18 December 2011

Walking into a super-new world...

Continuing the month's theme of world-building, I thought I'd lay out where I got the idea for "Blaze of Glory" and the sequel, coming out in January from Samhain Publishing, "Heroes Without, Monsters Within".

As in, where did I get the idea to write about superheroes? Why superheroes?

Well, why not?
The original concept came to me late one night while watching television and pondering how silly certain reality shows were – basically how many of them were set up by the producers to generate excitement and ratings even if the actual people involved weren't doing certain things of their own volition. I like to point to wrestling as the most obvious example – while I have no doubt that some wrestling is legitimate and darned dangerous, there's no doubt in my mind that plenty of "episodes" are set up with good vs. bad with drama galore.

So my feeble mind wandered over to the stack of comic books my hubby collects. And by collects, I mean "fills every empty shelf in the house". Not that it's a bad thing – I've been a comic fan practically since birth, having learnt how to read from the newspaper comic strips – and marrying a man with the same love of comics was almost mandatory.

The kernel of an idea popped up as I looked over the volumes of comics on our shelves: What if all the battles were set ups? One of the most frustrating things as a fan is to read how this bad guy got put away and two issues later he's back to annoy the heroes with some new world domination plan.

But… what if it was all intentional? The jailbreak, the confrontation – what if it was all fixed from the start and orchestrated for the public?

My wee mind grabbed onto the idea like a bulldog onto a bone and we were off, constructing a world where superheroes and villains brawled without ever having any sort of final resolution, where civilians were never hurt and the bad guys mysteriously escaped almost every time.

Of course I had to find a reason why the supers would fight on cue and so forth – and what would create the crisis that would propel a B-list hero, Jo Tanis, out of her comfortable life as a performer into the front lines of a battle she was never meant to fight.

Toss in a new hot man in her life and his mysterious past and I had the warped new world of "Blaze of Glory". The sequel, "Heroes Without, Monsters Within" expand on that strange reality where the now-for-real heroes have to deal with the consequences of their actions and discover that there are real villains – and people can and will die now that the fights are real.

I'll admit it's a kick to create a new world – but it also comes with the responsibility to create new laws, new rules that must be followed or the reader will walk away. You can't just have things "happen", there's got to be some basis behind it. If you have magic, you need rules. You don't have to necessarily tell the reader the rules but they have to be there for your own use so that you don't end up contradicting yourself somewhere down the line. Same thing with superheroes – if you want them to have special powers you need to limit what they can and can't do otherwise you end up writing yourself into a corner you just can't get out of.

And when you throw in a man whose ability is just to be a walking four-leaf clover, well…

I hope I've accomplished this with the Blaze world and I hope you'll come along for more adventures in the superhero world of "Heroes Without, Monsters Within".
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