One of the impetuses of creating The Big Adios were the western tales of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by pulp fictioneer and provocateur David Cranmer. Which have spawn from the short stories he wrote as Edward A. Grainger, who by the way launched TBA with the story “Missing,” to a series of novellas and novelettes. So when I saw a new Laramie story yesterday, I was all in. Only…
Only, this wasn’t Cash Laramie. No this was Jack Laramie the grandson of the famous Outlaw Marshal. Armed with a colt, his granddad’s lucky arrow head and a beat up DeSoto, Jack travels the back roads of Texas looking for snoop work, hoping to save up enough scratch to open his own detective agency and put down roots.
While I got roped into this story with the Laramie name, Jack Laramie stands on his own as a veteran with a hell of an uppercut who’s not afraid to buck system or change the rules as given him. Clocking in at 9,000 words (give or take), The Drifter Detective is a lean, deftly crafted story by a writer I’ve had the good fortune to publish myself, Garnett Elliott. While I’m sold on the series, I’d definitely be fully invested in future Jack Laramie stories by Mr. Elliott.
Go get yourself a copy of The Drifter Detective. Less than a buck, you can’t go wrong with one-two punch of Jack Laramie and Garnett Elliott.
A week ago, I did a write up of Frank Bill’s debut novel DONNYBROOK and having a couple extra copies on my hand I offered someone in the audience a chance to win one of those copies. What was entry fee for such a reward? Simply give me other books to read while I’m cooling my heals for the next Frank Bill novel. Given I’m not the fastest of readers, that would still be a considerable void to fill if we’re lucky enough to get another book within 18 months. The wheels of publishing are a slow and bitter beast.
I reached out as best I could and got the following suggestions to keep the tide of anxiety away.
Ryan Sayles offered up his own novel from Snubnose Press, THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. You should know I support my own and I’ve already read it. The title really does say all that needs to be said to sell the book.
Erik Arneson recommended, and I give a strong second, THE LAST CALL FOR THE LIVING by Peter Farris. Alas, I already own Pete’s book and equally look forward to his next release.
The towering Seth Harwood throws me a fresh author, Russell Banks and his short story collection TRAILER PARK. I will be adding that to my to read list. Thanks Seth, and for those who are looking for a good action series go and read his Jack Palms series, JACK WAKES UP and THIS IS LIFE, as well as his new thriller IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.
The mondo bearded and plaid clad Brian Beatty recommends Barry Hannah’s YOUNDER STANDS YOUR ORPHAN saying that this Faulknerian tome is bleak and bolder than Hannah’s earlier works.
Paul von Stoetzel offers up WINTER’S BONE by Daniel Woodrell, as well snuck in Scalped comic series and Jed Ayres’ FIERCE BITCHES. All which are in my possession (or soon will be as Jed’s book is ferrying itself from Australia at this very moment.)
So the bottom line here is I need to figure out which of you deserves to win. I’m sorry, but I have to mark off Ryan, Erik and Paul since their recommendations are already in my library. I know, you’re not psychic or have access to my bookshelves. Thanks for playing.
So that leaves Brian and Seth who suggest not only works I haven’t read, but authors I was unfamiliar. I suppose I’ll flip a coin. Heads for Seth and tails for Brian. *flipping*
Sorry Seth. I will be looking into Russell Banks.
Brian, I’ll contact you on Facebook to get your address.
I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but my first introduction to Frank Bill was an excerpt of DONNYBROOK that appeared on Do Some Damage almost three years ago. I had just filtered my way into the crime fiction community, discovered flash fiction, and DSD was my gateway to enumerable sites and authors. It was that excerpt that sent me on hunt for more Frank Bill, and the discovery of many stories that appeared in his debut short story collection, CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA.
For my entertainment value Frank has done good by me, DONNYBROOK was no exception.
“I don’t make threats. I offer moments to reconcile one’s shitty choices”
Towards the end of Frank Bill’s novel, Chainsaw Angus, a retired bare-knuckle brawler turned meth user/dealer, utters the quote above and it stuck out. It just buzzed in my ear and to my reading encapsulated the entire book’s tone. DONNYBROOK is a series of interwoven characters, each who come from troubling circumstances, leading them to make shitty choice after shitty choice. The only reconciliation for these characters is to keep punching forward through the consequence of those choices, to beat and batter their way towards their rightful reward. And for Chainsaw Angus, the bombastic Liz, the double-crossing Ned and the morally skewed Jarhead Earl that leads them to the three-day fight festival known as Bellmont McGill’s Donnybrook. And not far behind are Deputy Sheriff Whalen looking for revenge and the exotic Fu Xi seeking to collect a debt.
DONNYBROOK is all at once a high octane juggernaut of violence and destruction, while also being a reflective commentary on the disintegration of Southern Indiana wrought from meth addiction and economic poverty. A moral decay blights a lost Orange County, and our protagonists—if there are any, because there are no heroes here, only survivors—choose to forge their way with busted knuckles and spent bullets to each their deserved reward.
For a book I’ve waited nearly three years to read, Frank Bill served up the social canvas he laid down with CRIMES and then gave it an unhealthy bump of meth-fueled adventure. Like I’ve said before Frank Bill doesn’t disappoint, and I wouldn’t pass on my thoughts just to build him up. I enjoyed DONNYBROOK from cover to cover, and look forward to what Frank cooks up next because I’ve already got the itch.
So while I’m miserable for the next Frank Bill, I thought I might make you miserable as well. I’ve found myself with two copies of DONNYBROOK, one red and one blue. I don’t need both, even though they look mighty pretty on my bookshelf, so I’m going to give one away. The winner can choose the color. So what do you have to do?
It’s going to be a wait until the next Frank Bill release, so here’s what I want. I want you to fill up the comments with recommendations of new, old and not released novels and collections to keep pangs away, to feed and fill me up with comparable material. So drop me one title by whoever and sell me on the plot. Recommend as many as you like, each in their own comment. I’ll pick my favorite and send the winner a copy of Frank Bill’s DONNYBROOK.
There’s a meme going around for writers where they discuss what’s on the table now, what their next book is, an opportunity to pimp yourself before hand. I was kind of surprised when Dan O’Shea, whose book Penance is coming out from Exhibit A Press next year, tagged me. I write, but I’ve never had the last big thing, but I do have projects on the burner. One project has pushed itself to the front in the last few months thanks to Naomi Johnson and a story I started for her WGI, the story turned out to be bigger than I wanted it to be.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title changes all the time. As I work through it certain lines pop, but the current title is When the Night Falls.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My grandfather lived a long and independent life, but in the last couple year he needed help with the day to day, such as cooking, cleaning and just needed company. So he and I spent plenty of time together those last couple years and he started sharing his early years, which was new because he was always a quiet and reserved man. And those stories have become the foundation for several ideas.
When the Night Falls is loosely based on the death of my great grandfather, my grandfather’s father-in-law, who was a local police officer and shot in the line of duty. As my grandfather told, it sounded like it was out of a novel or a movie. A last heroic effort by a mortally wounded man.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
You got me. I guess that will be up to the publisher. It has elements of crime fiction, and it’s set right after WWII, but at the core it’s a story about family.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Looking ahead, I’d pick either Timothy Olyphant or Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Lester Muncy, the father. I really haven’t given it much thought. Maybe when it gets out there, the readers can envision their own cast.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After the death of his eldest son during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lester Muncy will do anything protect his rebelling younger son RJ, even face corrupt officials, bootleggers and his own mortality.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
When it’s done we’ll see where the market is. I’d love to have this go the traditional route.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m only about three months in, so I figure another six or nine before I can start looking for an agent.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven’t read a lot of historical crime fiction, most books I’ve read set in the post WWII era were actually written at the time. Closest I can think of is The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, the way the story was built and unfolded until all the threads tied together.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My grandfather, Richard Lester Theibert. He was an avid reader of mysteries, and though he knew of my aspirations, we never really shared that dream. He wasn’t a fan of violence, he preferred the acts to happen off page and solve the crime. My writing has always been more visceral, foul and violent. I think When the Night Falls is a story that will find a balance we both would have enjoyed.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I don’t know how to answer that? Maybe when the story is done and ready for print, I will have an answer. Of course, I’m sure this isn’t a book for everyone, some will be turned off because I don’t hide the ending. Like with any good story, it’s not about the ending, but how you got there.
Oh, Dan, thanks for jinxing this book.
It’s hard to believe that just over two years ago, I got a beta-reader copy of Adam Christopher’s Empire State. This was before it found a home with Angry Robot Books, reading that early version I had no doubt it would find a home quickly. Since then Empire State and Adam’s second book, Seven Wonders, have both seen print and well deserved praise. Today Adam revealed the cover for his third novel, a sequel to Empire State, called The Atomic Age.
I know it looks like I’m leading into a review of Adam Christopher’s works, but I wanted to comment on what readers, potential buyers see first when they pick up a copy of one of his books: the cover. I like design, I specifically like good cover design. It makes all the difference in marketing a book, and while many will say it’s not as important as it once was when the marketplace was purely what you saw on the shelves, I completely disagree. The only tool we have to make that five second decision in whatever online shopping venue you choose is the thumbnail of the cover. Not only are the covers stylish, visually evocative, they look just as good as a thumbnail as they do wrapped around the printed text.
No need to babble anymore. Just look at these covers and tell me you’re not sold?
It’s been a long while since I participated myself in a Flash Fiction Friday prompt. Flannery and Joyce have been doing a great job keeping the site together and coming up with great prompts. I started a story a few weeks back from the prompt Is Anyone There? that I plan to expand and finish for an anthology later this year. This week’s prompt by Joyce was a word list: gunshot, train, mime, balcony, monkey, rain. So this is my contribution to Words, Words, and More Words.
Normally I would give a few rewrites on a story before letting out in the wild, especially one like this that is a little left of what I usually write. So consider it for what it is, a rough stab at story about a mime and a murder. I hope you enjoy it none-the-less.
Ain’t No Friend of Mime
I got the call on the squawk, a 10-55 with units on scene and coroner in route. I was 20 minutes from the end of my shift, ready to call it a day when McGrady invited me to the show.
McGrady met me at the bottom of the stairs outside the complex. He had a fresh pack of nails, pulling away at the cellophane with nervous fingers. He took one out and offered the newly open box. I waved off, reminding him I was nearly a year into redemption. He thought better and tucked his unlit burner behind his ear.
“So what do we got, Bill?”
“It wasn’t ours at first. A lady across the yard called in the complaint. A 288. She told dispatch there was a man in the apartment across from her spanking his monkey.”
I didn’t know if McGrady was having me on or not. He liked to be a joker, but he managed the delivery with a straight face.
Bill continued as he led me up the stairs. “Another call came about five minutes later, a shooting with a 10-54. Patrol arrived on scene and confirmed, upgrading to a 10-55.”
We passed through two officers, probably first on scene, both seemed to be having a laugh, and entered the open apartment. They acknowledged us with a nodded, “Detectives.”
It was a sparse apartment, a worn out couch to one side against the wall, a beat up coffee table a leg length away, and directly across a kitchenette with a small table and a single chair. You could cross the room in three long strides. Only two other doors in the room. One next to the couch was either to a bathroom or a bedroom. Based on how the pillow cushions were positioned on the couch, I was going to wager a bathroom. The other was a glass door, shattered, that lead out to the balcony, the sheers wafted open in the night breeze, and I could see an old biddy with binoculars across the way. The only decoration was a framed picture of some clown with what appeared to be a splatter of shit across the glass.
I hated clowns.
These weren’t the first thing you saw when you entered. No, you couldn’t help but see the dead clown–sorry mime–in the middle of the room with his outstretched arms choking a monkey. A gunshot both, possibly from the same bullet based of the placement of the bodies.
I liked mimes less than clowns. I grimaced.
Bill, with a stone face, pointed to the bodies. “If it weren’t for the bullet holes, I’d say it was autoerotic asphyxiation.”
I patted him on the back as a smile cracked his lips, “Yeah, Bill. I’m sure you can tell that to the Captain.”
“I would, but he’s the one who gave me the line.”
“So do we have anything? What’s the story?”
Bill flipped open his notes, “Yeah, the mime here is a Marty Marceau. Changed from Martin Mullen. Occupation, well, mime. He worked down at The Green. And..” Bill looked around the room, “must of done pretty well for himself.”
“We got a timeline? He and the monkey look pretty fresh.”
“Yeah, rigor hasn’t set yet. Probably about 45 minutes. Girl downstairs, says she’s the girlfriend, she found ol’ Marty here choking the monkey. She called 911 moments after the initial complaint.”
I rolled my eyes. “Girlfriend have a name? She still available?”
“Yeah, she’s in her apartment with an officer. Her name is Angela Lansbury. She’s a…”
“Don’t tell me, a writer?”
I turned to head out, “Never mind. Let’s visit the girl.”
She was down there with the officer, mascara bleeding down her face.
Her apartment was more decorated in oranges and pinks, the furniture was new but looked comfortable, entertaining. On the walls hung evocative prints of fruit in a pop art style. She wore pink hot pants that I was sure had the word JUICY on the backside, the top was a white halter that didn’t leave much to the imagination with a new set of Double Ds. Her hair was professionally bleached with a streak of pink, and her lipstick matched her shorts. Being a writer must be a lucrative business?
She looked up, the rain of mascara couldn’t hide her sweet face. She hadn’t lost all her innocence. I’m sure she fooled more than one editor with her school girl wiles.
“Angela, could you tell me what you told the officers earlier? What happened upstairs?”
Her lips quivered and she squeezed her fist white knuckled. She began to cry again.
I sat down beside her. The couch was soft, yet firm. I imagined that would be useful for a writer. Angela turned away and grabbed her large shoulder bag, trying to slip her hand inside to snag a tissue. I saw the glint of metal.
I stood quickly, “What do you have there, Angela?”
She started to pull the tissue out, but slumped into the couch and let the bag fall to the floor, the barrel of .22 slid out.
“I did it” she said practically in audible.
I grabbed the gun and the purse, dumping the remaining contents onto the glass coffee table. House keys, vibrator, condoms in various sizes and colors, an extra pair of panties, a wallet with about $300, some loose change and a train ticket. Everything a woman on the run needed.
The officer who had sat with her pulled her to her feet and cuff Angela.
“Why? Why did you do it?”
“The monkey. That bastard was cheating on me.” She saw our strange looks, “Not the monkey, you dopes! Marty, Marty was. He hated that monkey. It was that stone bitch, Bella’s monkey. She’s one of them human statues, did her bit across from Marty day in and day out. I knew it was only a matter of time. She wasn’t the only one, there were plenty of others.” She fumed, raging, then continued, “he had the monkey and I knew. For sure. No way he’d watch that monkey, unless…”
I thought back up to the corpse laying on the floor, and as she was escorted out the door I had to ask, “What did you see in him?”
She softened and smiled through her mascara stained face, “He was a good listener.”
I’ve never had the pleasure, as they say, to meet Tom Piccirilli. At least not in the traditional sense. We’ve bumped virtual shoulders through Brian Keene’s forums and on Twitter, I’ve followed him on Facebook. He and his work have always come in high regard. Tom is a working class writer who seems easy to admire. Because of that I’ve always intended on reading his work, to make that call for myself, and like several writers I intend on reading time always seems to stand in the way. I often imagine myself like Burgess Meredith in that episode of The Twilight Zone where all he wished for was time to read, and what happens when time is no longer a factor? He breaks his glasses. And with twenty odd years of eye strain from working too close to monitors, I need those glasses now to read.
When Tom’s The Last Kind Words was released in June to solid reviews and internet buzz, at least in my circle of influence, I wanted to run out and get the book. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t in a position to drop $18-$25 on a book, any book. So it was shoved off to my to my TBR list and I would be able to pick it up who knows when? Then the unfortunate happened.
Tom Piccirilli was diagnosed with a near tennis ball sized tumor in his brain, and he would have to have surgery and follow up treatment. If you’re in my circle of influence, you probably know all this and have been following updates from his wife, Michelle, on Facebook. If you haven’t, even if you have, you should read Tom’s guest post on writer and friend Brian Keene‘s website. It encapsulates the unique experience of facing death, fear, hope and love. Go read “Meeting the Black” and I’ll be right here when you come back.
Powerful stuff, wasn’t it?
Since the announcement there has been an outpouring of support from the community, and any doubt that Tom is loved, respected, has been overshadowed many times over. From notes of well wishes, offers of publishers to donate proceeds, to a rise in sales, and the many donations Tom and his wife have received.
Being in a little better place, I purchased The Last Kind Words and contributed a small token to the Indie Go Go campaign set up in his name. What better way to show your support for a writer than to buy his books?
I don’t know if the The Last Kind Words is the perfect introduction to Tom Piccirilli, to his his catalog of work, but as a first time reader I am sold on Tom the writer. I am hopeful that my stockings will be filled with several of his past novels this year, and that I’ll have years more of new material to read once Tom has put Cancer under his thumb.
The Last Kind Words is the story of Terrier “Terry” Rand a rehabilitated thief who is drawn back to his family, a family of thieves, when his brother Collie asks to see him weeks before he is to be executed for a killing spree he committed five years earlier. The same time Terry decided he was done with the life and with his family, putting his past behind him and heading out west to live a quiet life of anonymity. Despite his resentment of his past, of his brother, he is drawn back hoping to answer questions and to have a glimpse of a life he left behind.
Piccirilli deftly tells a story of family, fractured by unexplained and unforgiving murders committed Collie the eldest son. Then he presents us with a mystery when Collie recants to one of the murders, a mystery that would weave its way through the family story to either stitch them back together or unravel them completely.
The story is multifaceted, creating as many questions as there are answers. And I will admit that by the end I wanted more. There are stories yet to be told about Terry and the remaining family in this pack of thieves, so perhaps wanting more is exactly what Piccirilli was going for and I suppose time will tell.
This won’t be the last book I read by Tom Piccirilli, I look forward to reading more and letting him know in person one day just how much I enjoy his work. Maybe next time I’m out in Colorado visiting the in-laws I’ll take an afternoon and drive up for a sit down.
As a writer and an editor of crime fiction, I unavoidably have to deal with the fight scene. What is a crime if not the result of violence or violation? Both can and probably will result in a fight. A conflict. How escalated the conflict becomes is determined by factors of the situation and the creative vision. The interpretation of the writer to cast the scene to paper.
I think this simple aspect is the failing of many attempts at writing the fight scene. At least a believable one. For me personally, the bulk of my early writing was an attempt to break into comic books and as a result I learned to write lean and visually, because in writing for comics unless you are both the writer and artist you have a collaborator, a co-writer who translates words into images. Since it was a visual medium, I drew inspiration from movies, and growing up in the 80s there were no lack of action movies. Over the top and inconceivable.
So I understand the urge and inspiration to write scenes that put your protagonist under impossible odds. You’re playing that scene out in your head like it’s on the big screen. You’re embracing your inner Road House and kicking all kinds of Swayze. I get it. But, the reality is the protagonist usually ends up like Sam Elliott.
I know you’re thinking, Ron, Ron Earl this is fiction, it’s not supposed to be reality?
That’s true, and if you lay the groundwork and handle the action just right, the reader is going to follow right along with you. After all, how many times did they ask Swayze’s character “I thought you’d be bigger?” before he actually had to throw down some serious hurting? They laid the groundwork that he is a badass.
Most stories I deal with as an editor are of the 700 word variety, so not a whole lot of room to lay down your protagonist’s greatest hits before he throws the first punch. With such short stories I favor stories that anchor themselves in the plausible, creating scenes that are not only dynamic but feel real as possible.
So now you ask, Ron Earl, how do I make it feel real?
Funny you should ask, but I’ve got 3 simple things to consider.
- Only Human – Unless stated otherwise, or you’re holding out for the big twist at the end, your protagonist is only human. And the human body can only endure so much damage before it has to shut down. Your protagonist is not going to endure constant abuse and suddenly come out the victor. And if your guy does go down, it’s going to take time to before he’s up to even facing the Tooth Fairy.
- Knuckle and Buckle – Fights aren’t even. They’re the product of adrenalin and temper, and rarely do the fighters square off before the first punch is thrown. Once that first knuckle lands, it’s only moments before a stinger hits and the advantage is won and legs begin to buckle. Real fights are short and one sided. Even in a professional match it’s going to take more than the Eye of the Tiger to go 12 rounds.
- Everybody’s Not Kung Fu Fighting – Do you know why those fight scenes in movies look so awesome? They’re choreographed. If your protagonist is put in the middle of multiple combatants, I’m sorry, he’s going down. They aren’t going take turns. Three are going to hold your character down while the other two beat his face and balls and they’ll be calling him Arsefaced Sally by the end.
There are not fast hard rules, and even if there were, rules are meant to be broken. Just remember how ever you write your fight scene it has to first serve the story and then entertain the reader.
Have to love waking up in the morning and finding your website is gone. Bamf! Disappeared just like Nightcrawler. I know I looked at it last night? I started to write a story for Flash Fiction Friday. But that was before noon or somewhere around there. So what happened?
A real mystery. The entire file structure was gone?
First thing’s first. Create the public folder and install WordPress again. Cross fingers that the database is still intact. It is! Yes.
Reinstalled, but all my plugins and themes are gone. Have a lot backed up local, wasn’t that a bit of luck. Nothing from this week. Joy!
So a couple hours, the majority of the content is back. None of my images. Totally fubar. Lost to the ether. Fuck.
Oh, well. How could this have happened? Did someone hack my site? No, though it probably wouldn’t be hard… What did I do yesterday?
Ah yes, something totally out of my normal behavior. I used the 1-Click function to set up a blog for a future project. Usually I’m a 100% on hands, do it manually. But I was at work, and I can’t access my server’s shell because of the firewall. I’m bored and impatient. So might as well.
Huh? Must have been bored before. I have an installation for a site I’m not currently using. Delete installation? Sure, why not?
It’s really taking a long time for a site I really didn’t do any work on? Weird?
Oh well, 1-Click install for new mums-the-word project. Hmmm… seems stalled?
Ah, got to get back to work work. I’ll do this later.
This morning. WTF? Where’d my fucking site go? FTP in? No won’t work. Check other websites. Shotgun Honey? There! Flash Fiction Friday? There! Wife’s site? There! Client demos? There! An obvious trend. RonEarl.com? Fubar!
What did I do? How’d my site get deleted? Deleted? I wonder? Oh yeah, I was parking that unused site on RonEarl.com until I had time to work on it. So of course it’d follow the file path redirect and delete everything…
Tomorrow up on Shotgun Honey we are hosting our fifth story from Jersey native Kieran Shea. It’s called “Going All Shatner.” I have to admit I was sold the moment I saw the title. Quirky titles get me, and I get them. All of the stories we’ve hosted for Kieran have been in what I’ve come to call a “Morse Code” style. Nearly pure dialog, little if any narrative, accentuated with dashes and dots.
Excerpt from “Man Full of Stones” on Shotgun Honey:
-Well, well. Look at what the tide dragged in. S’up, Mikey?
-The guy in the corner. Watching Vlatka on stage. Bony-looking dude with the glasses.
-Yeah. That’s him. Guess who gets to take that creep to the airport in an hour?
-Nope. Philly. God, I’m looking forward to that like a punch in the nuts.
-Is it true? I mean, what they say about him?
-Believe it or not it’s true.
-But hey, he’s good at what he does and Mr. Donofrio likes him so what do we care if he’s a freak? To each his own, that’s my motto these days. To each his fuckin’ own. Throwing some deadbeat clown a beating is one thing but that other nasty stuff? Do me a favor and leave me the hell out of it. If Mr. Donofrio wants to contract those grisly details out to some Rain Man-talking sideshow from Boston, he can be my guest.
-I’m going to go talk to him.
-I wouldn’t do that if I was you, Mikey.
-Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?
-Come on. I just want to see what he’s like. Where’s the harm?
Each line of dialog is marked with a dash. Quotation and attribution are absent. The conversation is a rapid flow of give and take, the conversation carrying the tone and direction of the story. Clustered together and broken up by the pregnant pause of single lined ellipses, building tension with each returned line.
It isn’t often that style is used to build the story. I have seen writers created their own styles, but not to manipulate the reader and not structure the pacing. Of course I may not be as well versed or read as I like.
The first time I saw the use of the dash to signify dialog was with Charlie Huston. I thought it was unique and I like the dialog separate and alone, not depending on exterior events to give weight to the words. The dialog is an event in itself. Especially with how Kieran manages it to flow free, fresh, natural.
Cormac McCarthy is often lauded, and he does tell a hellava story that blends genre into a sprawling literary narrative, but I have to admit I struggled following his dialog, quotes painfully absent. It was something I had to adjust to, but end the end was transparent to the power of the words he had written.
Kieran’s “Morse Code” style is easy to digest, to understand. If it’s not his own, I don’t want to know, because his ability to talk through a story and create tension without descriptors is unique. I read so many stories that struggle with dialog surrounded by well written narrative. I myself have to write dialog multiple times until I think it’s half worth to see the light. Even then…
I’m not asking anyone to adopt this style–Kieran’s Style–I don’t think I could ever accept a story that did. I do encourage people to experiment with their writing, to explore what makes a story from voice to style, narrative to dialog. Creativity is how you manipulate the reader.