Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Fleeting Tales #26: Violence, short stories and Corona!

This is the first blog post since I finished the original draft of The Kinetic a few months ago, so I thought it was about time I gave you all a quick update on what's going on.

The Kinetic has been released, as you may or may not know, and is doing reasonably well so far. I've had a couple of reviews on Amazon.co.uk which helps, although more would be very much appreciated if any of you have finished it yet. The power that reviews have on Amazon really can't be underestimated, so if you have a spare five-minutes and fancy chucking a few words down then I'd be extremely grateful.

I've also had a few more reviews for Kinesis over the past weeks and it has finally passed the 200 reviews mark in the UK, although it's trailing a little in the US with only 58 at the time of writing. A couple of these reviews have had me thinking and they lead me onto my first point.

Violence in Kinesis (some of this contains spoilers for Kinesis):
Two of the more recent reviews I've received for Kinesis on the US Amazon site have mentioned the violence in the opening chapters of the book and given pretty negative comments as a result. 

I understood that the beginning of the story might be quite shocking to some readers, although I tried to make it clear in the synopsis of what the start of the story involves. I really didn't get what all the fuss was about, and was sure that I had read much worse in some of the novels of Stephen King, James Herbert and similar. 

Then I decided to re-read the first two chapters with this in mind and realised that perhaps I'm

actually a psychopath! It absolutely is pretty disturbing - especially since the reader is plunged straight into this world of violence - and I could easily understand how people might find it upsetting, especially with the implied rape and attempted rape involved.


When I originally wrote that book, I was basically trying to get to the end of the first chapter where the line "...his eyes flickered and then opened." made an appearance. That was all I was aiming for since that was the image I had in my mind before writing. This man, beaten down while his family are brutalised  suddenly regains consciousness. The implication being that something is going to happen to change this horrific situation - that was the REAL start of the story.

But I needed a way to get there convincingly. So I created a violent home invasion to incite the necessary loathing of the two invading characters, so that Leonard's subsequent actions are in some way justified.

The image of this man - beaten while his wife raped and his son murdered - was so strong that I had to include it in the book since this is the scene that creates the momentum which drives the story from that point on. Leonard Samson is a victim - not just a victim of this horrific event - but of what he is. I wanted to make him weak, vulnerable and worthy of the reader's sympathy. Perhaps in writing the first chapters without creating any lead-in for such horror, I went a little overboard in trying to get this message across, and I appreciate that some readers feel this to be the case.

I tried not to be gratuitous and I would never explicitly describe a rape in any of my novels; Leonard's wife is simply lead from the room while the implication of what is about to happen to her hangs in the air. However, I wanted to create a set of circumstances that anyone would find terrifying in order for Leonard to, not only take the action he takes, but also expose himself as a Kinetic in a world that detests such people.

The feedback and reviews I've received regarding this violence originally made me consider toning it down in the latest edition of the book, because the overall story was never intended to be gratuitous and horrific violence. I used violence to propel the story along and generate characters which the reader hates (and characters who eventually get their comeuppance I hope). I wanted the reader to hate certain characters and feel satisfied by the end of the story that these people have got their just-deserts (with a little sadness of course as the opposite situation plays out for other, good, characters).

Eventually, I decided not to tone down the opening chapters, only because I think it would completely change the book and I don't want to do that - I'm happy with the story (if not the writing). I have however decided to place a warning at the end of the synopsis on Amazon in order to warn readers that they might find the opening a little uncomfortable. I hope this does the trick because I don't want to disgust my readers! I simply want them to root for the good guys!

Short Stories:
Those of you who have been following my posts and Facebook for a while might recall that a long, long time ago - and in what might as well have been a galaxy far, far away - I mentioned writing a short-story anthology. This has inevitably failed to materialise because of the frustratingly simple reason that I haven't written enough short stories!

I am however trying to rectify this and have a few that I'm happy with, although nowhere near enough to justify releasing it just yet. The compilation will probably include Safeguard when it is eventually ready and perhaps a number of other stories based in that universe as well as other, unrelated, stories.

I'll keep you updated... hopefully sometime before Fleeting Tales #598.

Corona:
This might be the title of the final book in the Kinesis series. I'm currently working through the chapter outlines, although I have a general idea of what will happen in the story. The ending is pretty safely embedded in my head now and I'll start writing it in the next few months when everything is tied down.

Not much else to say about that just yet. 

Thanks for reading this slightly extended post and please follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorethanspier if you've yet to do so... oh and please leave a review on Amazon too!

Cheers all,
Ethan.


2 comments:

  1. Don't worry about having to write something dark if it has a reason, and the opening of Kinesis did. Sometimes you have to have darkness in order to see light! If Leonard had killed those guys after they had slapped him, then he wouldn't have been a sympathetic character at all. As it was, people can understand his reaction. I wrote a similar scene in one of my books, and it made me nauseous to write it, but it was necessary to highlight the evil (mine was implied rather than explicit too). There's no point re-writing, the book has done well, and you can't please everyone. I don't like Harry Potter, for instance ;)

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  2. Thanks Jake, I agree. I think the violence at the beginning of my book creates a lot of the conflict that runs throughout the story. And conflict is essential in a good story as we all know.

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