Saturday, April 23, 2011
GUEST WRITER - B. R. STATEHAM
Question: How do you create a character who is as ice-cold as a cadaver when it comes to killing someone--yet one who actually posseses a conscience?
Or put it another way, in a sea of hit-men/assassin killer types found floating around face down in the dark waters called hardboiled, how do you create a character who is different. Different--unique--sympathetic.
A challenge. And that's putting it mildly. But one I wanted to try out one day on a kind of a spur-of-the-moment writing exercise. And . . . I'll be go to hell . . .what popped up on the screen was a guy named Smitty. Fully developed. Mean as back alley Wolverine with an aching tooth--with the black eyes of a pit viper who took in everything and anything in one glance. Reticent in speech--yet rather eloquent in his reticence.
One mean sonofabitch. That's Smitty. Yet . . .
Read the stories closely and you discover Smitty only takes out those justly deserving to be taken out. He's like the grim Angel of Death coming to collect his due among the miscreants and sadistic. And he does it spectacularly. Guns, poisons, explosives--even the front end of an F-150 Ford truck. It doesn't matter. When Smitty sets his eyes on you as his next prey--buddy, you're as good as dead.
Ah. But now, how to make him sympathetic? Make him someone from the dark side who you wind up willingly . . . or unwillingly . . . rooting for? Therein lies the McGuffin, as Alfred Hitchock used to say concerning his films. There's the catch that hooks the reader. And the answer is; I haven't a fraken' clue. It just happened.
One day Smitty was born in the back of my subconscious. He came out like some god of Greek mythology; sprung from the sea fully formed and magnificent to behold. But a god clearly hailing form the shadowy lands of Hades.
Take him for what he is, kid. The guy really does get under your skin and makes you want to read more about him.
BIO: B.R. Stateham is a fourteen year old boy trapped in a sixty-one year old body. His enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continues.
Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive. He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime. He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.
In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions. A Taste of Old Revenge is the second book in the series. At the moment we’re in a searching pattern to find a publisher.
In 2009 he created a character named Smitty. In 2010 a collection of Smitty stories, and a two-novella set came out featuring this dark eyed killer.
Married to a long suffering wife for a quarter century, B.R. Stateham is the proud father of three and doting grandfather of five.
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Thanks so much, B.R. for sharing with us some of Smitty's secrets.
If you would like to learn more about Smitty and B.R.'s other creations, head on over to his blog. You will find terrific stuff over there, including information about writing crime/noir, some of his stories, links to his books, and much more.
Just so you don't miss out on anything, why don't you go ahead and sign on to follow his blog. A few clicks and you will always be in-the-know.
Make sure you don't keep Smitty and the rest of the gang waiting...