Novel-Boosting Movie Scenes

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

the-road-warriorRight before I begin writing any major-length work, I do some important “stretching” exercises. No, not writing exercises; I do those nearly every day of the year regardless of what other projects I’m working on. This exercise is picking some DVDs off my shelves and queuing up a few key scenes that get me in the mood to tackle writing a novel. I don’t watch the whole movie (I usually don’t have the time), only a specific scene that does something to the synapses in my brain and makes me want to charge at the word processor and start slugging.

My list of favorite “inspiration scenes” has grown over the years, adding new films and picking up fresh selections from older ones. Most of these scenes are action pieces (considering what I like to write, this makes sense, but any sort of energy is beneficial for a writer) with a few odd bits mixed in.

Here are the scenes I have turned to over the last few years during the crazy days before I typed “Chapter One”:

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Conan the Reacher

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Charles Saunders

So, could a sword-and-sorcery icon like Robert E. Howard’s Conan ever tread the pages of modern mainstream fiction beneath his sandalled feet?

The answer is: for sure.

The Conan of today’s best-seller/mystery/thriller genre is a hulking former U.S. military police officer named Jack Reacher, the protagonist of a series of novels by Lee Child.

Over the past 12 years, Child — a native of England who now lives near New York City — has published a lucky 13 Reacher novels, with the fourteenth coming out early next year.  The first, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and Barry awards for best first mystery novel.  Since then, Child hasn’t looked back.  Neither has  Reacher.

Lee Child

Lee Child

The Reacher novels are, indeed, excellent mystery yarns replete with enough twists, turns and feats of ratiocination to do Sherlock Holmes proud.  But there’s an added dimension to the Reacher ouevre.  Not only is the protagonist smart as a whip — he’s also harder than nails.  Think Robert B. Parker’s Spenser on steroids.

Or … Conan with a SIG Sauer pistol in his hand.

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Progress Update: Black Gate 14

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Gate 14 goes to press this month.  It’s a big issue — including a Morlock novella from James Enge, the sequel to “The Face in the Sea” (BG 13) from John C. Hocking, and great new adventure fantasy from Martin Owton, Matthew Surridge, Pete Butler, Michael Jasper & Jay Lake, and many others.

Of course, that’s not all. Contributing Editor Rich Horton delivers another great retrospective piece, this one a detailed look at your best bets for quality reprints of Classic Fantasy, with spotlights on Baen Books, Paizo’s excellent Planet Stories, the SF & Fantasy Masterworks line from Orion/Gollancz, the Science Fiction Book Club, the esteemed Haffner Press, NESFA, and many more. 

We’ll also have our usual generous review features, as well as a very special Knights of the Dinner Table strip, as Eddie, Sara and Patty visit their first science fiction convention, and Eddie confronts Neil Gaiman for stealing all his ideas.

I hope to post a complete sneak peek, with artwork and story excerpts, in a few weeks. Stay tuned for further updates.  Here’s a look at the wrap-around cover to tide you over, from the marvelous Bruce Pennington:


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