The Utility Of Raw Gore In Fiction (With A Sample)

dragon mockup

When I did theatre, the directors, most of them, were fascinated with the idea of raw, shocking emotion. They wanted to abuse the audience, essentially, and force many bodies to feel unexpected (and unpleasant) things.

Because They Thought It Made Them Powerful

Good theatre, of course, is like great sex; two people (one of whom represents the actors, and the other the audience) come together and do interesting things to each other, and end by feeling cozy and close in their hearts.

Yep, Victor, You’re Weird

There’s a clear emotional exchange; just as in sex, theatre can turn ugly very fast, and physical brutality, aggressive sexuality, and general indecency of language are the usual methods employed by terrible directors and shitty producers.

‘Cause They’re Not Classy

On the other hand, raw intimacy (hand-holding, bodies wanting each other, but not quite touching, the promise of a kiss without the act), choreographed violence (vicious fights, sudden actions, and vivid physical motion), and authentic sharing (true language, however swear-y) are the opposite, very good side of this potential bad, and make for glorious, unforgettable theatre.

Now, For Gore In Fiction

To see how you are handling your violence, sex, and coarse language, it is important to first examine the reason for it being there.

I imagine you’ve seen films before where a lady is unnecessarily undressed, or a person hits another for no other reason than that the director thought it would make things pop more.

Because Empty Action Pads The Script (I’m Serious)

Shakespeare brought heads onstage, and severed limbs; he gored out eyes, and openly referenced incestuous rape and the dismemberment of women and children. One of his plays occurs almost entirely in a brothel, in fact, but you will find, in any worthwhile production of Shakespeare, that there is no immodesty in his language, or in his actions directed for the stage. (Embedded stage directions; it’s a long story.)

People Who Ruin Shakespeare Should Be Given Paper Cuts On Their Faces

People, shitty people (yeah, I’m looking at you, buster-oldy George) love to mangle Shakespeare, to add brazen fondling and breasts, and weirdly orgiastic violence that is not in any of the plays. They also like to add little scenes–to make the action more realistic, or more compelling to the modern viewer, they think.

All Of Which Sucks, Almost Always

Now, on to the subject of the day (or night, as the case may be): raw gore, and the manipulation of flesh in the service of whole fiction, is cathartic and pure, when it is handled with grace and modesty.

The Greeks, for all their blatant phallic pieces, had dignity and respect for suffering in many of their tragedies. The purpose of Oedipus putting out his eyes, and Jocasta hanging herself, is to bring the audience to a pitch of pity and existential terror.

The Bringing Of Emotional Climax Is The Function Of Fiction

And now, since the Greeks and Shakespeare do not always scratch the itch of contemporary genre fiction, here is some blood, and a bit of gentle violence.

A Sample, As Promised

Ethan the cyborg, having cut his metal down, is carving up a couple of his fellows, and stealing their alien inserts. Observe:

“What you are holding is a base insert,” Ethan said, grimacing as he began to wedge the other cyborg’s insert into his own thigh. Mary’s eyes widened, and her lips parted. He seemed to be working the insert in between his own muscles; the shape of his thigh moved in deeply unnatural ways as he worked. “I already have base inserts; I need the top pieces.”

“You put your top pieces into me,” Mary guessed.

“Not all of them, but some,” Ethan said with a smile.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” she demanded, watching him force the end of the insert deeper into his upper thigh.

“Not as much as you’d think. You get pretty numb, after the first four dissections,” he said. He made a small sound, like a tense man relaxing into a bath, and the insert folded neatly into the top of his thigh. Ethan sighed and pushed the bottom of the piece the rest of the way into the slit. Mary thought that it was like watching someone try to move a large piece of furniture through a narrow doorway; first the top made it in, and then the bottom was swiveled and forced into the opening.

“Are you all right?” she asked. She began to feel increasingly squeamish.

“I’m fine,” Ethan said. The insert went in with a strange click, and he extended his leg with a deep sigh.

“And now the next one?” Mary asked. Ethan’s restored leg looked oddly out of proportion to the rest of his reduced body. He began to cut open the second cyborg’s other leg, and Mary went to the first cyborg and stared down at his open eyes. “What about them?” she asked. The squelch of the knife in the second cyborg’s leg made a wet echo in the corridor.

“What about them?” Ethan asked. He put the knife in again, and then again.

“He’s still alive, isn’t he?”

“He’ll be dead soon,” Ethan said, as if commenting on the weather.

“But he’s a person,” Mary replied. She felt a hollow outrage, and she could not bring herself to do anything about it.

“They aren’t people, Mary. I keep telling you that. I’m not a person, either.”

“You’re a person,” she said angrily.

“Well,” Ethan amended, working his hand into the cyborg’s leg, and beginning to wrench the insert loose, “I wasn’t a person before I met you.”

“I think you’ve always been a person. And I don’t know what you mean by saying these men aren’t people. They’re alive.” Mary felt a hot flush of fear and anger on her neck; she felt powerless and irritated, and she didn’t know how to stop the bloody work and still get the old Ethan back. “Can’t we use the dead bodies of the other cyborgs?” she asked.

“No,” Ethan said.

“Why not?” she asked.

“I would have to prime the metal,” he said. His voice made a squeaking whine in the middle of the words; he had freed the top of the insert from the cyborg’s base now. Mary took the bottom piece, and Ethan pushed the top of the insert into his other thigh.

“That looks so painful,” she said. The two insert pieces she held were hot and slick in her hands; she found, quite suddenly, that she didn’t mind the blood, but she minded the heat.

“It’s very good to get my old shape back,” Ethan grunted, working the metal deeper under his muscles.

“What do you mean when you say you’d have to prime the metal?” Mary asked. The top of Ethan’s new insert locked into place, and he began to work over the bottom half.

“To prime the metal means exposing it to blood, and live pain,” he said. His voice still sounded tinny and strange.

“Why do you sound like that?” Mary asked. Ethan groaned, and forced the rest of the insert into place. He stood upright, and looked down at himself.

“That’s better,” he said. He sounded ready to laugh with giddiness. “I have deep machines running, to keep my inserts open,” he told her.

And So,

Interestingly, tasteful swearing, and modest use of nudity, violence, and raw language and action opens the reader’s heart, and makes them receptive to the story, and the characters. I am not in any way suggesting that you take your gore out; in fact, you probably need more of it, and the other things.

What I am saying, most emphatically, is that the gore must serve a core plot purpose, and be fully justified. Gratuitous violence, and all the rest, cheapen your work. If you need to cut someone’s head off, and prance around the page with the blood, make sure you’ve paid for the privilege of violence with narrative context.

Gore is a necessary part of deeply-cathartic fiction, but just as in deeply intimate bonding, respect for your partner (in this case, the reader) is paramount.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I have to rewrite almost the entirety of my cyborg sequel, because Vicard turned interesting, and developed unexpected backstory that I now get to incorporate through the threads of the previous parts. Reading my self-published fantasy series is almost guaranteed to make your editing-brain bleed; you’re welcome.

Advertisements

Adding Intoxication And Arousal To Your Novel

5next one

Look, guys, I’m talking about sex again! (This is a study I made of a whale. There are cute little silver fish, too; you can just see their fins and tails.)

That Time When I Worked In Theatre

So a long time ago, I started directing shows. Super small time, you haven’t heard of me, there’s very little evidence. But I was good. So good that old ladies and mid-level managers occasionally tried to throw free marketing at my face after they saw me work.

You Fool, Victor! Everyone Needs Free Marketing!

Yes, yes, I know, but I was working on something much more important than “big success right this very minute!”, and pushing growth without a foundation is really dumb, and a good way to destroy your long-term career.

I decided to think long-term very early in my life. But we aren’t talking about my childhood right now; we’re talking about sex. Ha ha! What a segue, am I right?

Shakespeare And The Sexy Bits

He had them everywhere, didn’t he? Shameless, but oh so effective. Here is Dick, the serial killer, worming his way into Lady Anne’s knickers:

ANNE. Thou was’t the cause, and most accurst effect.

RICHARD. Your beauty was the cause of that effect:
Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleepe,
To vndertake the death of all the world,
So I might liue one houre in your sweet bosome.

ANNE. If I thought that, I tell thee Homicide,
These Nailes should rent that beauty from my Cheekes.

RICHARD. These eyes could not endure y beauties wrack,
You should not blemish it, if I stood by;
As all the world is cheared by the Sunne,
So I by that: It is my day, my life.

ANNE. Blacke night ore-shade thy day, & death thy life.

RICHARD. Curse not thy selfe faire Creature,
Thou art both.

Here we see Richard retreating while saying intimate things, right up until Anne rushes at him in anger. Then we see Richard step smoothly up into her face and get too close and too calm. This is a recipe for an insta-crush, which Anne immediately develops (and is understandably upset and confused by).

Predators, Honor, And Romance

People usually vilify Dick, seeing as he cuts short the lives of several people in this play, but Richard is an honorable man and uses his pure soul to attract Anne into loving him (she dies in misery because of him, but she is super-duper turned on anyhow).

How, might you ask, is Richard honorable? You know, seeing as he kills a whole bunch of innocents and then does his best to secure a little girl as a second wife.

The Devil In The Character

Shakespeare does something wonderful in his plays; he writes on occasion about honorable men who fall (or are led) into evil ways, and he marks their progress pretty studiously. For example, Claudius (Measure for Measure) is not a bad guy when he is imprisoned; he has gotten Juliet with child, but they entered into a common law marriage, which was an acceptable practice at the time. He turns into ugly places when he tries to pimp out his sister to save his life, but he is not quite a murderer.

Dickie, on the other hand, pushes and lies to get people to murder each other. He doesn’t, as far as I recall, shed blood by his own hand until the end of the play, which is when the darkness overtakes him and he becomes genuinely evil.

Darker And Darker

But, you may exclaim, you promised to talk about sex today, Victor! And now I will explain what growing towards evil and sexuality have to do with each other.

You see, romance–that genuine, fluttery, hot-flashing, touch-me-now feeling–springs from the exchange of internal energy between honorable beings.

What Do You Mean By Honor, Victor Poole?

When a man or a woman extorts intimacy from the body of another, romance dies, and the interaction becomes abusive and ugly. When, on the other hand, the exchange of internal self is autonomous and self-willed, romance abounds.

The more volitional the exchange of selves, the stronger the heat of sex. Now for some examples of what I mean (because intoxicating writing generally does well, commercially).

Examples

Bad Writing:

Valerie hung sheepishly behind the butcher’s; she heard someone coming, and held her breath. Old man Hans came around the corner. He laughed when he saw her, and winked; she ducked her head and studied her books.

“You’re following that young man again,” Hans said.

“Am not,” Valerie said.

“You’d better hurry and slide against him then,” the old man sneered, and he patted Valerie’s arm with his gnarled hand. She waited for the old man to go away, and then went and looked at the bridge.

Frank was standing on the crossing, one leg stretched forward and both arms on the stone balustrade. His dark hair fell in thick curls over his neck. A bouncy woman was just beside him, her hand laid on his arm.

“We’ll see about this,” Valerie growled. She put her shoulders back and stalked towards the pair.

Good Writing:

Valerie waited around the corner; she heard approaching footsteps, and held her breath. Old man Hans came into view; she ducked her head and pretended to arrange her books.

“Morning,” Hans said.

“Mm,” Valerie agreed. Her heart throbbed painfully in her chest. She waited for the old man to hobble away, and then crept to the edge of the wall and peered around the bricks.

Frank lounged on the bridge, one knee knocked forward and both arms stretched along the stone balustrade. His skin was like sun-kissed gold, and his dark hair fell in thick curls over his neck. Bridget O’Malley stood in front of him, her whole body hooked forward, as if she thought she would magnetize the young man into falling on top of her.

“Hussy,” Valerie said under her breath. She put a wide smile on her face and swung around the corner, her bundle of books slung carelessly under her arm as she approached the bridge.

Fledgling arousal and romance is best built up by scrupulous attention to the freedom of interaction between the soon-to-be-smooching characters. Extortion kills romance, (and is great, if carefully used, for thrillers and scary bits), and autonomous sharing of the inner self is what builds the anticipation.

You’re reading Victor Poole. There is a good bit of kissing in the last few books of this series. Here is the picture I used for my whale study.

Why Your Point Of View Needs A Subterranean Motive

Caleb NEW

This is a cover I’m designing for an update to my sci-fi thriller, My Name is Caleb; I am Dead. I got a great review for the book from Taylor Morrison, and I’m softening up towards commercialism in my cover designs. I wanted to fully embrace commercial appeal from day one, but I didn’t know how. I am approaching market viability one step at a time.

I didn’t realize that I’d neglected to update the interior of the book with Vellum, so that’s also in the works.

In Other News

The ‘a’ key on my laptop has worked loose, and refuses to adhere properly to the little hook parts underneath. I am training myself to type gently over the key so that it doesn’t pop off with every vigorous ‘a’ stroke.

Funnily enough, this quirk has made me grow fonder of my laptop. I have one of the MacBook Air laptops with the shredding power cords. I was patching it diligently with electrical tape, but my beloved spouse, observing the sticky and disintegrating cord, carried me forcibly to the Apple store and bought me a new one.

Now, Ulterior Motives For Point Of View

Your novel is necessarily written from one point of view or another; I tend to favor third person omniscient, but there are many kinds of point of view, and they are all good for achieving different effects. What we are talking about today is the message relayed by the style of point of view. What are you telling your readers, subtly, about the overall meaning of the story?

Every book relays a conglomerate of messages; the most long-lasting and impactful communication is that portrayed by the overall implications of the point of view. We’ll look now at some broad examples, to give you an idea of what I mean.

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is (mostly) written from a bemused, factual third-person omniscient point of view that gives the novel as a whole a sense of inevitable absurdity and reverence; the novel mourns for, judges, and prods acerbic fun at the characters.

Agatha Christie

Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, on the other hand, embraces a first person, past tense point of view, which turns out wonderfully in the final chapters when you find out the doctor’s been (spoiler, spoiler, spoiler). In this book, the subterranean message is one of deceit, danger, and false jollity. The book would lose much of its marvelously eerie, suspenseful quality without this point of view. The underlying message, that of the intensely personal and permanent nature of homicide, makes the scenes excessively memorable.

Victor Hugo

One more example is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you haven’t read the unabridged novel, you’ve missed most of the point of the book, which is a third person omniscient impassioned ode to the architecture of Paris. Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and the emotionally impoverished Frollo are incidental to the main story, which is a very long and loving treatment of the city. This point of view creates a backdrop against which the characters move like miniatures picked out against an expansive landscape.

What Does Your Point Of View Say?

Books that have no second or third meaning, and that do not contain an overt message about life, art, and humanity, are books that do not last. The best and surest way to convey such a message is like this:

Examples:

Message: Life is hard, and people are corrupt inside.

Point of View: First person, present tense

I’m getting ahead of myself. I started to tell you about the day that I died. It was an afternoon, of course, broad daylight. Not at all the sort of scene you imagine, when you picture yourself dying suddenly. I always thought I would go in a car accident, if I died early. I hadn’t even found a girlfriend. It was incredibly ironic. I’d gotten away from my parents, I had a house that I almost owned, and I was current on my taxes. Plus, I’d just gotten a raise at work, and my boss liked me. I thought it was one of the best days of my life. Well, I wasn’t thinking right at that moment, this is the best day of my life, but I did have that feeling of something really great starting. I felt like I had been digging my way out of a deep hole, and I’d finally reached the surface and started to make some kind of genuine progress, and then Bam! Dead. Heart failure, or something. You don’t really find out, when you die like that, and are taken up right away. You don’t find out what it was that killed you. I suppose most people do some sort of hovering deal, you know, their soul hanging around over their corpse for a few days before they figure out that it’s time to move on. I would’ve found out what killed me, if that’d happened, because the ambulance would have come, and the people would have said to each other what killed me.

This is a passage from a book I’m writing about a young man who is enslaved by a goddess, and made to act as an undead guardian to humanity. This example is tricky, because it almost reads as first person past tense, but it is technically present tense, as Paul is speaking in the moment and telling the story.

I think I need to talk myself down from trickiness. I am apt to be too complex. In the meantime, here is another example:

Message: People are good inside, and honesty always pays off.

Point of View: Third person, past tense

Going inside the castle, she rummaged in the junk room until she located a putty knife. She took it out to the front steps and began scraping the wall until she hit smooth stone.

“Much better,” the princess said. The blackened goop peeled away in reams of thick, greasy sludge that dripped and seemed almost alive.

“No, no, please, oh please, no,” groaned the voice from the door. “Not my beautiful lovely sludge! I have been cultivating that sludge for decades, and now you mean to peel away my protective skin with a putty knife? What kind of a princess are you?”

“A cleaning princess,” she said, and got to work with the putty knife. After a few minutes she had cleared a sizable chunk on the wall, and she retrieved her rag, rinsed it clean, and scrubbed the stone. “That’s more like it,” she said, as she saw clean, bright white stone emerge.

And Now, For Contrast, A Terrible One

Before I jump into the bad example, remember that when you choose no message, your message is chosen for you by your psychological precedents. A message will be conveyed, whether or not you formulate one. Is it not better, particularly in the realm of art, to make a choice, and control the emotional outcome as far as you are able?

Bad Writing:

Message: I’m a super cool storyteller, and my readers love me!

Point of View: Psh! I don’t need a point of view! I’m a genius!

The house was dark; she held the phone against her chest, waiting until the time arrived. I knew he would come for me, even though there wasn’t any light to see by.

I’m outside the house, and there are no friends with me this time. I’m going to get that magical necklace she’s got. I don’t know where she got it from. It’ll be mine soon.

Her heart beats, and her knees shake. She doesn’t want to open her eyes.

I open the door. Then I realize I can’t, because it’s locked.

I hear the doorknob jiggle. My opening eyes take in the light from the desktop alarm, and the modem blinks. They aren’t afraid. Not like I am.

He goes to the window, and tries the casing.

Today’s Takeaway

The point of view that you choose inevitably creates a rhetorical framework, and determines the most lasting impression your story will leave on the reader. For example, in my very long and gradual fantasy series, the point of view is third omniscient, past tense, and the framework, the purpose of the novel and the overall message is about sex. Ajalia starts out as a severely-traumatized woman, and the whole impetus of the nine books, the through-line, is her sexual development. The moment she can get busy with Delmar, the story ends, because the point of the story is that sexual trauma is real, lasting, and possible to work through and heal from.

Well, Victor!

I’ve said this before, but I used to work every day with actors, and I found that every single one of them (yes, really) had severe energy blocks through the pelvic cradle. They could not bring their true selves onto the stage, and they could not mate. Their creative selves were almost completely obliterated. More to the point, they were incapable of love.

What Do You Mean, Incapable Of Love?

This problem fascinated me. I chose a female protagonist (Ajalia), because the damage in the women was incredibly worse than than in the men, and I framed the series as a practical exercise in releasing and integrating pelvic trauma. I gave Ajalia a perfect energy match (Delmar), and I went to work on their bodies.

The book unfolds slowly, and gently, because opening and integrating the pelvic cradle is delicate work, and it is dangerous. The characters heal, one piece at a time, and the series ends with a satisfying fade out on the wholly-integrated Delmar and Ajalia about to finally have sex.

The Ultimate Fade-To-Black

There’s a good deal of kissing, and even more talking, but the purpose, the sole motivating factor in the series, is real sex. By real sex, I mean sex in which both partners are whole, complete, and volitional in the practice.

The next time I produce a show, and I end up with three young women sitting forlornly in my living room and asking me to teach them how to date, I will be ready. And the next time I have a probably-gay actor following me around like an abandoned puppy, I shall have something more useful to offer him (because I cannot adopt the whole world, or my entire cast).

And Yes, Actors Have Tried To Move In With Me

The biggest obstacle in the past has been time; I can heal individuals, but the work often takes weeks, if not months, and everything moves like sludge because the subject has to understand what is happening in order to maintain the new energy forms after I’m out of the picture.

Because If Healing Doesn’t Last, It Does More Harm Than Good

Therefore, I wrote an extended analogy. If I meet an actor who is damaged, and longing for more, I can hand off a tidy pile of novels, and then have a ready lexicon for the eventual dialogue and individual work to follow.

This type of thinking may appear ludicrously long-term to some of you; I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t. I am satisfied with all of my preliminary trials of the novels; they appear to function as I intended them to. You, of course, are welcome to try them out yourself, but be warned that they are rather long, and will make a lot of anger and heat rise through your physical shell. Releasing old injuries often manifests as sudden rage, or as a fever.

You’re reading Victor Poole. Don’t buy Caleb until I’ve updated it, okay? And many thanks to Taylor, who took the time to read and review my science fiction novel!

Why Re-Writing Your Novel Doesn’t Work (And What To Do Instead)

cody-davis-259003

I just finished another cleaning sweep through the first two books in my fantasy series. I caught a couple of typos, and several phrases I wanted to tweak a bit. I think I cut one sentence this time. I get the impression, from reading about other writers, that I edit differently to everyone else.

Most Of You Chop Things To Bits, I Hear

I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but a couple of years ago I wrote a novel. It’s one of my editor’s favorites, but I haven’t published it yet. I thought, when I wrote it, that I would need to cut it all to pieces and rewrite it from scratch. I even tried to do this, several, several times. Having been around the creative block more than once, I had the perspicacity to save a copy of my original draft.

Months Passed; I Hammered At Re-Writing

And the novel, you know, just kept getting worse. It was as though, with every new tweak and alteration, the heart of the writing skipped farther away from me. Finally, after months of “progress,” and feeling a little bit jaded from my seemingly-fruitless efforts, I pulled up my last-edited file and put it side-by-side with my original draft.

I’ve Learned This Lessen Several Times; It Didn’t Stick At First

I found, as I looked at the original and at my painstakingly-improved draft, that the story I had written down first was stronger, more playful, and contained within it an unbroken chain of impulses that drove the action forward.

My edited draft was like a cup of lifeless nails. There were words describing actions, but no heart within the writing, and no flow inside the plot.

The Impulses Are Key, Here

I’m an actor, and a director, and my job, in that area, is to unblock and link together organic, deeply-human, aesthetic impulses from within human bodies. In a way, I have an advantage over many writers because I’m approaching my prose with an eye to the overall performance aspect. I know how to follow organic impulses, and how to drive the action into the heart of a scene.

It’s Called “Getting Work Out Of People,” In Theatre

Getting work out of people means that I take actors and crack them open, artistically, and make sure they have the framework they need to essentially bleed, emotionally and spiritually speaking, on the stage in visually pleasing ways. There’s a reason acting is cathartic; it is the act of unearthing from within yourself a deep humanity, and offering it freely to the audience.

In Writing, I Get Work Out Of My Characters

When you edit your work, your natural impulse is to hide yourself behind an unbreakable facade of cleverness, emotional depth, and know-it-all maturity. This results in dead writing, in that no organic impulses are left inside the work. And no reader wants to read (see, consume) dead work.

Impulses Are The Life-Blood Of Performance

You may be over there thinking to yourself, “Yes, but Victor, you’re a nobody! You have lousy rankings on Amazon. You have a huge series that nobody reads. Are you an idiot?” You might be thinking that, and I’m not going to defend myself to you, because I’ve been around the block, artistically and business-wise, and I’m digging a foundation for myself. I have a plan. I’m aiming for long-term sustainability.

When You Edit, Make Sure You Aren’t Disrupting The Embedded Impulse-Chain

Editing while preserving the inside of the story, the throbbing chain of impulses that led you to write what you wrote in the first place, is very difficult. I’ve been studying the creation and preservation of impulses for almost fourteen years, and I still have to stop myself from tearing parts of my work to pieces. The desire to protect yourself, and to look invulnerable and perfect to others, is very strong.

Examples

Original Draft:

Bruno was the very first person to see the aliens arrive. They had spatial transponders, and vibrated into being on the sidewalks, and in the center of public parks. He had meant to be at work early that morning, but the cat had spilled his orange juice down his suit, and then the dry cleaners had a line, which Bruno thought was absurd at seven in the morning.

He had to wear his second-best trousers, and the jacket that was a shade too dark. He hoped the client wasn’t going to notice the difference, but today was the Fishars, and he was sure they would.

Bruno was just running down the steps to his first-floor lobby to unlock the case files when, with a crackle that threatened to shake the windows free of their moorings, a long, tall shadow of murky green appeared in the street outside.

Bruno went to the double doors, and pressed his nose to the glass. The shaking grew, and the shadow became solid. A row of brilliant red eyes, arranged in a wide circle around the being’s head, stared straight at Bruno; he dropped the keys, and they made a slight jingle when they hit the floor.

Destructive Editing:

Bruno saw them first. Their green discs in their hands seemed to be a machine that allowed them to appear at will.  They came first into the wide avenues and busy sidewalks of the city, each of them holding one of these ominous devices. Bruno saw them first, and he was immediately sure that the world was over. He saw them first because he had a series of unpleasant accidents through the morning, one of which involved juice and a busy dry cleaners.

His suit didn’t match, though the aliens would not care about that, and he had been in a knot of anxiety about his clients, the Fishars, who were picky about dress. They felt that the snazziness of their attorney merited respect, and Bruno dreaded the looks he would get from Mrs. Fishar in particular.

He was on the steps to the bottom floor when a buzz in the windows made him stop. A premonition in his spine made him look up, and he saw a weird smudge out the window. What could it be? It reminded him of his unpleasant childhood.

He went to the glass doors and looked out. The aliens looked like nothing he had ever seen before. He was sure the being was staring right back at him. He dropped his keys.

Excellent Editing:

Bruno was the first person to see the aliens arrive. They had spatial transponders, and they vibrated into being on the sidewalks, and in the center of empty roads. Bruno had meant to be at work early the morning of the invasion, but his cat had knocked orange juice down his suit, and when he brought the wet clothes to the shop around the corner from work, there was a line, which Bruno thought was absurd at seven o’clock in the morning.

Bruno had changed into his second-best trousers, and a jacket that was a shade too dark. Most of his clients weren’t going to notice the difference, but this afternoon he had the Fishars, and he was sure they would.

Bruno, keys in hand, was just running down the last steps to the ground floor to unlock the day’s case files when, with a crackle that threatened to shake the windows free of their moorings, a long, tall shadow of murky green appeared in the street outside.

Bruno saw the shadow; he went to the lobby doors, and put his hand against the glass. The vibration grew, and the shadow turned solid. Elongated limbs, lean with muscle and glistening green skin, supported a strange figure. The being was tall and thin, like a rod of coarse stone, and a flat head lay atop a narrow neck. A row of brilliant red eyes, arranged in a wide circle around the being’s head, stared straight at Bruno; he dropped his keys, which made a harsh jingle when they hit the floor.

You’re reading a blog by Victor Poole. My books are here. My cat, Rose, has been staring at the neighbor’s dog with her ears laid sideways lately; she looks like a small, furry window guardian.

The 7 Qualities Of Energetically-Whole Writing

cat-2273598_1280

I first realized that I could see auras when I was sitting in a darkened theatre on my university campus, studying the seniors performing their auditions final. I see movement of the energy field around bodies. If I concentrate, I can recreate within myself the sensation of being anyone else, as long as I have a picture or video (or real-life interaction) to work from.

Quality 1: The Writing Moves Forward At Or Above The Pace Of A Human Heartbeat

A lot of the time, it sort of looks like I can read minds.

There I was, watching Geoffrey perform monologues back-to-back. All the students in the class had to compile and then perform contrasting pieces from different eras and styles, and then they had to sing a funny song and a sad song.

Quality 2: An Inner Lining Of Burning Integrity In The Writing Cleanses, Or Scrubs, The Upper Layers In The Reader’s Energy Field

Geoffrey was singing the prince’s letter from Aida when things started to click into place for me; I could literally see, traveling through his body, flares of bright, animating energy. What is more, I could see when and where those flares were diverted and blocked by muscular tension around his solar plexus and in his arms.

Quality 3: A Steady, Rhythmic Diet Of Intensely Intimate Moments In The Writing Draws The Reader’s Trauma To The Surface Of The Body

Actors (well, all human beings) compensate for blocked impulses by creating facsimile emotions in many different ways–by raising their eyebrows, by thrusting out their jaws, by holding their breath, or by puffing up different parts of their major muscle groups (Geoff pulled back his shoulders and engorged his pectoral muscles when he felt exposed or vulnerable.)

Quality 4: A Consistent, Internally-Sound Moral Framework And Worldview Is Gradually Revealed Within The World Of The Writing

What does energy reading have to do with fiction? Soon after I finished high school, and about the time I started studying acting in university, it occurred to me that I was being overwhelmingly affected by the books that I read.

Quality 5: Deeper Traumas In The Reader Are Assigned Symbolic Meaning Within The Writing, And Isolated From The Main Personality Of The Reader (Which Is Bonded To A Pure Main Character)

Previous to this, I read pretty much anything. It was not uncommon for me to get through eight or more books in a week, depending on when I went to the library. As my energy-perception skills grew, I found that some books–Dante’s writing is notable here, as well as Mamet’s plays–degraded my own spiritual elements with unbearable toxicity. Some books were poisoning me.

Quality 6: The Symbols In The Writing Which Are Attached To The Deep Traumas In The Reader Are Systematically Cut Away And Destroyed Entirely, Thereby Purging The Damaged Energy From The Reader’s Energy Field

It took me a while to believe that this was happening. I stopped reading anything that slowed my own energy cycles (I have advanced internal machinery–one of the perks of being sensitive to impulse chains). When I stopped reading toxic fiction, I found that there were other books, not many, that enhanced my internal experience (Shakespeare and PG Wodehouse are the most notable examples of this).

Quality 7: Once The Energy Field Is Cleared Of Severe Trauma, New Energy Structures Are Constructed In The Reader By Symbolic Triumphs And Culminating Relationships Of The Bonded Main Character

I started reading more carefully, and as I continued to write, I began to experiment. I asked myself if I could alter another person’s energy through a written medium. I had, by this point, become remarkably adept at altering the sub-structures of other people’s energy fields in real time.

These 7 Qualities Are Incorporated Into Every Energetically-Whole Piece Of Writing

You see, I found that I could change people enormously while I was near them; I could, in fact, loan out massive amounts of my own cultivated energy, and then take it back after a time. I experimented twice with more permanent loans; these were disastrous, and I took my energy back.

 

A Convenient Summation

To sum up, the seven qualities of energetically-whole fiction are:

  1. The pace moves at or slightly above the speed of a human heartbeat.
  2. An inner layer of burning integrity from the author scrubs the upper layer of the reader’s energy field.
  3. The reader’s internalized trauma is pulled to the surface by rhythmically-spaced moments of intense vulnerability in the writing.
  4. An internally-sound moral ideology is gradually revealed through the world of the writing.
  5. Trauma in the reader is assigned symbolic meaning within the writing, and isolated from the main personality of the reader (which is simultaneously bonded to a main character).
  6. The reader’s trauma is cleansed as the bonded symbols are systematically and thoroughly eliminated in the fiction.
  7. New, constructive energy fields are built in the reader by symbolic triumphs or relational climaxes on the part of the bonded main character.

You’ve been reading Victor Poole. All seven of these qualities are incorporated into this series, which will cleanse and rebuild your energy field. Climate specialists probably think that reading Caleb on Mondays will probably save the rainforest.

The Creative Person’s Guide To An Integrated Energy Field

 

vincent-van-zalinge-38360

One thing that my friend Bryan found out when he started working seriously on acting was that his personal life, and his internal emotional mechanisms, kept interfering massively with his creative choices.

How Did His Personal Life Interfere?

The first time I worked with Bryan, he was developing a monologue for a class assignment. I think the monologue (if I remember correctly) was from the perspective of a man confronting his wife about an affair.

Beginning Acting

We, Bryan and I, were sitting under a set of university stairs. He was a teenager on the verge of adulthood, and I was a bristling-with-eagerness new TA. As we alternated between working the monologue and discussing his acting process, the following observations occurred to me:

  1. Bryan’s mental life had long ago outstripped his emotional life.
  2. Bryan’s father had shaped his views of women in a manner that distorted his potential creative process
  3. Though I could create a bridge between my knowledge and Bryan’s abilities, thereby increasing his present skill, his own internal mechanisms were currently incapable of retaining the improvement.

What Happened To Bryan?

I taught Bryan for about a year and a half, and directed him in several small productions. He, being tall, dark, and the possessor of effective and brooding eyes, was then seized upon by a corrupt professor, and put into a more prestigious production, where he promptly lost his head and fell completely out of touch with genuine creativity.

Ah, Politics, and the Seduction of Flattery

If I could go back in time right now, and sit again with Bryan under the university stairs, I would not make any kind of bridge between my abilities and his talent. I could transform him, for any number of minutes, into a seemingly-advanced actor. I have the ability and the know-how to crutch up any receptive body into apparent genius for a moment or two, long enough for the delivery of a monologue.

But experience, and the wisdom of failure, has shown me the ultimate futility of such assistance. If I could go back in time, to the beginning of Bryan’s acting journey, this is what I would do:

  1. I would unearth his emotional life, and guide him into articulating his primal state of being.
  2. I would guide Bryan into an understanding of distorted child development, and isolate the moment when he deviated from healthy growth and integration.
  3. I would abandon Bryan to his own skill, and allow him to act from the place of the last cohesion of his integrated self.

What Does That Mean?

It is possible, and exceedingly common, for a person to halt in some area of their development and integration as a human being. For example, many grown adults secretly carry the emotional sophistication of a child, and they compensate for stalled development by an overdeveloped intellectualism. Big words cover young feelings, as it were.

Where’s My Guide To An Integrated Energy Field?

Try this brief experiment. Your subconscious is much more aware than you might give it credit for being; if you pose pertinent questions, and keep an open spirit to the answers that your mind will immediately supply, you can learn much about your total integrative qualities.

Answer these questions in your own mind, and keep fear and self-hatred to a minimum in the process:

  1. At what age did you last feel complete peace and wholeness through your body?
  2. What moment ended that sensation of wholeness?
  3. Imagine your intellectual self (words, thinking, reflective ability, and self-awareness), your emotional self (surges of feeling in your center, images and colors that flow through you), and your intuitive self (your ability to picture the future, or predict outcomes from actions or possible scenarios) as being three separate beings within you. Look at each of these three selves, and ask yourself, how old is my intellectual self? My emotional self? And how old is my intuitive self?

When you have answered these questions, you may have found that there is a disturbing disparity between the ages of your internal parts of self.

A wide gap, or stalled development in one or more of the areas of internal selfhood, or firmly-established boundaries between elements of the self, will create enormous and unavoidable disruption in the creative process.

What Do I Do With This Information?

When you gain perspective on the current status of your inherent parts of self, you also gain power over your future. The ideal, in the human performative instrument, is holistic integration of the energy field; this integration is achieved through matching the development of each area, and through the removal of permanent barriers between the parts of self.

If your emotive self is stuck around the age of four, and your intellectual self is thirty-six, your creative work will be dry, like an empty husk. It may be painstakingly beautiful and technically accomplished, but it will not bring genuine joy or a sense of unity and sharing to your audience.

If you are emotionally sophisticated, having developed normally in that part to the age of forty-two, but your intuitive capacity was stalled at the age of two, your creative work will appear dead to your audience. There will be no magic or danger in the execution of your powers.

A melding of the parts of self, and a unity, a harmony between the stages of development, will lead to creative performance that intoxicates and enlivens the reader.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I wrote a series of books that will integrate your disparate parts of self as you read. Wednesday is really fun to say like this: Wed-NEZ-day.

Should You Work Really Hard Or Coast When You Write?

A lot of people (okay, almost all of them) believe that writing is really, really difficult. When you go looking for inspiration, or encouragement, the ranks of writers, amateurs, and in-between professionals shout out a pretty unanimous chorus of “It’s SOOOO hard, you have no idea!” Then they add in, snidely, I am sorry to say, that you will probably not succeed, and that you better be writing because you love it, and not because you want to get anywhere as an author.

Ahem.

I shall now mount up on my soapbox (which is made out of wood, and painted with block red letters: Freshie’s Wholesome Soap: Gets Anything Clean!) and speak in a motivating manner to you, kindly internet stranger.

Isn’t Writing Really Hard?

Writing is easy. Performance is hard. Building a competent, grounded world-view, and a functional set of internalized morals, is time-consuming and usually painful. But writing, the actual act of sitting down and telling a story, or outlining and then following your plan, is remarkably easy. This, I think, is why there is so much angst and confusion among writers who try and fail to succeed.

Yeah, Well What Do You Know, Victor?

I actually know a lot. I’m probably the most competent energy analyzer you’ll ever encounter (I know, that sounds like a made-up title to make me sound interesting, doesn’t it?). But for the sake of (brief) argument, I’ll list out some of my qualifications. Eh, on second thought, I’ll just tell you what I was going to tell you. (If you care, trawl back through my blog history; you’ll get an accurate picture that way.)

You’re A Weasel, Victor Poole!

Squeak, squeak (or whatever noises weasels make). Oh, I went and saw the new King Arthur movie; it was really good. If you like epic fantasy, get thy backside to a theatre and see it on the big screen; the elephants are magnificent.

Tell Me About How Writing Is Easy

I know, I just love to hear myself talk. Back to writing! Most people don’t understand the transaction between a writer and a reader, and consequently, when the writer takes up the pen, metaphorically speaking, and composes a piece for sale, he or she often fails entirely to hit the mark. It is generally a failed effort precisely because of a larger issue, like a lack of consistent moral framing, or a blocked personal energy carriage (such as a capped pelvic cradle, or an infected energy mask behind the face). These problems are not acknowledged as real in mainstream society, and so the would-be author applies him or herself diligently, and repeatedly comes up against failure.

Actually, I’ve Seen That Happen, Too

It is a fairly ubiquitous experience, the seeing of the would-be artist flailing forever in apparent mediocrity. Talent cannot compensate for dysfunctional performance, and passion and hard work will never replace the value of a coherent value system. All the writers, save a very few, are looking in the wrong direction, and they feed within each other the belief in “the death of art,” or the “decline of the modern reader,” or even of “the way e-books have jaded all readers forever because there are too many books!”

But All Of Those Things Are Happening

No, they aren’t, but it would take me months of delving through your particular energy-carriage to convince you of this fact, or to change your flow.

Now I’m Offended! I’ll Leave Your Blog!

Cool beans, fellow internet-being, cool beans. But remember that soon, soon I will be validated, because my own flow structure will be completed, and I will conquer, as it were, the English-speaking world. (You know, until I start working with translators.)

You’re So Cocky! I Can’t Stand It!

Go to a writing advice forum, or a critique site. Or go to any internet space, or any physical book on publishing or writing from a library, and read for a bit. If you look very carefully, you will find one percent of successful writers (as in, writers who make a living from making words) who openly admit that they work very little on their writing. You will find these same one percent writers openly admitting to lying about working harder, and you will hear a seemingly-endless barrage of advice from successful writers all saying the same types of things:

  • It’s really hard
  • Almost no one “makes it”
  • You’ll never make money
  • Do it for love
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Are They All Lying?

It’s okay, they have to lie. Actors do this, too. When they’re young and naive, successful actors tell the truth, but they swiftly learn that to be honest in a performing career is very foolish. Telling the truth generally gets you yelled at, harassed, and shunned by other workers in the art world.

Aren’t You Telling The Truth, Victor?

When you approach your writing, think carefully. Are you focusing on the areas of your work that are weak, or are you running in circles around low-impact craft-improving zones? Because if it’s the latter, you’re not going to see as much progress as you’re hoping for.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books will be live and beautified in the next few days, so wait to buy them. Scientists say that reading Intimate Death on Wednesday is good for your psychological health.