Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Most of you know that I won Amazon’s You Can Write a Dead Man Novel contest last year. The months between October – January were spent writing and editing it. If I’m being honest, I learned a lot from writing it, some of which I think most writers can either relate to or need to know.
Lee Goldberg and co. were very kind about pointing out a few of my flaws…flaws that have plagued me since writing my first short story at the age of 14. Among them…I’m too wordy. I tend to wax poetic when it’s not called for. I try to create back story that serves as a story in and of itself (this one, I will argue to my last breath, is often necessary and pivotal for longer works). When I try to write about someone collecting information or being smacked by insight, I tend to come off as too passive.
The great thing is that I have had these things pointed out by editors in the past. But with The Dead Man #18: Streets of Blood, these things were not only pointed out, but highlighted with blood and gore. Writing this book was perhaps my biggest lesson in reigning myself in when I wanted to get too wordy or experimental when it wasn’t called for. This book was equally odd to write because of its content. It’s one of the bloodier things I have written in a while. When you consider the fact that I was writing a faith-based suspense novel at the same time, it was a very challenging and eye-opening few months.
So, while researching parts of scripture for the faith-based novel, I was also having to research old morbid nursery rhymes for my Dead Man book.
I’m not going to lie…it was sort of fun.
So again, a big thanks to Lee Goldberg for helping me through the process. It was an intensive course in writing short novels while helping me to further cripple some of the mistakes that I still wrestle with in my writing.
The Dead Man #18: Streets of Blood will be released sometime in May.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Bill, Phoef, Lisa andI are experienced TV writer/producers so we are very comfortable with the "writer's room" process of hashing out the story as a group, analyzing every character motivation and story beat until we come up with all the moves of the story, which we layout on a white, dry erase board. It was a new experience for Kate and, to a lesser extent, for David, who has been part of a writer's room on some television projects in Germany (where his wife was a network executive).
The writer's room process is wonderful because not only do you benefit from the creativity of everybody in the room, but it also forces you to really explore, analyze and figure out all the angles of your plot and the motivations of your characters.
The group experience also forces you not to give in to the easy, lazy or cliche way of resolving plot and character issues...to go further and dig deeper. It means there are some inevitable frustration or disagreements, but it's all positive...because you end up with a much stronger, more-thought-out story.
It's my favorite part of the TV writing experience...spending hours, days and weeks in a room full of smart, clever, outrageously creative writers...all working to together to tell the best possible story.
Our writers room session for THE DEAD MAN went great. We first discussed character and our over-arching, creative goals for the book. Then we started talking broad plot points. Then we drilled down to the novel equivalent of the eternal TV question: "what do we want our act breaks to be?" (Or, in this case, the "cliff hanger" moment at the end of our six "episodes") And once we had that, we got into the nitty-gritty of the specific beats of each "act."
That's where the real work was. We hashed it out in spirited debates while eating lots of food (and, occasionally, diverging into discussions of lame plot points in SKYFALL and the last BATMAN movie. Do you realize Bond failed at *everything* he did in SKYFALL? He didn't do anything right. Still a great movie, though).
We got started at 10:30 am and by the time we finished around 5:30 pm, we'd plotted out the novel and felt great about what we'd come up with. Or, as one person in the room put it, we accomplished in one day what it would take an author by himself a month or two to figure out. It's going to be a kick-ass, standalone DEAD MAN novel that requires no previous knowledge of the series to enjoy...but that will also satisfy our loyal fans with a game-changing story that acknowledges past events, answers some long-standing questions, sends Matt Cahill in an exciting, new direction.
Now everybody is writing up their portion of the outline, which Bill and I will cobble together into one document and submit to our editors at Amazon Publishing's 47North imprint for their notes. Once we have their input, the authors will start writing.
I wish I had a writers room for my novels...
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
|Anthony Neil Smith|
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
In THE BLACK DEATH, Matt Cahill is stranded in small, Indiana town in the grip of a horrible plague…not a disease, but a deadly new form of crystal meth that is turning its users into black-eyed, blood-crazed monsters and that could be even more virulently evil than the touch of Mr. Dark. So Matt embarks on a harrowing quest, a journey into darkness and depravity, to find the source of the black death and destroy its makers before the drug, and the homicidal madness it creates, can spread to the entire nation.
Monday, October 8, 2012
One of the things that appealed to me about the Dead Man series was that it wasn't just empty meaningless gore. Sure it's violent, but it also explores the psychological repercussions of that violence, delving into the darker side of love, loyalty, and friendship. With that in mind, I wanted to use my own uniquely female perspective to highlight the complex emotional depth in the character of Matt Cahill without sacrificing the kind of gripping action that the series is also known for. And combining emotion with action has always been at the heart of my own hardboiled crime fiction. It was a perfect fit.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Our 13th tale, THE DEATH MATCH, by Christa Faust was published on Sept. 18th and is one of our fastest selling books yet. Readers are gobbling this one up, and for good r
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
DEAD MAN co-creator Lee Goldberg had the pleasure of calling writer Barry Napier to let him know that he'd won the "You Can Write a DEAD MAN Novel" contest. Today, he writes on the Kindle Daily Post about the call and his reaction to the news. Here's an excerpt:
I was stopped at a red light on a Thursday afternoon at a busy intersection with my family. As a mini-meltdown from my son in the back seat rose to a thundering level, my phone rings.
“Hi,” comes an unfamiliar voice on the other end. “This is Lee Goldberg and I’m calling to let you know that you’ve won the Write a Dead Man contest!”
I paused for a minute. My son kept screaming. With the look of shock on my face, I think my wife must have thought there was bad news on the other end.
“Oh, hi,” I said rather stupidly.
For the next thirty seconds, Lee went through some details, most of which I only caught fragments of. Feeling like an idiot, I could hardly speak when he was done. The light turned green. A good thing, too; it’s likely the only thing that unfroze me from the amazing news that I had yet to digest.
We're looking forward to working with him on his DEAD MAN tale, which will be published in early 2013.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Barry has published more than 40 short stories and poems in print and online. He is the author of the Everything Theory series, The Hollows, The Masks of Our Fathers, and Broken Nightlights, a short story collection. He has also had work published thought various small presses, including his novel The Bleeding Room, and two poetry collections. He has served as guest poetry editor of Inkspill Magazine and has recently completed compiling and editing the poetry anthology I Know What I Saw: poems of the unexplained.
You'll be seeing his book in the DEAD MAN series in early 2013. But you can get a sneak peek right now. His winning chapter is below.
Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
So we asked him about the book...and his writing career.
You're a two-time, Emmy award winner for your work writing & producing CHEERS, and you've written for such shows as BOSTON LEGAL, NEWHART and TERRIERS. You're one of the few TV writers who has been able to move between comedy and drama. Why is that so uncommon and how have you been able to pull it off with such apparent ease?
It’s just that I approach them all in the same way. As stories about characters involved in compelling situations. When you think of it like that, the specific genre or style doesn’t become paramount. The character’s journey is what matters.
How did your first novel come about? What did you think about the experience?
Writing is my work and my hobby, I wrote my first novel in my spare time, just to see if I could do it.
Not only are you a TV writer and novelist, but you've also written several feature films, like THE FAN and MRS. WINTERBOURNE. What kind of writing are you most comfortable doing? Or is it just enough to be writing?
I like all of it. Doing different things helps keep me interested; that’s one of the reasons I keep branching out. But of the three, screenwriting is the least friendly to the writer. In TV, the writer can be the boss, at least if he’s the showrunner, up to a point. In the novels, of course, the writer is the boss of everybody. Because he makes everybody up!
What attracted you to THE DEAD MAN series?
I’ve always wanted to write horror. I’m huge fan of that genre. Richard Matheson was one of my boyhood idols. For whatever reason, I’ve never gone in that direction professionally, so when Lee Goldberg mentioned this series to me, I jumped at the chance. Of course, Lee was himself another attraction – we’ve been trying to work together for years and this is first time we’ve had the chance.
What did you get out of writing THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL that you don't get from writing sitcoms, dramas, and movies?
There is one obvious thing you get out of writing novels that sets them apart from other forms of writing – no network or studio notes. You’re writing this mostly the way you want to write it. The other thing I love about fiction is the way it’s so easy to get inside your characters heads. You want to let the reader know what he’s thinking? You just write it. No need to resort to voice-over or character foils or narrative tricks. I revel in that!
What sets your book apart from the others in the series?
Some say it’s the humor. I can’t help but find comedy – in even the most dire circumstances. Not that the book’s laugh riot, but there is humor between the lines. Let’s say the narrator of the book has a wry sense of macabre humor. I also liked the narrative trick they used in the first book of flashing forward in time and I tried to use that as well. I think the narrative voice of this book is closest in the series to the original.
What were some of the challenges you faced writing the book?
Action scenes. I’ve never really done them before. And writing them is a real bear. Try writing “he threw a punch” in seventeen different ways. But I’m learning!
What's next for you?
I’m finishing a new novel – a bit of hard-boiled action called CRUSH. And I’m producing a comedy for TVLand, THE SOUL MAN. That should keep me busy through the summer.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Now's your chance to win a $500 advance, a $500 Amazon gift card, and a publishing contract to write your own tale in the DEAD MAN saga, which will be published in early 2013 by Amazon's 47North imprint.
HOW TO ENTER
WHAT ARE THE RULES?