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DCEU: Writing to the Negative Space

15 May

Some friends and I were having a conversation about Batman v Superman recently, and the topic turned to the Robin suit that is seen in the batcave, along with the mention of Harley Quinn being involved with the death of Robin in Suicide Squad.

While a lot of people feel that the Robin story should have been explored a lot more, I took a different approach to this. The way I see it, the Robin story is doing exactly what it should be doing. It’s occupying the negative space of the story. The characters on screen are influenced by what happened, they’re circling that story and feeling that story, while not directly addressing it on screen. And this is an important lesson.

Too often, writers will feel that they have to explain everything to the audience. Doing this comes at a price. Rather than creating a world that is full of lives and stories that inform the people that we’re seeing on screen, they are creating a narrow story that only exists within the limited view that we see.

Robin tells us that Batman has lived a life. He has been fighting this war for a long time, and he has seen some horrible days. We know that Batman isn’t just brooding and angry because of the loss of his parents when he was a child. He is struggling because no matter how hard he fights and how many times he puts criminals in prison, it never ends. Fighting that war doesn’t bring his parents back and it doesn’t stop Robin from dying.

Without that suit, Batman is just angry and brooding because he’s Batman. He’s dark for the sake of being dark. By not directly showing us that Robin story, it doesn’t become about just that one thing. It becomes a lifetime of struggle, rather than moments of struggle. Sometimes, being specific and showing everything only serves to lessen the impact.

Because of that Robin suit, we can imagine Batman’s whole career. Those of us who know the comics are picturing Dick Grayson out in the world as Nightwing, and Barbara Gordon as Batgirl (both of whom have potential movies in the works). We know that Jason Todd died, so without even seeing those other characters on screen, we can imagine their relationship with Batman and where it stands right now. The Robin suit created a world.

And moving over to Harley Quinn, we see that world rippling out. The reference to her participation in Robin’s death is so brief that most probably didn’t even notice it when it flashed on the screen, but we see that event influencing her, even in the Suicide Squad movie. When she tells El Diablo to own up to the messed up stuff that he’s done, she isn’t just talking about him. That’s a hint of Harleen Quinzel right there. The great thing about Harley Quinn is that she’s not the essence of evil that Joker is. She has a lot of different layers. She has moments of good, and moments of bad. She can be brilliant, or dim.

The dead Robin, who was never seen on screen, is having a huge impact on different characters within the DCEU. I find this subtle touch really interesting.

 

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree. If Robin was supposed to be this large of an influence, should he have been seen in a proper flashback? Or do our imaginations fill in the blanks in a way that flashbacks couldn’t?

 

Also, be sure to click on this link and check out my books on Amazon. I have an ongoing dystopian series, called Freedom/Hate, if you’re into that sort of thing. I also have some wacky action satire, some supernatural fun, and a sweet little Christmas story. So click over and take a look, so I can tell people that I’m doing my job and promoting my work instead of just talking about geeky stuff all day.

Battle Cry (Freedom/Hate, Book 4)

22 Mar

If book 3 of my Freedom/Hate series left you wanting more, then I have good news for you! (if book 3 left you feeling pretty bored, I have bad news for you!)

Book 4, Battle Cry, is now available for pre-order! 

Battle Cry Kindle Cover

For years, Freedom has waited for their opportunity to wage war against the authorities. They have hidden in shadows, preparing for they day when they would take back the rights that were stolen from them.

Justin now serves the authorities. As a HAND officer, he patrols the streets, violating everything that he believes in, all in the hope that his position may someday give Freedom the edge it needs to win this war. Each day, he loses a piece of who he was. Each night, he prays that his sacrifice will justify his sins.

From the Campus, Collin’s team continues to spread Freedom’s message to as many citizens as possible. They have expanded their operation beyond a simple newspaper. Now they spread the stories and history that the authorities have tried to keep from the citizens for decades. They produce original stories, to reflect their own fight, but it’s not enough to spread words. Freedom starts with an idea, but it cannot end there.

As Freedom waits for their chance to fight, millions are tuned in to watch the biggest sporting event of the year. A child, Mandi Hollinger, has been chosen to recite a pledge that she can barely remember. She is led onto a field which is covered in more green grass than she has ever seen in her life. Her parents watch from the sidelines, too scared to breathe, and longing for this day to be over. Mandi stands before the microphone and begins to speak.

With one slip of the tongue, everything will change.

 

Right now, only the Kindle version of the book is available to order. For those who hate the idea of reading a book on some newfangled device, the paperback is coming within the next few weeks.

With this book, we officially enter the second half of this six-part series. Big things are about to happen!

 

 

How the Sausage is Made

11 Oct

As I write this, I am avoiding work. Today, “work” means “formatting for Kindle”.

Yes, there are programs that do this. Yes, there are probably a million different ways that I could make my life easier by using one of those programs. But instead of using any of those, I am looking at an HTML version of my book in Notepad, editing my starting point, my ending point and my table of contents by hand.

Why? Continue reading

Proof Positive

17 Mar

The proof for my new book arrived today!

For those who aren’t hip to the lingo, a proof is the physical copy of your book that you get, so that you can check for printing errors and give the book a good look before making it available in paperback form. It has the cover art and all of that, so it’s really the first chance that you have to hold your baby book in your arms and look at what you’ve created.

There are issues with my proof. Little things that I have to fix here and there, but for the most part, I’m pretty happy with it. I chose “cream” paper instead of “white” this time, which I think was a good call. It’s easier on the eyes and looks more like the rest of the books on my shelf. I liked white paper for my other books, because I thought it seemed cleaner and crisper, but the cream feels right for this one.

In terms of font, I went with Book Antiqua this time. I know that it seems like you’d just use whichever font you happened to land on when writing a book, but it took me a while to finally settle on this one. It has a nice classic look to it. It’s easy to read. It’s not too showy.

One of the other elements that I had to put some thought into was the chapter numbers. Did I want to spell out “Chapter One” or simply put in a “1”? For this book, I opted for the simple number headers, with a drop shadow. I was worried that the shadow would look cheesy, but it actually came out pretty nice.

There are small things here and there that I need to fix. Some programs automatically add hyperlinks when you type out a URL, so I have to go through and make sure that there are no hyperlinks in the file that I’m using for the paperbacks. I also have to fix some of the wording in the copyright information. And this is why we get a proof… If you go through the process (and you don’t have “people” for this sort of thing) make sure that you look at all of the little details once you have the book in your hand. What you missed on a computer screen could look a lot more obvious on paper.

 

You can look at the paperback copy of Freedom/Hate yourself, when it goes on sale on April 19, 2016. If you’d prefer to read the digital copy, you can pre-order the book now by clicking here.

Author Profile : Erin Lale

16 Mar

Every so often, I hope to spotlight some of the other authors out there, both with book reviews and with author profiles. Profiles are made up of basic information about the author, giving readers the information that they need to find and follow the writer in question.

(This is the first author profile on my blog. Don’t be surprised if the format changes a bit over time)

 

Author: Erin Lale

Erin is a writer of science fiction, nonfiction, among other genres. Her latest project is a Viking-themed anthology called No Horns On These Helmets, for which she not only serves as writer (along with several other authors), but also as the book’s editor.

Her short story, Woodencloak, appears in the book. It is the retelling of the classic Katie Woodencloak folktale.

Hear Erin talk about the her work on Freedomizer Radio’s Proof Negative on Thursday, March 17, at 8:00pm pacific time.

 

For more information on No Horns On These Helmets, CLICK HERE.

For more information on Erin Lale, visit her AUTHOR PAGE.

 

 

Five Years Earlier…

9 Mar

As I continue to prepare my new book, Freedom/Hate for release (pre-order your copy today!), I have had some old friends stopping by for a visit in my head.

Five years ago this month, I sat down to begin writing Starlette (purchase your copy today!). It’s hard to tell whether I should feel as though it were only yesterday, or if it feels like a hundred years have passed since then. Either way, it was an exciting time for me.

The story began, oddly enough, five years earlier. As I was watching the Oscars red carpet show on television, I couldn’t help but get annoyed with the actors that I was listening to. The way they spoke about their films being “important” irritated me. They acted as though they were saving the world by making movies. Continue reading

Interior Design (aka A Journey into the Abyss)

3 Mar

I’ve been thinking that I should use this blog as something more than what it’s been. This shouldn’t be too hard, since it hasn’t been much of anything.

What I’ve decided to try and do is document more of my writing/publishing process. This will be less for the enjoyment of you readers (since it will probably be boring), and more about me documenting my writerly struggles, so that my family will know that I don’t just watch funny kitten videos all day. (which I don’t do, because I’m a dog person)

Some of these blog entries will be more interesting than others. At the moment, I’m not building any worlds or having fun with characters. Today, I’m trying to format the print edition of my new book, Freedom/Hate.

(the Kindle version of Freedom/Hate will be released on April 19! Pre-order your copy today by clicking on this link!)

Continue reading