Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Developing novels: Honor at Stake origins

I've mentioned once or twice that fan fiction is more or less how I started writing. It was of a space opera tv show called Babylon 5, and simply put, it spiraled out of my control into something so totally different, I didn't need to rewrite a whole hell of a lot to make it a different universe.

However, I started doing that in 1998, before I really knew what the hell Fan Fiction was.

Then my sister decided that she was going to do something for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She based a character on me a little. He was named Marco, a bit player.

By that point, it was 3 years later, 2001. I had been writing with every spare moment, I had pumped out thousands of pages of book by then, so I took one look at her fan fiction and muttered "Come on, move over, we can do this better."

Because, really, you don't get to be a writer unless you're wrapped a little too tight ... or just a little too strange.

Before I knew it, I had written three additional stories in that little bit of business, and some of them nearly at hundred pages.

Because, again, writers: we're wired weirdly.

And, because I decided that I shouldn't let anything I've worked on ever go to waste, I later retooled it into a massive 460 page novel.

Of course, I had to retool the vampire legend a little ... okay, I mostly had to retool it so that it was coherent. Let's face it, after Bram Stoker, it gets a little strange. And when you hit the 90s, vampire lore becomes a befuddled mess (Rice, Blade, Hamilton, Whedon). It's sad when Joss Whedon probably gets it better than most. Seriously, the atheist Whedon gets it better than Marvel comics?  Geez.

Part of MY vampire killing kits.
And when I did UN-Dead (because I'm subtle that way), it opened with a government spy from my other books, Merle Kraft....

Merle Kraft is one of those characters who will simply not go away.  He's a deleted character from the Pius Trilogy -- yes, I had even more characters than in the final cut -- who first appeared in a thriller Dances with Werewolves. Merle deals in "strange" cases for the government. He started out as a spy who mysteriously, just sort of opened locks without any tools whatsoever.  Any lock.

Merle Kraft is one of three half-brothers (that they know of)-- Merle, Tal, and Dalf. One's a spy, one is a stage magician, and one seems to deal with a darker power. BUAHAHAHAHAH.

And, of course, these names are short for Merlin, Taliesin, and Gandalf.

In the one-volume edition, I opened with Merle Kraft being dropped head first into a world of vampires. Because, hey, when in doubt, use the Alice in Wonderland effect.

Then Merle started to complete disappear from the story entirely.  Marco and his sidekick, Amanda, had taken over the entire novel.

Gahhh.  Sometimes, these people never want to play well with others.

All right, fine, if they wanted to play that way -- and it wasn't like anyone else wanted to publish the bloody book -- I'd retool the novel.  Let's do it from the ground up, where the two of them met. They had to figure out how to bring each other into their worlds without killing each other.

And keep in mind, this all started in 2001, before there was anything called Twilight.

Frankly, I still think I did it better.


  1. This *is* part one of a series on this, right? Don't leave us hanging...

  2. Love this background to your writing career. Certainly fits your compulsive writing habit! (I didn't realize Merle started as your main character.)


Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.