Tuesday, April 20, 2010

S. W.'s Alter Ego Steps In

Hey everyone! Today I'm cheating with a repost from another blog, where my alter ego Sonya Bateman made a guest appearance. Have a good day!

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Hi there! My name is Sonya Bateman, I’m a brand new debut urban fantasy novelist, and I’m going to tell you all about my book (MASTER OF NONE – one unlucky thief, one unlikely genie, one very odd couple – now available everywhere books are sold, OMGZORZ *dies*), and about my fascinating, original, well-rounded characters, and where I got every last idea for every single scene, and check out this graph of my Amazon rank over the last 30 days, and here’s how I started writing when I was six months old – no, when I was still in the womb – and it’s always been my dream, and now I feel like Susan Boyle, and stars and rainbows and unicorns and are you bored to tears yet?

Good. Because what I actually want to talk about is torture.

Yes, I do love torture. Doesn’t everyone? The screams, the begging, the smell of blood and burning flesh...whoa, sorry. Channeling a little of the Six-Fingered Man there (how many points do I get for a Princess Bride reference? Do I get a bonus if I know his name’s Count Rugen, without even looking it up on IMDb?). Anyway, (I suppose) I’m not talking really-real-world torture here. Not even waterboarding. What I mean is the authorial right – nay, the obligation – to torture my characters.

Now, this is metaphorical torture, most of the time. My characters have to work their asses off for every victory. If some little thing’s going wrong, I turn it into a BIG wrong. When they take one step forward, I kick them ten steps back, and then preferably off a cliff. I made sure that the first sentence of my synopsis (“Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief”) was absolutely true. Nothing ever goes right for him. And the fun part is, he knows that. But he tries anyway.

Here’s a quick example. Donatti’s new “partner” (who hates his guts) has been shot and needs medical attention. A hospital’s out of the question – he’s a thief, and his partner isn’t even human. He calls his ex-girlfriend (collect from a payphone, because his cell’s been smashed and the motel operator doesn’t have change), who also hates him, because she’s close by and has some medical knowledge. She agrees, reluctantly, to come. Hooray! Help is on the way.

But when she shows up, it’s at the wrong end of a gun pointed in his face. Hooray? Yeah, maybe not.

When it comes to real torture*, sometimes I’ve got that covered, too. I’ve done some work that’s rather – er, not fit for commercial publication, in terms of screwed-up-edness. So, when I wrote this manuscript, I tried to tone down some of the graphic detail I might have otherwise included. While my agent and I were working on revisions, in the actual (as opposed to metaphorical) torture scene toward the end, she noted something like this: “Not that I’m advocating violence, but I think you should describe this torture more thoroughly.”

I replied (as I dreamed new and imaginative ways to hurt Donatti and describe his pain in greater detail): “This pleases me greatly.”

And she answered: “I suspected it would.”

See? Even my agent knows I’m disturbed. This pleases me greatly.

But I’m really a nice person in real life. I only torture my creations. That’s not bad. I mean, they’re just fictional characters. Right?

Er. Put that gun down, Donatti. You’re not a murderer. And no, you can’t make an exception for me.

*The “real” torture’s in the fiction, folks. I don’t actually own a dungeon. I just rent.

Find out more about Sonya at www.sonyabateman.com!

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Sonya (I guess I can call you that today, right? LOL) - I LOVED this post the first time I read it, and I'm looking at my copy of Master of None as I write this. It's such a wonderful feeling to share in your success, especially knowing how hard and rocky the road along the way happened to be. ;o) Congrats!!!!