Thursday, June 19, 2008

Novel Journey: Writing Live and Let Fly


Step 1: Idea Generation

I've finally gotten the completed, revised and fully appendixed version of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem to my publisher at Swimming Kangaroo. This is the first novel in the DragonEye, PI series. Now, I've started work on #2, Live and Let Fly. Vern the dragon detective; his partner, nun and mage Sister Grace; the Herald Charlie Wilmot and his fiancée, the teen star Rhoda Dakota team up with CIA agent Stan Rakness in a spy spoof that that targets cliché's like a 007 opening credits roll. My due date is November, and my intention is to have it done this summer.

I thought this time I'd take you along with me as I travel the convoluted path of interdimensional intrigue, Faerie magic and Mundane technology, fantasy clichés and evil overlord errors. Will you learn something about the novel writing process? Maybe, but mostly, I hope you'll be having fun.

I'll post every Thursday, and Monday if I have extra news.

Let's begin with research.

This line of DragonEye, PI novels are big on comedy. (Someday, I want to write their more serious cases, which I've been doing mostly in short story thus far.) For me, the fun for both lines comes from twisting clichés and mixing up fairy tales, legends and other stories.

Somehow, the song "Live and Let Die" got stuck in my head as I was musing over the next DragonEye novel, and Live and Let Fly is the result. So my first step was to watch some 007 flicks and take notes. I grabbed a random selection based on what was available at the Minot ND blockbuster and we had family movie night.

Watching as a parent of four, including one teenage daughter, is a very different experience from watching Bond as a young adult. My daughter found the early James Bond "creepy," and I had to agree. The other movies had a lot of flash and stunts and fun, but not as much as I thought I could translate into a book.

So next, I went to the books, which are free for download on-line ( and discovered a very different Bond. Here was a spy who relied on brains and bravado instead of technogadgetry. But oh, the clichés and anachronisms. Did you know Bond had a fear of flying--and wouldn't you know a storm hits him in at least one flight per book? Forget about his attitude toward women--have you read the portrayal of Blacks? I'm sure Fleming thought he was being very progressive, but Yowza! What a difference a handful of decades makes! Still, it was an unexpected surprise, as I can adapt that attitude toward the Faerie.

Then I moved on to other spy movies. Austin Powers is already a parody in itself--no way to shag that one, baby!--and ditto for Get Smart, so I looked at the Avengers. What a disappointing movie. What a fertile ground for ideas!

In the end, I had several pages of research, for which I now need to search, as the kids used my notebook for something else and it's in the house....somewhere. The best ideas have stayed with me, no worries. I intend to have an appendix showing where each cliché came from--or maybe I'll do that as a contest on my website. I need to consult my publisher on that.

So I had the clichés and a basic idea of what I wanted to do. Next week, I'll talk about organizing.

Word Count Update: I started writing on Monday with the goal of 1000-1500 words a day. I am at 4300 words and just starting Chapter 3. Vern has had an argument with his least-favorite person, reporter Kitty McGrue, Charlie has been mugged, and the crime scene is frustratingly empty of evidence. Today, they meet the Duke, then Rakness, Stan Rakness.

1 comment:

Gray Rinehart said...

Very nice -- keep up the pace!