Finishing Geneslave

Been awhile.

I’ve decided to postpone releasing Backward Epiphany and finish up proofreading Geneslave. And that’s exactly what I did. Geneslave is ready to go, and it will be the first book I publish. I can admit it. Backward Epiphany is not as strong as Geneslave, and I want to start out with a good head of steam, right?

Anyway. I wanted to talk about Geneslave and how I feel about it. It was a blast to write it, and it was a blast to re-read it to proofread. I remember the fight scenes the most. And please don’t think that I’m gloating, or flexing my writing muscles. This is literally an author that is happy with what he created.

My heart would pound, I would lean in, start breaking a sweat. I knew what was gonna happen. I wrote the frickin’ book, but I still found myself loving the story, and loving the characters. Refining it with the proofreading, it was a labor of love. It truly was. I knew that whatever I did to make this book better for the reader would make me a better author. I consider entertainment a very serious matter. If I write something, and it fails to entertain the reader, or it insults their intelligence, I have failed. Failed miserably.

I will not fail. I’ve come to far to fail, so when I finish proofreading a book, it’s not because I “want to get it over with”. I want it the best it can fucking be to make sure I can entertain as many people as possible. Money is gravy. I have a job already, this isn’t supporting me. Financially.

I can’t wait to get this thing on the market for Kindle, and when I do, I will list my steps in detail. I may have to omit personal information. I don’t know yet, but I plan on being as open as possible. Publishing my own book has never been closer in my entire life, and I’m anxious again. Jittery. I can’t wait.

Sometimes, though, I do have a fear of completion. Self-sabotage, kinda. It’s very strange. I feel sometimes like I want to keep the book hidden not for fear of ridicule. Just…that’s how I feel. It’s stupid, and if writing this blog and starting this literary revolution has taught me anything, I will never let my fears and anxiety stop me from doing what I love doing. And it should be the same for you.

Lemmie know. Ever have finisher’s anxiety? How did you feel about publishing a piece? Finish a piece? Hell, writing a piece? I want you input.

Concept Art and Technique Improvement

     It’s been awhile since my last post, and for good reason. I’ve been proofreading Geneslave like a fiend, and I am almost ready to get this fucker published and turned loose on the public. With that said, I wanted to take a moment and talk about technique and concept art. Sounds fuckin’ boring as shitdicks, but I have a way of making the mundane terrific, so keep reading.

     Technique is something developed, not learned. Each and every one of us has their own technique as to how they write. You may use a lot of commas (something I do, it’s a bad habit), some of you may use profanity, vulgarity, metaphors. Over time, you develop a tone and a voice for what you do, and your whole creative process. I plan, I draw, I execute. That’s how I work. You gotta be ready to look at your work and say “this blows” and get ready to change it. One time, I was writing my first book, Mindraper. Got fifty pages into the fuckin’ thing and decided it was shit. Started the whole novel over again. Didn’t like my form. Didn’t like my technique. I did what I had to do to make a better piece of reading. Later, I learned that drawing characters, terrain, tech, weapons, etc. (like I mentioned in an earlier post) made me a more coherent writer. Here’s some more concept art from Geneslave, fresh from the notebook:

Some Weapons that I Played With

       Funny story, I wound up combining both of the weapons to create a super-powerful cannon that Sayner used in the closing chapters of the book. Thing was COOL. I’ll touch on that shit later. Drawing these basic concepts and just mulling them over on paper and in my mind first helped me generate an integral plot point that completed the story and added a violent, overpowered war scene that serves as just one point in a HUGE climax towards the end of the novel. I mean, I don’t let you go in this book. You’ll be exhausted by the time you’re done, and you’ll want a cigarette. Fuck, you may even send me flowers. Anyway, here’s some more shit from out my mind:

Fleshing Out the Meat for Sayner to Carve

          It’s also important to know what supports your characters. Ben Sayner, the main character in Geneslave, is a fuckin’ killer. It’s what defines him, but not what dictates his actions. Enemies are just…obstcales for him, not living people. He is merciless, but not without mercy. He is the polar opposite of Tolin, like I have stated before, but they are two sides of the same coin. Enemy development, the picture above this paragraph, is important for me. I need to have an idea of what my main characters will be tearing through, and how they kill. Eventually, as I write, the enemies become faceless meat to me too. Once that happens, I can really observe what my characters do to those they deem weaker than themselves. The results are often violent. Speaking of violence, it took me a long time to get the shape down for Sayner’s melee weapons. He needed a knife and a machete to hack through the jungle. And don’t you think for a second he doesn’t slice and dice with em’ too. Here’s some more concept art:

     Yeah, I have another page. Here’s part two.

     In the end, I didn’t want something flashy. It didn’t suit Sayner’s personality. I went with two simple, functional models that work well, and work easily for him. His character is a unique one: Sayner has empathy, pity, sensitivity, kindness. But, he’s also violent, rebellious, vengeful, and sadistic. His weapons reflect that. They are short and to the point without superfluous horseshit. The more exotic a weapon looks, the more fuckin’ useless it is, I swear. I try to have weapons that are extensions of my characters, not just a tool that they utilize. Unless that’s the effect I want, which leads me to my final paragraph.

     Technique and development are things that you will learn and grow with as you write, or draw. Paint, it doesn’t matter, they’re all tied in together. All I’m sayin’ is that this is what works for me. What works for you? If you don’t know, it’s just because you haven’t found a method that works. It’s out there. Keep writing, keep creating, keep swearing, fucking, fighting, crying, living. That’s how I found it. Hopefully that works for you too.

Development of an Idea and Concept Art

     Geneslave, the next book I will publish, was a long time in the making, and required a lot of research. Mostly, I wing the fuckin’ book, making up shit as I go along, but this book is special.

     I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

     Before I do ANYTHING, I develop characters and any kind of tech, gadgetry, or terrain that the characters might come across. I LOVE to draw. Being good at it isn’t the point (I’m not) but the development is. Drawing characters and attaching stats, and trying to understand this fictional world I’ve created helps me develop and write a full length novel.

     Right out of a role play game, I like to create character sheets for the different beings I create. Here is a picture of John Tolin, the villan of Geneslave taken right the fuck out of my notes:

Basic Stats, Weapons, Etc.

     See how basic it looks? How rough? Whenever I have an idea, it helps me immensely to put it on paper as a picture. Things become clearer, more easy to write about. I assign a face and a personality with the character, and then the book writes its fuckin’ self, I swear to Christ. 

     Tolin was fun to write as. You hate and admire him at the same time. Killing isn’t even like breathing to Tolin, it’s…it’s more than essential. It’s a part of him. You watch him commit horrific atrocities just to protect his own interests. He is a unique character, and is a disturbing mix of unerring logic and calculation splattered with the brutal violence of a rabid animal. The next picture is some concept art of Ben Sayner, the protagonist that is hunting Tolin:

A Hero is Born

     With Sayner, I wanted to create a person with a….oh fuck it. Sayner is my favorite character ever. I love this motherfucker, and I wish he was my friend. He is everything I want to be: powerful, determined, caring, and really sarcastic. There is a lot of me in Sayner, and if you know me personally, you will see it immediately. He also commits atrocities, and makes mistakes that he regrets in the heat of the moment. I wanted to add a more vicious side to show the reader that good people can be evil if the circumstances are just right. 

     Here is some concept art for the prologue of the book, where Tolin is first introduced  (he tears a regiment of freedom fighters in the Amazon rainforest apart with his bare hands). I wanted to have a better idea of what the area looked like so I could accurately write about him slinking around in the shadows, breaking men into bloody shards.

Also Included: Sayner's Armor and Superhuman Strength

      Now that you have a better idea about my two favorite frenemies, I want to tell you more about creating them. Sayner and Tolin represent the basic need for good to destroy evil, and vice versa. However, their struggle is anything but typical. Tolin has a motive that no person in their right mind could ever conceive, and his passion to achieve this end carves a bloody path through human dignity and respect for life. Sayner, on the other hand, kills just as horribly as Tolin, but his slaughter is more directed. They are two sides of the same coin. They will always be different, but will always be the same. God they were fun to create and to write. I miss them, I really do.

     Now, to completely shift gears.

     In the next couple of posts, I want to talk more about the conception of Geneslave itself, before I go on to describe the ideas I had for developing the technology and plotlines within (lots more concept art to come). But before I even describe the book I wrote, I had to introduce you to my boys. Get to know them. They are more than characters to me, and as I proofread Geneslave to get it ready for the market, I feel them inside my head. I miss writing them.

Proofreading Blows. But…

     Proofreading is not something I enjoy. Well, when reading my own work. You see, it’s the part of writing that is more technical, more calculated. It’s difficult. However, proofreading provides something for me that I didn’t expect the first time I proofread my first novel- I fell in love with the story all over again. I can go back, change what I wrote, re-examine what I was trying to do, and understand all my characters one more time. I often find myself getting so involved in the story of it all that I forget to proofread and have to go and backtrack.

     Now, I’m not saying this with ego. I just…get involved. Most of the time, I get too involved. Often, I’ll be thrown into depression, or apathy, or whatever my particular protagonist is feeling at the moment. When I was proofreading Backwards Epiphany (it should be ready for Kindle within a month) the main character is very somber, very sad. Selfish, brutal. I found myself more masochistic, often degrading myself verbally, or mentally. At times, I would push myself to the limits of pain or exertion, often fasting, or going without water. Just to understand my character better. Or maybe my character was raping me with his personality.

     Geneslave, my magnum opus, is the current book I am proofreading (don’t worry, I will be talking about both novels and how fucking awesome they are and why you should read them later) and I must tell you, I’m getting caught up in the story again. The violence, the struggle, the duality, the betrayal, the sheer driving force of the plot and its characters. It makes proofreading a Hell of a lot more bearable when you’re enjoying the story.

     What do you do? Novelists out there? Short story writers? Poets? How involved do you get in your work? Sometimes I feel like I’m just bleeding, or cumming, or screaming onto the page when I write. My mind twists up, and the story spills forth like filthy water from a used up sponge. Does your story seduce you all over again? Does it terrify you? Excite you? Can you feel the pulse of your story? I can, I can feel it.

     Sometimes I wonder if I’m writing stories for pleasure, or because my mind can’t hold these stories. I also wonder if these stories are just  urges and fantasies that go unfulfilled. Is writing therapy? Is it art? Is it both? Who knows. And that’s what’s so fuckin’ exciting.