Tag Archives: Zen

Story Origins: Dove Without Wings

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The conception of “Dove Without Wings,” my story in No More Heroes, actually had very little to do with me. It was the most ‘targeted’ story I’ve ever written, and by that, I mean that if I hadn’t earned a place in the anthology, there was literally nothing I could have done with the piece. I don’t normally take risks like that, but this project felt so unique and I was desperate to be part of it.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept behind No More Heroes, here’s the scoop. It exists in a world populated with an original cast of superheroes and villains. Prior to the book’s opening, a great ‘Endgame-style’ battle occurs, and the victors were… the villains! Omggg plot twist, yeah? So, the big question is: What do villains do when they have no more heroes to fight? Enter a fleet of authors (including yours truly) endeavoring to answer that question.

It’s a neat idea, and the neatness is compounded by the fact that all of the authors are essentially working with the same set of characters. When submissions opened, the editors posted a list of all characters and their personalities and superpowers, and then once they chose the stories they liked best, we were asked to edit them so that the characters showed continuity from one book to another.

So, you can see why I absolutely HAD to be part of this. It was honestly one of my more challenging projects – not just because the stakes were so high, but because I had to work with other people’s creations. I’d never done that before, or since, and it was terrifying to think that I didn’t have authority to shape them myself.

We were allowed to bring in our own original characters, as long as they weren’t part of the ‘villain club.’ So, I figured I would need someone really dynamic to properly anchor me into this story, and *cue fanfare* Zen arrived. I love working with this guy a lot. Even though he only exists in one short story, he shows up in my blog posts all the time. (Seriously, all the time! Check out some of his other posts here.)

He’s a math professor, and I definitely have an obsession with math, so that’s part of it. But also, I love his mix of ‘Everything is pointless, why bother,’ and ‘Let’s get this s*** handled.’ He’s gloomy, but perceptive. Curious, but bored. Stubborn, but resigned.

Once I had him as a main character, the story itself fell into place pretty easily. (Or at least, I had the outline. Actually drafting it was quite difficult for me. Remember, I’d never worked with borrowed characters, so it felt weird.) But after it was finished, this story represented so much of what really set my soul on fire: Villains, Math, Goodies and baddies striking a temporary truce, Little sentimental nuggets in the midst of tension, Plot twists… It was simply a delight to work on.

Even though the story can never be reprinted, and it can only exist within the context of this one specific anthology, I consider it an important part of my collection, and I’m glad I took the risk. It was worth it. If you’re interested in the anthology, you can find it here on Amazon, or I always have copies at my table if we have the good fortune to be at a convention together.

Drabble: Samantha and Zen

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This post features the following characters:
Samantha from Waiting Room
Zen from Dove Without Wings (No More Heroes)
No Spoilers

First off, thank you muchly to everyone who voted in my previous post! (If you missed it, fear not. I’ll probably do it again because I had a good time with this!) 

So, the Drabble you picked for me was Zen + Samantha + a wine-tasting party. Which was a fun little challenge because Zen would never go to something like that unless being forced. I tried writing it from both points of view, but ultimately chose this one. I almost always write from inside Samantha’s head, so it was cool seeing what someone else thinks of her. (Even if that someone is Zen, who has very low emotionality compared to my other characters, but hey.)  Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Zen and Rodney

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This post features the following characters from my stories:
Zen from Dove Without Wings
Rodney from School Spirit
No Spoilers

Another writing exercise I favor is the ‘two-character mash up.’ I choose two characters at random (I have a huge list of all my characters, and a jar with numbers in it) and then either choose a word from the dictionary, or ask someone for a suggestion. Then I write a short drabble with both characters, and the word.

I find that I can learn a lot about my people (or dragons, in this case) by throwing them in odd situations with personalities they don’t normally encounter. And yeah, it’s also fun 😉 Let’s not forget that.

So this little piece is the sum of Zen + Rodney + ‘inflate’

~*~

The sound of tapping on the window finally wriggled its way inside Zen’s protective bubble of studious concentration. Reluctantly, he left the equations on his chalkboard and turned towards his office’s singular window. Read the rest of this entry