderly peasant lives–wipes us all out.

UN: Only 12 Years Till Doomsday!

Of course, they don’t mind wiping out the human race by turning all the boys into fake sterile girls and all the girls into fake sterile boys, promoting homosexuality, and aborting every baby they can get their hands on. That’s Far Left Crazy globalism for you.

How about it? Do we give them all our money, and vast new powers over us, in hopes that they can save us?

Or should we treat them as we treat extortionists and racketeers?

‘I Am Entitled…’ (2015)

I remember one of my high school classmates complaining about my debating tactics: “Duigon ridiculized it!” But really there’s very little any satirist can do to make today’s politics more ridiculous than they are by nature. For instance:

I am Entitled…

If I am entitled to be called a woman when I’m not, then surely I’m also entitled to be called “Wilt Chamberlain” if that’s my particular delusion. Really, what’s the difference? How am I ridiculizing something that’s already ridiculous?

As a foundation of civilization, the preposterous looks pretty weak to me.

Writing Tips: ‘See and Hear’ Your Characters

The Glass Bridge (Bell Mountain, #7) by Lee Duigon

Does a writer “see” what he’s writing about? Do you “hear” your characters when they speak?

I think you have to. Sometimes the only way I can make a character come alive for me is to find an actor to play him in an imaginary movie that would make me rich if it were real. I could not get one of my Bell Mountain villains, Lord Chutt, until I imagined him being played by British actor John Nettles (Midsomer Murders). I don’t know why, but it seems I have to do this with all my villains: Claude Raines as Lord Reesh, Vincent Price as Goryk Gillow. Once I have them cast with actors, then I can see and hear them in my mind.

Sometimes you don’t find the right actor until after you’ve tried several. This reminds me of something Charles Laughton once said: he couldn’t play a part convincingly until he “found the man” somewhere in real life. Who knew novel-writing and play-acting had this in common?

After a little while, the character is established and can go on to speak and act as if he were a real person with his own agenda. My characters do that all the time. They enter the story to do a minor job within the plot and next thing I know, they’re regulars with a lot of jobs to do. It’s part of the fun you have in writing fiction.

If you really need a character to help carry the plot forward, try finding a movie actor to play him as you imagine his scenes in your story. Keep trying until you find just the right actor. And then the character and the plot will do the rest.