ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shoveling Coal into the Action Furnace

Original Limited Edition
My fiction was at one time called thoughtful and profound. Scarecrow Gods was compared to the best of Stephen King, Peter Straub and Robert McCammon, especially such tales as Boy's Life and The Talisman. I think I might have wept over those comparisons when they came out. But I realized of course that they weren't real comparisons, but reviewers' struggles to compare me to like literary professionals in order to enable readers to better understand what sort of prose I had to offer.

I've been working on my action since that first novel. I felt it wasn't as good as it could have been. I think with each of my seven previous novels, I've gained a better grasp on action and the sense of pace I need to balance it out. In fact, I think Blood Ocean is about as action-packed and violent as anything I've ever-written, and an achievement in my own right.

I read from Chapter 10 (I think) at Salt Lake City during the World Horror Convention. The audience was left breathless and breathing heavily after 30 minutes of reading, the action was so profound. (Here is that reading courtesy of Lincoln Crisler - sorry for the quality of my voice. It's the only one I have)

So I think I got that action thing down now.  I think I've figured out how to translate the complex martial movements taking place in my mind to the page.

But I have to be careful that I don't forget the depth of character I and plot I desire to write.

In a recent review of Blood Ocean, Matthew Fryer said--

"Fans of China Mieville may also notice similarities with his sprawling and gorgeous “The Scar” with its floating city, cultural diversity and grotesque body modification, but those heavy sociopolitical depths aren’t attempted here. In fact, ignoring the horror content, this almost feels like a book for younger audiences. That’s not because this is euphemistic or lightweight storytelling. I think it’s partly due to a sense of optimism despite the odds, but mainly because it’s a wild ride driven by a fresh-faced youth that doesn’t contrive to be disturbing or profound, but concentrates on shoveling coal into its furnace." Read the entire review here.

Matt's point is just. Blood Ocean is intended to be a 'wild ride' and optimistic. Although I do get into characterization, as he points out elsewhere in the review, I don't think I plumb as deeply as I usually do. Of course I did it for a reason with Blood Ocean. As part of a series of books under the Afterblight umbrella, they were all fast-paced, violent pieces of fiction. To write the book any other way would be a disservice to those who had come before and the readers who expected thus.

But like I said. I have to be careful. Just the other day, I began work on a new novel. Ten pages in and it felt a little juvenile and lacked depth. I wasn't sure what was wrong, until I read Matt's review of Blood Ocean. You see, my mind was still locked on Blood Ocean. If Blood Ocean is to the far right of the scale and Scarecrow Gods is on the far left, I want to find somewhere in the middle to write this next novel I'm tentatively titling Aftermath.

Once aware of this, I sat down last night and wrote a few pages. It felt good. I could feel myself getting to know my new characters and the world within which they live. I could feel the tight spring of action, controlled by the impetus of character and thought. This is good. This is how I want to write.

Not that Blood Ocean is bad... not at all.

It is what it is meant to be.

But now I am writing something else.

Something different.

Something set in my world.

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