The following is the opening of my protagonist’s first entry in his diary.
Looking back at my life, it is obvious that destiny chose me, this only child of Cuban refugees, to be its guardian of justice. For every twist and turn in my life and my father’s life before me, prepared me for the role I was born to play. Chosen to be a tool of destiny, fate sculpted me through misfortune and injustice, to be its great equalizer; its merciless hammer of justice.
As hard as my father tried to guide me, he created the thing he detested most, a puppet on a string. Who could have guessed the United States government would pull the cords? If there truly is a day of judgment, I hope, my father and the good Lord analyze the rationale behind my actions. Destiny led me down this God-forsaken path. Fate made me what I am.
If they understand that, then and only then, will I be forgiven for all my sins.
A tropical paradise plagued by power outages.
A serial killer strikes when the lights go out.
An American cop too proud to admit he is afraid of the dark.
Raised in an orphanage, Mike Archer often found himself locked in a dark closet. Thirty years later he chased a drug lord into a dark alley and barely survived a bloody ambush. One year and four gunshot wounds later, he is hired by a friend to stop “El Diablo,” (the Devil) a serial killer responsible for the deaths of nine teens. Can Archer venture into the darkness?
To stop the devil, Michael Archer must overcome the demons within himself.
On the two year anniversary of Lisa’s disappearance, Detective Jake Cross vows to quit the force to find his missing wife. Hours later, a devastating alien invasion reduces Earth to ashes. Jake awakens in a strange hospital where a secret message on a paper cup advises him, “They are watching.” Thus begins his journey through an alien controlled Earth.
Seven billion dead, yet his heart only mourns for one. Jake joins forces with the last human colony, a somber community reeking of death. Battle weary survivors wander the underground city, their eyes devoid of hope. The humans have food, medicine, and ammunition to survive another week. Anointed the Great Liberator, our last hope, Jake is advised, “Our destiny is decided by the sacrifices that we make and the ones that we don’t.” The reluctant detective rejects his fate until he learns of his wife’s capture and impending execution.
In a deadly race against time, he leads the survivors to the alien metropolis to fight mutating aliens with futuristic weapons, unmanned flying motorcycles, hormone injected canines, and an evil as infinite as time. Mabus, the ruthless alien leader will not rest until every human has been exterminated. Jake must kill this immortal enemy to stave off his wife’s death sentence, but how can he be expected to defeat a God when thousands have already failed?
With time running out, Jake confronts the ultimate sacrifice, rescue his wife or prevent our extinction.
Yeah, that is my super power. My better half has the uncanny super power of scent (thus Lonely Author bathes regularly. Rubber ducky doesn’t mind).
Today, posting wasn’t in my plans. However, I just read the works of a writer who deeply inspires me. Need to work off some steam, so let’s go.
I am tired of going to the movies and half the choices are comic book heroes. I have always been a big fan of Batman and Ironman, but things in Hollywood are out of control. What can I say, Hollywood has never been known for great originality. Ninety five percent of the great movies were taken from novels. And many of those they screwed up.
Big James Bond fan, too. Always thought Sean Connery was the best, but that was until Daniel Craig came along. His interpretation of a less than perfect Bond, with so many flaws fascinates me.
The best books and movies are usually about flawed characters who have to overcome their fears in order to defeat their adversaries.
Please, someone, anyone, keep me company. Lonely Author needs conversation.
Do you have a super power?
If you could pick one, what super power would it be?
Every hero needs a villain.
Remember the cardboard cutout dastardly villain who squeezed his handle bar mustache between his fingers while tying the damsel in distress to the railroad tracks. Those days are over.
If you are a writer and you have a great hero, there is one thing that you need; an even GREATER villain.
Today’s readers and audiences don’t expect a bad guy who is all brawn and no brains. They want a villain who challenges our hero and defeats him time and time again. This allows you to build tension. Readers want a cunning evil doer who is always two steps ahead of our protagonist.
Think of The Joker (the Heath Ledger version of course) in The Dark Knight, constantly outwitting everyone including Batman. Hannibal Lecter “quid pro quo” demands of Clarice Starling; before he led her to a serial killer (Buffalo Bill) she desperately needed to stop, all the while planning his bold escape from prison. Each bad guy absolutely brilliant yet controlled by their psychopathic desires.
To strengthen your story, give your villain a justified reason to be evil. In my yet to be published sci-fi novel/screenplay, Paradox, Mabus (villain) witnessed the slaughter of his family, now he will over protect his kingdom (his new family). Give the antagonist motivations and goals that conflict with your hero’s needs. Let them clash. The protagonist/antagonist opposing needs will provide conflict throughout your story building to a page turning finale.
This chimp loves writing antagonist and their evil deeds (and an occasional naughty).
Do you enjoy writing wicked?
Please note: My poetic friends, you are not off the hook. Do you enjoy writing wicked? (I mean wicked in all its evil and naughty connotations.)
Seven billion people dead; yet his selfish heart only mourned for one.
The distraught figure dragged his body to the ledge of the mountaintop, as if he alone towed the burdens of a dying planet. He looked down on the futuristic metropolis constructed over the ashes of mankind. The alien city with its pale glass structures resembled a crystal cemetery of broken dreams.
Clutching the last remaining evidence that humans once inhabited the Earth, he groaned.
Through misty eyes, Jake Cross admired a photograph of his wife Lisa. His heart pounded against his ribs like a relentless bill collector at the door. Intolerable emptiness grew inside him like a cancerous black hole, eating away at his brittle psyche, devouring his aching soul.
He pressed the photo against his heaving chest as if her image could wipe away his pain.
Who better to console him? Lisa always neutralized his sorrows with a smile or warm embrace. Wiping the moisture from his eyes, a warm breeze caressed his skin reminding him of her gentle touch. He trembled like a virgin relishing her first kiss. Would he eventually forget the sound of her soft voice?
Jake couldn’t live like this. Earth without Lisa would be as cold and desolate as Pluto. He vowed to search for her. He needed to know if she survived. A horrifying thought crept into his mind like a swarm of stampeding centipedes. What if she suffered the same fate as the seven billion others?
He rubbed the photo against his chest with violent motions like an irritated student hoping to erase an error from a page. He preferred to cling to diminishing hope because the alternative…..
Jake shut his moist brown eyes.
It would be easier to stop breathing than to live another day without her.
- – Jake Cross is the main character of my manuscript/screenplay Paradox.
Yes, I do.
Remember the last time someone acted a bit snarky with you at the supermarket or on line at the local bank. Have you replayed a moment like that in your mind wishing you had said something clever? Well, one of my secondary characters in my manuscript Paradox, his name is Razor, always has a wry remark ready. Yes, and I grit my teeth and shake my fist every time he says the clever line that’s never discharged from my mouth.
Do I Live vicariously through my characters?
YES, yes, yes. I admit it. With no shame or guilt. My characters accomplish all the things that I never could. They lead exciting lives traveling the world, sipping on the finest champagne, making love to the most beautiful women, and most importantly; overcoming every obstacle. And trust me, I make it hard for them!
Andrew Duran the mysterious fugitive with the secretive past; skilled in combat and in bed. Veyda the unselfish warrior determined to save mankind, ready to sacrifice her own happiness to save the world. These guys are filled with such passion. Theirs lives are extraordinary.
So, I admit my characters bring excitement to my life. And why not? They are the most interesting people I know.
Do you live through vicariously through your characters?
Without a doubt this is the most whined about topic in writing forums. When I receive a rejection letter there are two thoughts that automatically come to my mind. 1) My query didn’t induce enough enthusiasm in the agent for them to request a sample of my work. 2) The first five pages (my brief sample included in the submission) contained faults or weaknesses that lead the agent to conclude the novel is unmarketable (or worse. LOL). There are many reasons why an agent may not want to see your work; not currently looking for that genre, already has too many writers, etc. I prefer to be hard on myself and take the blame.
My attitude: my work or presentation could have been better. We as writers need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to the rejection. Taking on this attitude can only make us better writers and marketeers. Blaming the literary agents may be easier, but that doesn’t force us to view our own work with a critical eye. Were your first five pages as tight as they can be? Is your hook strong enough to attract interest? Are you presenting this manuscript in the right way?
For me, the most difficult and frustrating part of this process is not receiving any feedback. Not knowing what part of your presentation query, sample pages, or synopsis lacked appeal makes it so challenging. The process as it currently stands, leaves you trapped in the twilight zone (or in a lonely literary hell like a car caught in a ditch of mud and unable to escape). It is a shame agents don’t use a response form letter with a list of options they could check off to inform you what they didn’t like. For example; weak query, synopsis vague, writing not up to par, too many typos or errors,or even a simple I don’t like you. (I’ll accept any kind of criticism at this point). As crude as this may seem, it would provide invaluable information.
Any kind of input would be great as long as it isn’t destructive criticism (see photo).
What do you think?
My day started like any other day cursing the literary Gods for not publishing my brilliant novel while standing in the kitchen adding sweetener to my morning coffee. Knocking the jar over, the delicious whiteness spilled onto the counter. Before I could fret over the sudden delay in my morning fix or over the rising cost of sugar, the baby said, “Oh shit.”
The child looked at me and smiled.
The thought “don’t laugh” echoed in my skull like an obnoxious car alarm screeching in the freakin’ middle of the night. Where did she learn such an appropriate phrase? And I say appropriate only because she used it in all its contextual glory with perfect pronunciation and intonation; all this from a two year old who to this day won’t say her own name.
Did she learn this language watching Peppa Pig? Or has SpongeBob gotten his Square Pants in a bunch? Where in the world could she haven’t learned this language?
Taking the low road as any respectful male adult would do, I chose to ignore her choice of words as if this mere act could strike the phrase from her memory. After making a mental note to advise my wife of the baby’s newest vocabulary word, I started cleaning up the mess.
As fate would have it, I stubbed my big toe and a thousand thunder bolts attacked my aching appendage like Walmart shoppers on Black Friday. Before I could bite my lip I uttered, “Oh shit.”
Baby looked at me. She raised her thick brows and smiled.
Top Ten Disadvantages to Marrying A Writer
10- He encourages you to find your voice even when you don’t have laryngitis
9- You will be expected to critique the first draft of the Dear John letter he is writing for you.
8- Writer’s block prevents her from completing the grocery list.
7- During disagreements your spouse will always take the omniscient point of view.
6- He provides vivid descriptions of what he did in the bathroom.
5- The only time he will throw out the garbage if you refer to it as the slush pile.
4- During the middle of an argument your spouse stops to search for a thesaurus in order to avoid word repetition.
3- You go to a sex counselor and realize your spouse’s definition of climax is different from yours.
2- Your spouse will inform you the threatening tone in an IRS letter is an example of foreshadowing.
1- He reads your private diary at his weekly writing workshop.