Tag: Starstruck

How Far Is Too Far?

Psst-Masked-GirlI keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far?

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray, for instance, but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

How Far Is Too Far?

Psst-Masked-GirlI keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far?

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray, for instance, but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

Midweek Rambling

DarkNights001-Cov-CassadayWell, the reaction to yesterday’s news that I’m working on Starstruck has been quite nice — I must have gotten at least a half dozen comments from people via the blog, Facebook & Twitter, which is pretty good. I’m still debating about how it will see print… it may be added on to the end of RABBIT HEART when that one is reprinted by Pro Se Press. Then people who have bought the Wild Cat version will have a reason to buy the new edition — because it will contain an all-new adventure. Reading over and revising what I’d written previously has reminded me of how much I did like the Fiona Chapman/Ascott Keane pairing. They play off each other very well, I think.

Speaking of pairings, Dynamite announced that Michael Uslan will be writing a crossover between The Shadow and The Green Hornet, debuting in July. Entitled Dark Nights, the series appears to be unrelated to the heroes’ meeting in MASKS, which is a little disappointing. I hope time won’t be wasted on them getting to know one another again. Of course, I could be wrong and it spins right out of MASKS. We’ll see. Regardless, I’ll be buying it since The Shadow is in it… I did have the opportunity to write The Green Hornet myself a few years back. The Green Hornet Casefiles contains my story “Summer of Death” in which The Green Hornet and Kato visit San Francisco during the Summer of Love. I enjoyed writing such classic characters and the experience made me more of a fan of the property than I had been previously.

The one downside to me picking up the Starstruck pieces is that I’ve had to set the weird western story on the back-burner. It’s not due until June 1, though, so I have time to play around with Fiona. I did receive the outline for my “other” project, that’s due October 1. I’m not sure how much I can talk about that one but it’s for a publisher that I haven’t worked with before and I’ll be adapting an outline into a 15,000 word story. The story and characters all belong to the publisher so it’s simply a work-for-hire situation on my end. Still, it looks like it will be fun.

Currently reading Rick Lai’s translation/adaption of Judex — quite enjoyable.

Take care, folks. It’s a dangerous world out there.

Starstruck

550-neusex1_800Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog! Lots of things to talk about today…

First, I uploaded The Shadow Fan’s Podcast, Episode 27 earlier today. I talk about two classic Shadow novels that both deal with The Shadow’s multiple identities and that’s always a favorite topic of mine. Download away, if you’re a fan of The Shadow.

I also dug out “Starstruck,” the sequel to RABBIT HEART. My slasher horror novel is coming back from Pro Se soon and that’s gotten me to thinking about the long aborted sequel, which I shelved because… Well, because it was just too damned filthy! For folks who read RABBIT HEART, I know that may come as a shock… but trust me, this thing starts off well and above anything that exists outside of gonzo fiction. Anyway, I’m thinking about continuing it from where I left off – not sure if it’ll end up being a full novel or just  novella. Hell, maybe I can talk Tommy Hancock into letting me tack Starstruck on to the end of RABBIT HEART, which would encourage some of you to buy the new edition! Besides, this filthy little thing might be less shocking if it was tucked away at the back of a book, instead of you opening up a new one and immediately seeing a girl having sex with a… Ahem. Don’t want to give away too much (and some of you probably wouldn’t want me to complete that sentence anyway!)

My recent post concerning “How Far Is Too Far?” is kind of what got me to thinking about completing this story… that and the Atomic Anxiety interview where Mark Bousquet asked me about RABBIT HEART. All of those things have conspired to make me reconsider my desire to avoid publishing this thing.

Yes, it’s filthy.

Yes, it’s shocking.

Yes, it’s the kind of thing that polite people would never discuss in public.

But, honestly, when has that ever stopped us before?

I might change my mind again… but I think I’ll write some blood, guts and disgusting sex for the next few days and see what we end up with.