Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Writer's Universe: Inside or Outside

I've been relegated to observer status of late. A serious leg injury has necessitated my inactivity, so I've had lots of time to think. That's a dangerous thing for a writer. An idle mind is the devil's workshop, my grandfather once told me. Or was it, an idol mind? Hmm.
Many an author these days creates amazing outer worlds, with non-human characters, places, intrigue, etc. Fascinating for readers, especially those inclined to science fiction/fantasy. I even took one fanciful line and twisted it into an erotic fantasy, Blue Streaks. In the end, however, I couldn't help doing an unconventional twist into an all too true, down to earth, climax.
On the other hand, I find that the world which teases and tempts me the most is the one on the inside. How a character thinks and feels is more important than the derring do's and heaving ho's of life's little adventures. For the most part, my readers will find flawed heroes who demonstrate redeemable characteristics, more seriously flawed villains with little to redeem them, and strong women who follow or lead their heroes through thick and thin. No weak women for me, for I've never found that they exist. Strong women gone wrong, now that's a different tune, one I'll pipe all day and all night.
All of which leads me to the reason for this post. Fanfare, if you please, maestro! The Evil Within will be released on Friday, January 27, 2012. In Evil, you'll find a flawed hero, Adam Watson, who demonstrates a tendency all too many men will find uncomfortably familiar. He thinks of himself as a good guy.
Well, he is a good guy. Problem is, he's also human, which means he's got some inside plumbing in need of a good cleaning. Not physical plumbing, but spiritual. Before this saga is done, Adam learns more about his family, his community, and himself than is comfortable. Sorry, Adam, that's the way it goes in my book.
We also have not one but a plethora (there's that word again) of strong women, all with character flaws, but with the feminine wherewithal to hold life's little drama together when the seams pop. There is Sarah Reynolds, Adam's married sister, whose application for sainthood is on hold. Kelly Samples, a girl older than her years by a coon's age, and Amanda Moore, Adam's high school sweetheart, who turns out to be full of heart, but not so sweet.
Have I got a villain for you to hate? In spades, I do, and his name is Ramos. He does not deserve a last name and doesn't get one. What he does get in the end is something for you to wonder about. Oh, and the end is anything but happy for all concerned. Hint: keep a box of hankies handy when you read the last portion of this one.
Is this some kind of irreverent code, I'm blathering here? Could be, but you won't know if you don't read the book. Caution: it is not for the faint of heart, or those with tender feelings easily hurt. This is an adult novel in the manner of a Steinbeck, Hemingway, Lewis, or, dare I say, a Twain. In my view, we can still learn a thing or two from the classic writers of old.
What's inside your favorite character? Your favorite villain? Your own head? Look out. I may be lurking nearby, hoping for a little insight into what makes you tick.
Fair warning!
Pat Dale


  1. Why, Pat! Now I know why we get along so well! You're not afraid of strong women! (Lots of men are, you know.) Yes, to me a book is made or broken by the characters. I don't care about impossible stunts and feats of derring-do if I don't give a flip about the characters. I think writers use their characters as exercises in psychoanalysis actually. We're analyzing both ourselves and those around us.

  2. Shhh... Don't give it away, darlin'.