After a long toil, my epic short story (17 pages) The Cannibals of Madison County is finished.
I put the story up as a Kindle short story, because let’s face it, there’s nowhere else to publish these days except Highlights for Children, and they’re cagey when it comes to headhunting. I intend this as an experiment. The story is only 18 pages long, and you can download it free today. If you get a moment, you could help out by reading the story and then, if you like it, give a short review. If I can get 15 good reviews, I can blast the story on all the sharing pages and get thousands of readers.
Today, novelist James Callan has some choice words about Internalization, the subject of his new book. Hope you enjoy.
How many times have you said, “What was he thinking?” Sometimes that may be in disbelief: how could he have done that? Or perhaps: what he said doesn’t sound like him. Or maybe: what is his real motivation for that? Or even: he’s not saying anything, but he’s got to be thinking about it.
And more often than not, we never know what he was thinking. Even the NSA cannot know what we are thinking – unless we choose to put it in an e-mail or a phone call.
That’s where the fiction writer has the advantage. We can know what one of our characters is thinking. And we can share some of that with the reader. This is a great weapon.
We do this with internalization, internal dialog. Internalization has three important advantages for the writer. First, it can tell the reader how the character really feels about something rather than what the outward appearance of the character might reveal. (For my examples, I’ll put the internalization in italics.)
Example: Two women meet at a class reunion. Natalie says to Janice,
“Hi. Glad to see you here. Someone had said you wouldn’t be able to make it this year.”
Here we have two friends meeting, apparently glad to see one another. But suppose we have a little internalization from Natalie.
And if I’d known you were coming, I’d have stayed home.
We get two attitudes from Natalie; “Hi, glad to see you.” And “I’d have stayed home.” Which is the reader going to believe? Without a doubt, the internal thought. Why? Since no one else can hear this, why wouldn’t it be the truth?
Second, internalization can reveal the true moral compass of a character. This is different from number one above which is just her true feeling about a specific thing.
Example: Ryan leaned against the booth, hoping no one else came to try and pitch a quarter into one of the small dishes. I hate these charity things. If the poor people would get out and get a job and work like I do, they wouldn’t be poor. If I didn’t think this might help me get Mildred in the sack, I wouldn’t be within a mile of this sham.
This tells the reader much more about Ryan than Natalie’s bit of internal dialog. This goes to the core character of Ryan.
The third advantage of internalization is the most important: the reader will believe it. Internal thoughts are private. No one else is privy to them. We can think them. It’s okay. They’re private. So, they might as well be the truth.
We all have some feeling that we don’t share with anyone, not our mother, or best friend, or spouse. So, we know the internal thoughts of a character will be true. We will believe them.
Three quick caveats. Internalization can only come from the POV character. Second, don’t overwhelm the reader with too much internal dialog. That means, don’t use long segments, and don’t have too many segments. It will lose its power and you may lose your reader. And third, don’t give the reader access to the internal dialog of many characters, even if they have the POV at the time. That may lead to confusion. As a rule, limit it to the protagonist and possibly the antagonist.
Internalization is a powerful tool. Use it, but use it wisely.
Internalization is discussed at length in James Callan’s new book, How to Write Great Dialog, Oak Tree Press, 2014.
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He has written articles for a national magazine, and published several non-fiction books. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fifth book released in 2013. His work has also appeared in a number of anthologies. In addition to writing, Callan presents workshops in the U.S., Mexico, and on the Internet on various phases of writing
On behalf of BookYear Mysteries, I am thrilled to announce that my illustrated horror mystery ‘The Mummies of Blogspace9‘ is now available in print!
No longer will you have to pore over a tiny Kindle screen. Now, the genuine organic free-range paper pages turn crisply, backlit only by whatever you have going on.
I am trilled to announce today that the fine folks over at Every Day Fiction have chosen my flash fiction piece to turn into a podcast. Seriously, they did a great job with this, so if you want to listen to eight minutes of pure fun, press this word coming up, the one that says LISTEN. Yeah, that one, the one that just said listen. And if you like the story, please be sure to vote the number of stars on the page. If I get enough stars, I win riches and fame!
have a listen at - http://www.everydayfiction.com/podcast-edf149-visions-of-sugarplums-one-elfs-descent-into-madness-by-william-doonan-read-by-brian-j-hunt/
Stop the online presses!!!!
Today only (and also tomorrow) Amazon is giving away copies of Mediterranean Grave for FREE!!
Supplies of these e-books are limited, so be sure to download your copy today. And remember, they make great stocking stuffers!
Henry Grave is an investigator for the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators. A World War II P.O.W., Henry is as cunning as he is charming, and at 84 years of age, he fits right in with his fellow passengers. The cruising yacht Vesper is anchored off the Greek island of Thera, in the caldera of an ancient volcano when Henry comes aboard. An Egyptian federal agent was onboard to guard a valuable Minoan cup, but the agent was murdered and the cup, stolen. With the help of a Nicaraguan soap opera star, a New Age spiritualist, and a blind pickpocket, Henry draws on skills honed in a Nazi prison camp to track down a killer who might have his own reasons for taking this particular cruise, reasons unrelated to the sumptuous meals, delightful shipboard activities, and exciting ports of call.
If you’re like me, you’ve been trying to answer this question for a very long time. Please join me over at NovelSpaces to help resolve a vexing plot issue.
Today my good friend and fellow author John Daniel has some wisdom to share, and a couple of choice recommendations about some archaeology novels you won’t want to miss! I’ll turn it over to John:
I’m presently reading American Caliphate, a spellbinding novel by William Doonan, published in 2012 by Oak Tree Press. It’s an archaeological novel about a “dig” (archaeologists prefer the term “excavation”) on the north coast of Peru, the ancient home of the Moche Indians, who built adobe pyramids. These pyramids, and one pyramid in particular, are of particular interest to a team of North American academic archaeologists, but in this high-stakes adventure novel there are other parties equally interested in what might be found inside a certain tomb. The CIA, for example. The Vatican. A strong-minded old Muslim woman in Lima. And whoever it was that shot and nearly killed Ben and Jila, a pair of romantically involved archaeologists, the last time they poked around the Santiago de Paz pyramids.
American Caliphate has a cast of intelligent, risk-taking characters driven by academic jealousy, political intrigue, religious rivalry, love and lust, outright greed, and insatiable nosiness about the ancient past. The plot is full of danger and discovery. And what these archaeologists discover may confirm rumors that Muslims fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal brought Islam to the New World.
I won’t give away the ending of American Caliphate for two reasons: I haven’t read the ending yet, and I don’t give away endings. I’ll tell you this much, though: if you haven’t read William Doonan’s American Caliphate yet, you’re in for a treat.
Another archaeological adventure novel I highly admire is Barry Unsworth’s Land of Marvels, which is set in Mesopotamia in 1914, during the twilight of the Ottoman empire, on the verge of the First World War. Here again, we have an excavation by an academic archaeologist, John Somerville, and his team. They feel they’re about to uncover a treasure of history from the Assyrian empire, but they know their work is being threatened by the advancing construction of a German railroad that will connect European capitals to Baghdad. What Somerville doesn’t know is that there are other forces equally covetous of the same patch of desert real estate. There’s a Swiss couple of Christian zealots who join the excavation’s encampment; their goal is to establish a Christian theme park on the supposed site of the Garden of Eden. There’s a dashing American adventurer who poses as an archaeologist but who is really more interested in seducing Somerville’s wife, and even more interested in helping American and/or British oil companies discover and develop oil fields in the same territory. Somerville is further “helped” by an Arab messenger whose concept of the truth is defined by whatever will profit himself the most.
In Land of Marvels, practically nobody is who he or she pretends to be. This is another novel about duplicitous diplomacy, greed, religious rivalry, love and lust, and the conflict between the lessons of the past and the economic opportunities of the future.
Land of Marvels is also a ripping good story. Again, I won’t give away the ending, but I guarantee you a breath-taking surprise.
Now. Have you read The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips? Oh boy. Talk about characters who aren’t who they seem to be or claim to be. This is a thrilling, hilarious, frightening tour de force, a delightful puzzle, an outrageous tale of archaeological obsession, greed, love, deception, and madness.
Not up to the task of summarizing the plot of The Egyptologist. I’ll cheat and quote the back-cover copy from the Norton paperback edition:
…a witty, inventive, brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the desert plains of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of the First World War, and a royal court in turmoil. Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition, and the very human hunger for eternal life, The Egyptologist is a triumph of narrative bravado.
I see I’m running out of time and space here, so I’ll be brief with my plug for my favorite tomb-robbing novel. Yes, I wrote it. I don’t claim it’s the best of the four, but it is my favorite because I dug through the past to find it, and then I watered it and watched it grow. Then I published it on Kindle, so you can read it.
On the night of June 8, 1918, five officers in the U.S. Army, all of them recent Yale graduates and members of the secret society Skull and Bones, sneaked into the Apache graveyard at Fort Sill Oklahoma, opened the tomb of Geronimo the Terrible, and stole his skull. Whatever happened to that skull, and whatever happened to the ringleader of that moonless, midnight raid? This legendary crime and its consequences are central to John M. Daniel’s novel Geronimo’s Skull, which takes place over twenty-five years in the early twentieth century, from the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904 to the stock market crash in 1929. It tells the story of Fergus Powers, and his development from a boy of nine, fascinated by energy and machinery, to a young man in his thirties, poised to take charge of a failing company and turn it into the largest manufacturer of oil drilling equipment in the world. Geronimo’s Skull is romantic and fantastic, full of love and war, friendship and family, magic, danger, and moral quandary. Fergus Powers, the leader of the grave-robbers, is the novel’s guilty hero, hounded for the balance of the book by the Indian warrior’s ghost.
John M. Daniel’s new book is called Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery. For info: http://www.danielpublishing.com/jmd/hooperman.html