The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

3 Days Of Writing – Day The Third

Posted by BigWords on September 13, 2010

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

I tend not to write much about children as I don’t have any of my own. Even though I spend time with my niece, there is so much that I still have yet to understand about the motivations, needs and thoughts children have, that any representation of small people would undoubtedly get me laughed at if I were to write them. From what I’ve seen, food seems to be a primary motivating factor in all decisions they make, and that’s too one-dimensional to do much with.

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

Hmm. This is something I haven’t thought about much, as I tend to write down everything (fragmented as any scene may or may not be), so “untold” stories do exist for nearly everything. There are lots of side-stories, analecta and plentiful WTFery running the gamut from hardcore film noir beatings to pages and pages and pages of dialogue. Yes, there is a lot of dialogue, and most of it is very annoying. I would direct you to one of the embarrassing passages from the spy thing I posted over at Absolute Write (deep in the midst of unsuccessful rewrites) but it’s so bad that your eyes may bleed from your sockets if you ever laid eyes on it.

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

I’m quick. Somehow – between holding down a full time job, playing games, smoking and Tweeting – I’m still able to produce staggering amounts of verbiage. Mostly it remains hidden from view (and the worst material is listed in a folder which will be burnt upon my death to provoke wanky literary discussions for generations). The stuff which makes it to public view appears rather briefly after I’ve decided that it is fit for human consumption, with last year’s NaNo being an excellent case in point.

Sure, some of it was so bad I never considered posting it, but the words which did appear were written immediately before I posted the work. Little editing (which shows), lots of caffeine and a lot of guts. For the record, when I say “immediately,” I mean within a couple of hours.

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Most characters end up dead. I have a habit of killing off characters left, right and center, so squeamishness would be silly. There is one excellently insane short about a man being vivisected over the course of five or so thousand words, which led to accusations of gorno, though the fact that I had thought out a plot to explain the situation was conveniently overlooked. I can’t win.

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

Bellamy has a gimp. Does that count?

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

Sensor. Oh yeah. He is everything I’ve ever been told not to do with a comic-book character distilled into one character. The back-story runs hundreds of years, he has a complex power set which isn’t easily explained, there are strong reasons to feel that most of his history is either fabricated or discontinuity, but he is so very, very cool. The simple version is that he is a man who committed suicide, and then reincarnated (twice) only to kill himself again. Twice. Pissed off with him, the gods of order assign him a non-living status, though refuse to let him ascend to a higher plane. Stuck on Earth, he slowly discovers he is able to use his status to do things best not explored in detail

Which is why I explored them in detail.

And yes, before you ask, that is a halo around his head. Don’t think about the implications of that too much, or you will come to conclusions that I can’t expand on. Make up your own explanation for that anomaly if you want.

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

For most of my characters I use tricks to jostle the words onto the page, and part of that is the method (which I stole from a book on scriptwriting) to imagine characters as film stars. The inflection, tone, speech idiosyncrasies and other factors help me push the important aspects to the fore. Naturally, this also affects how I envision the characters themselves. Most (if not all) of my characters are older than I am, usually having visual cues as to their personality. It isn’t noted in the story, but Bellamy’s black jacket has one tartan sleeve, and red velvet lining. He’s also bald, though that is more a reference to the Spider Jerusalem.

For SF, I normally push overweight characters to the center of the action, as it seems to me that developments in technology will reduce the need for people to be so active. Scarred characters are also a recurring theme. I don’t like pretty characters, though that answer runs into the next question…

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

Maureen “Motown” from the spy story is a woman in her late 40s, and is covered in scar tissue from burns. She plays the ‘Mother’ character, so isn’t as involved in the stories as some of the more active agency members. It makes sense in the context of a reworking of the themes prevalent in 60s spy drama.

The Reverend is covered in scars, and his hands are almost always bloodied. A rock star who is sometimes given cameos in my work is covered in a patchwork of scars, and his background states that he is older than he looks – a short story I wrote about him indicated he might even have been active in the first world war, but that story is so very tied into my personal continuity of interrelated works that it may never make sense as a stand-alone. Hell, I haven’t even gotten around to explaining the steampunk robot who he is meant to be friends with…

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I steal a lot of ideas from reality. My life has been cannibalized to the extent that a cursory examination of my stories will reveal more about me than is, perhaps, really healthy. Anyone has the opportunity to get lampooned as well, so there are dangers in befriending me. Just saying… I spend most of my days catching time to write, so there is never any real ‘down-time’ to speak of, ‘cept for when I’m elbow-deep in rewrites that seem to sap any brain activity. There should be breaks from writing (it’s not healthy to be this obsessed with words), but I figure that I should do whatever I can while the ideas are rattling around in my head.

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

See here to find out if you have been nominated.

2 Responses to “3 Days Of Writing – Day The Third”

  1. I love reading other writers’ processes.

    Maureen Motown sounds quite intriguing, btw.

  2. bigwords88 said

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, even she is probably the most ‘off-screen’ character in the spy story, she plays several roles as the story progresses which reveals more about her.

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