Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 215 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis






You've decided to become a teller of tales, a writer of great (or just entertaining) fiction. A professional fibber. You have entered the realm of the maker-uppers! Okay, that was pushing it a bit, I know, but, essentially, that's what we all do when we become fiction writers. WE LIE!  But it's okay, because now you're lying for a living, or hoping to before the rent's due. Of course, in some circles, that's called running a con, but you're a writer and that's what you do. Which could be either a step up, down or laterally, I'm not really sure which.
When you make up characters your audience wants to believe in them. They want them to be true to their nature. As a matter of fact, if they were food they'd have to have the Food and Drug Administration's seal of approval for purity. Lucky for us reading material isn't covered under those regulations, or being a writer would mean never getting anything past inspection. Why? Does the ditty, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" bring it back to you?
So what the heck is with this paradox? Well, when we make up our protagonists, the readers expect them to be strong, honest, faithful, brave. A little inner conflict knocks them down to human size and makes us able to smile knowingly at their moments of doubt. But, for the most part, we expect the good guy to come with a white, or slightly off white hat, depending on the season and his/her accessories.
The same goes for our antagonists. They are there to be sneered at. They should be arrogant, conniving, brutal, and never say "please" or "thank you"! They might carry a riding crop, wear a monocle, and have a life time subscription to Better Towers and Dungeons. (Or was that your last therapist?) However, they should have some redeeming quality. It might be a back story about how they started out all sweetness and light but were turned by events into the total poops they are. Or they may have a soft spot for kittens or daffodils. Whatever it is, it should be there so that we almost get attached to them. Still, the sight of that well blocked black fedora should always be there to remind us of who we are dealing with.
It's a tight rope walk of wonderful delicacy. At first you'll be tempted to make up heroes and heroines, villains and villianesses, (Don't you love that word! Almost makes you want to check the Personal Ads.), who can't live up to their own image. The reader will soon vote with their feet because, like it or not, the good guys aren't even that good in holy scripture.
They also won't tolerate to much hocus pocus and moral chicanery. A twist here and there is okay, but even the conversion of Darth Vader to the dark side took more than one movie. Better to let pro's be pro's, and anti's be anti's, and mix things up with a little soul rending but overcomeable inner conflict. This is the pillow talk of fiction writing and how you eventually seduce your audience and get them to hang around for more. At least until they figure out that the typewriter gets more of your time than they do.
Just another helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Dane F. Baylis
"This one's over the freakin' line!"
"Your ass is over the line!"
"So's your mother's."
"Hey! Don't be sayin' shit about someones mother!"
The rules were written
In sunshine blasted strips
Between the blocks
Of deep tenement shadows
In the side streets
Off the busy avenues
In clean white t-shirts
Stretched over hairless chests
In the sound of life
In the neighborhood.
"Hey, Diane! Those yours or d'they come with the sweater?"
"Screw you, Ricky!"
"I can only hope."
"Play the game, scumbag!"
Tight blue jeans
Filter tips
And a six pack of Bud'
Under the bushes
The sweet taste of
Impending manhood
Girls in knots
With slender tan legs
Dancing short skirts
Their smiles swirling
Noon sun on windshields.
"Hey, Angie! Dance at the K of C on Friday?"
"Can't do it, Sean."
"Your ol' man still pissed?"
"He's gonna kick your ass!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
In spray paint
On school yard pavement
In the hot sun
On rooftop tar
In the sweat of young bodies
In secret places.
In promises
And lies
And hidden tears
And dreams of getting
Out of here.
"John T. Devlin!"
"In a minute, Ma!"
"Right now, Young Man!"
"Throw the ball ya lame-o!"
All of it
Written in the sting
The palm buzzing vibration
Of a stick ball bat
Your heart racing
Chasing that half-ball
In a clean
Hard driven arch
Out over the freakin' line
Because your dreams
Of sports cars
And houses on the North Shore
Are out there
Beyond the second manhole cover
In the home run zone
And are alive in the brag
That hides the knowing
The not knowing
If it was you
Or just the way it was written
In the rules
In the sunshine blasted strips
Between the blocks
Of deep tenement shadows
In the side streets
Off the busy avenues.
Any of my work I post here will be archived in the MY WORK/ MY LOVE Section of the blog, just as other writer's work is kept in the YOUR WORK/YOUR LOVE Section., love, write.
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
Dane F. Baylis

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