I’m not old school, so the metaphor of being hog-tied to a Olivetti with an inky typewriter ribbon doesn’t apply. However, I do live at my computer, scribbling away, day after day.
My escape comes two ways: a good walk every day, or a trip to the movies, once or twice a week.
I don’t just relax when I see films. I get inspired. Watching what others have done by weaving strong stories with intricate plots and conflicted characters drives me to do the same,
Last week, Martin and I broke away to see Looper, a science fiction action-thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and the radiant Emily Blount. It ranks 93 percent on the Tomato-o-meter, for good reason:
It’s not just some genre film, populated by actors who need a tax write-off. The story is unique (more on that, later), great actors have been cast as characters who are, emotionally, three dimensional, and there is a perfect ending you didn’t see coming.
Any author would be proud to write a book meriting the same praise.
The plot in a nutshell: It’s the future (duh, of course!) and well-paid assassin’s in a dystopian society are paid to kill bad guys from an even more distant future (by, say thirty or so years). The bad guys appear in a pre-determined place, at a pre-determined time, their faces covered in a gunnysack. The assassin’s reward, silver bars, is taped on the victim’s back.
Now, the conundrum: Eventually the assassin will kill themselves. They will know they’ve done so, because the bars taped on the victim’s back are gold. When this happens, they can official retire with the money they’ve collected for all their hits…
But of course they realize that, one day, they too will suffer the fate of their victims, at their own hands.
The anti-hero, an assassin named Joe (Gordon-Levitt) messes up by allowing his older self (Willis) escape. Old Joe wants to kill the boss man who is ordering all the hits on the assassins.
Young Joe wants to make good on his faux pas, before his boss’s henchmen make him pay for it with the loss of a limb, and a life in a box, until his “time” comes. Otherwise, the balance of time-space continuum is thrown out of whack…
In my teens, I read a lot of science fiction. I still have one of my favorites tomes in that genre: an Isaac Asimov anthology. But could I write a good sci-fi novel? At this point, I’d say no. It is a skill I’ve yet to hone. Instead, I’ll enjoy the works of others who do it so well, including sci-fi greats Philip K. Dick, Cormac McCarthy, and our very own Sophie Littlefield, who’s “Aftertime” series is hitting it out of the park.
I’m always in awe of novelists who can “break genre,” and write in a different voice. I eat up MSW’s Karin Tabke‘s medieval historical Blood Sword Legacy series, although I’d discovered her contemporary “hot cops” first. MSW’s Stephanie Bond’s Body Mover romantic mystery series is a delight that both Martin and I enjoy immensely, albeit she’s known the world over for her Harlequin Blazes. And Sophie did it with her distopian sci-fi, which was so different from her Bad Day murder mystery series
I broke away from glam lit to write my Housewife Assassin series, and I’m so happy my readers have loved the first two books of the series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Book 2, The Housewife Assassin’s Guide to Gracious Killing picks up where Book 1, The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook, leaves off. My heroine, Donna Stone, has to save the world, take care of her family, and stop the men in her life from killing each other…
Well, until the hit is government-sanctioned.
All in good time, deary.
Stretching yourself out of your comfort zone is always good thing to do for a writer. I find my inspiration in my author mentors, like the women whose books you read here.
*Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.
Be sure to enter my contest for a $100 Gift Card to the Bookstore of Your Choice! Look for details, here…
Also: For a free KINDLE COPY of this digital eBook, comment below on your favorite sci-fi book or story , and why it resonates with you. Winner for the free book will be announced here on MSW, on Saturday.