Once I realized the “real world” was largely in my head, it became infinitely easier to interact with the reality of others.Musings
Kent is My New Guru
Check out our conversation and meet this sci-fi author who gives us more on his insights.
Or is it the Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha, aka Kent Wayne? Hmmm. I’ll let you decide after you meet him. Read on!
Click on images to link to Mr. Wayne’s books and blogs.
You might guess my first question today, Kent. What seeds that imagination when you write your “Yet another weird ad for my novels” blog? They sure caught my attention.
Believe it or not, no one’s asked me that before. Oftentimes, it’s a throwaway joke I hear on a comedy podcast. It takes root in my mind, grows into a premise, then I change the context so I can make a miniature story out of it. Other times, I’m struck by a “What If,” then when I sit down to write, I tease out the possibilities within that premise.
You’ve created foes, heroes, and the most zany and naughty superpowers from just about every likely and unlikely personality in our universe, with Kent Wayne extracting himself by the skin of his… well, you know… every time, as long as he has that precious second to activate his eReader. I read them because I can’t wait to see who might show up next in your action-packed appendage battles! What’s the story behind the stories?
One of my writing principles is to amp things up as much as I can (by “as much as I can,” I mean constrain events with logic while reaching for maximal absurdity or the emotionally evocative), and then smooth things over as I edit. That definitely applies to my ads, where I write about prehensile genitalia or Martha Stewart shoving a mithril lance into Smaug’s nether-hole.
As a kid, I read Calvin and Hobbes over and over. I especially loved the arcs where he imagined he was a noir detective, articulate dinosaur, or Spaceman Spiff. Barry Ween was another big influence.
I love the idea of extraordinary circumstances arising in the ordinary world, then reveling in the adventure and fun as madness ensues.
D. Awesome. Thanks for sharing your techniques! I have to say I would like to emulate that effect. There’s nothing better than an enjoyable read over breakfast that has my brows shooting up and laughter coming out of my nose with my coffee.
Click on the Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha to visit Kent and follow his posts. And click here for his volume of Musings on Amazon
Do the blogs spring out of nowhere, or do you have an arsenal of notes to pull from when you’re ready to give us another one?
When I have an idea, I’ll write a cliffs notes version of the basic gist, usually no more than a sentence long (ex: defile jock’s jacket, jock gets mad, defeat jock and hook up with his mom). I also do this with books–if I’m afraid I’m going to forget what I want to write, I’ll write a cliffs notes version in brackets at my furthest point in the manuscript.
In the past, I have at times sat down with no idea or clue and just started writing on a blank page. In some of the older blogs, you’ll see me start with “What to write, what to write, what to wriiiiiiiitteee…” and then I let my fingers go and come up with something on the spot.
I know the ads/blogs are popular. Do they work to sell your books? Would you say they’re an extension of your published stories, or are they in a world all by themselves? And are they as fun to write as they are to read?
Not at all, LOL! I’ve given up trying to sell books; it’s made me miserable in the past. I just try and have fun with writing. The primary reward for me is the fulfillment and engagement I get from crafting a story–it’s the one activity that always seems to flow without any effort for me.
The blogs are my overtures toward advertising. But I hate advertising, so I decided why not exercise my writing muscles when I publish an ad?
D. Great points. I only started writing fiction a couple of years ago. I did it because it was fun. The first year stayed fun, the second year, I went down the marketing rabbit hole, and I keep trying to climb back out. This is encouraging. Thank you!
Tell us about your other books on Amazon.
My other books are Echo, a four-book science fiction series that follows a warrior who’s pushed it as far as he can in a militarized dystopia, then embarks on a quest for personal transcendence. In addition to the robo-suits and high-tech pew-pew, I throw in a lot of psychic stuff and existential philosophy, although they don’t come into play until volumes 3 and 4.
Kor’Thank: Barbarian Valley Girl was my way of trying something new and branching into humor. It’s kind of like a long-form version of my ads, but it’s got heart and character development in it since it’s a full-length book.
I write books I want to read (or I would have wanted to read when I was younger), so after I covered the robo-badass stuff and the zany high school fun, I wrote a YA fantasy called A Door into Evermoor. Now that Dungeons and Dragons is cool and you can admit to playing it without being encircled and laughed at by trend-worshipping mouth-breathers, I’ll freely admit I played D&D as a kid.
D. Haha. One of the best reasons I’ve heard for writing a story!
What inspired you to write fiction?
I kind of stumbled onto it via a happy accident. I tried writing in my twenties, but I was like most writers where I couldn’t get past a premise or a couple of chapters. For some reason, I was able to do it in my thirties. I suspect it was because I had some life experience, but mostly because I was starting to understand the psychology behind a narrative–how a character’s personality should develop through a story, and how corresponding events should complement that development.
D. Another great nugget of inspiration. Thanks!
Which authors have inspired you most?
Stephen King, specifically his Dark Tower series, specifically the second volume, The Drawing of Three. The part where a gunslinger-knight from another dimension lies dying on an alien beach, then gets his first taste of Pepsi, is burned into my mind as the most viscerally impactful scene I’ve ever read.
Also, Robin Hobb and the first two volumes of the Farseer series, Assassin’s Apprentice and Royal Assassin.
Can you tell us about your works in progress, any ones you’re particularly fond of at the moment, and when we might expect to see them in print?
Right now, I’ve finished drafting the second volume of the Unbound Realm, which is called Weapons of Old. I’m deep in the edits, trying to work out the logic holes, spice up the descriptions, and kicking myself for not remembering to set up this or that for the next volume.
After that, I plan on writing volume 3, then tackling an extradimensional detective noir. The release dates depend on when I can do a smooth read-through without catching major problems. That typically means I can read through the entire book in less than a week without anything big jumping out at me.
D. I really appreciate getting some insight on your creative process. It’s helpful to glimpse how writers tackle the sheer volume of work that’s always in play.
Which of your characters is your favorite, and why?
I’m always biased towards whoever I’m writing about, so Jon from the Unbound Realm is my favorite at that moment.
What has been your biggest highlight of the last year?
My biggest highlight is finishing the first volume of my YA fantasy series. I’ve spent most of my life as an emotionally stunted, tough-guy meathead, so it’s nice to see that I can tap into the wonder and adventure I wished for as a kid. I never expressed it back then, so it’s nice to see it flow onto the page.
D. I think you just tapped into one of the many unexpected benefits of being a writer and thank you again for sharing your experiences.
What are you most excited about over the next year?
I’m excited to publish the second volume of the Unbound Realm, write and publish volume 3, then move on to my astral detective noir.
D. All the best on those endeavors. I love anything with noir, and that last project sounds super intriguing. Keep us posted!
Any parting advice for those who dream about becoming a writer, or starting up a blog?
Fun is the priority. There are better ways to make money. If writing doesn’t bring you joy, then the pain and inconvenience better be worth it in some other way–maybe fulfillment or pride or internal validation–but that’s not my approach. I think that’s similar to someone who stays in a miserable job so they can retire in their old age and enjoy a few years of not having to do a miserable job.
I used to idolize hard-chargers, folks who preached constant sacrifice and austerity, but now my role model is Keanu Reeves. From my perspective, that guy is a horrible actor, he’s kind of weird, and comes off as not the brightest, but it seems like he prioritizes enjoyment and stays true to his heart (he turned down Speed 2 and the buttload of money that came with it, looks for roles he likes, and cuts his salary to boost production he believes in). Success is nice, but if you’re outwardly successful and inwardly miserable, what’s the point? Whatever is outwardly happening to me, regardless of whether it meets someone else’s definition of miserable or happy, I’d like to honor my inner compass. I don’t want writing to become a horrible office job with loads of obligations and constant low-key anxiety. I’d like to be the Keanu Reeves of writing, if that makes any sense.
I’d also recommend learning how symbolism works through imagery and action (in cinema, smoking a cigarette almost always means the smoker is going to be self-destructive, and taking a shower almost always references some form of rebirth because the character is naked and drenched like they would be in a womb). Those are just artsy tools, however. I think understanding the hero’s journey–which Joseph Campbell does a great job of breaking down–is probably of utmost importance. The audience doesn’t want to see a guy just putter through life and never experience meaningful change; we see too much of that in our day to day. The advantage of a well-told story is you get to see the highlights of a character’s life.
D. That is the best ending advice I’ve had to date. If I didn’t have only twenty months left to retire and get my pension, I’d be out of that office so fast, my hair pins would be spinning! 😄 At the very least, I’m feeling a lot better about slow book sales and can focus again on the joy of writing them. Thanks so much for visiting with us on my Spotlight blog today. This has been a lot of fun. All the best to you, Kent.
You won’t want to miss this awesome conversation! Join me Sunday when I post my next guest Spotlight Q&A with Dark Fantasy Author and Editor, Anna K. Moss.