A Life Of Fiction CXXXI

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


I must be crazy, part two: In A Life Of Fiction CXXII I mentioned the fact that I had begun work on a long series of novels involving the pulp era characters Alfred Parkinson and Franklin Duffield. Well, this post is an update to that other post, as I have actually finished the novel Mister Pierre, after having it lurking around, unfinished, on my computer for a couple of years. Now I only have to write The Cult Of The Black Bane; Assassins; Doctor Sunlight; Wayland Smith; Jack-In-The-Green; The Mystery Of Ponape; Lost Empire Of The Garamantes; Heart Of Ice; Nephilim; Swastika; and Australia, and I will be done.

I must admit that, at times, finishing Mister Pierre was a bit of a struggle. It is not the longest novel which I have written, coming in at a little over 55,000 thousand words. But it was always envisaged as a pulp-style novel, and none of those novels were very long. I think that it is one of the reasons why I like them: you can pick up a Doc Savage novel and get through it in a couple of days. It does not require the long term commitment of something like War and Peace. My mind tends to wander if I end up reading the same book day after day after day.

Not that Mister Pierre is a Doc Savage novel, even though it is set in that era. I don’t try to imitate other writers. Pastiches rarely work. Authors have to find their own voices. Mister Pierre focuses on an assassin, and the fumbling attempts of our heroes to try and find out who he is. I like flawed heroes. They are far more interesting than ones who are perfect. The character of Batman is far more interesting, to me, than the big boy scout called Superman.

I like flawed heroes, and I also like villains who have character. A lot of my villains are not entirely evil; or, at the very least, there is some reason for the way that they are. Villains should have more than one dimension. They should not just be evil because that is what is required for the novel: they should go down the path of being a bad guy because something has happened to them in the past. Mister Pierre, of all my villains, probably has the least reasons for turning out the way that he did. He is without those sorts of emotions which most people have. He has no empathy for other human beings.

Anyway, Mister Pierre is done and dusted. Now I have moved on to The Cult Of The Black Bane. But that is going slowly, crawling along at a hundred words a day or so while I mainly work on other projects. I am hoping for that light bulb moment, that great realisation of the way that the words should be, and everything slots into place.

Even going slowly I have moments when an entire conversation will come to me. It is not necessarily the next part of the novel, as I have it planned out in my mind. But the good thing with Word is that, unlike a typewriter, you have to write sequentially. You can leave a section which doesn’t quite work, yet, and come back to it later.

Well, it is time to crack on with The Cult of the Black Bane. There is a conversation which is finished inside my head, and it needs to be written down. That’s enough for this post.


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