Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lady Gaga and Werewolf imagery

Say what you want about Lady Gaga. The woman can paint a picture with words.

Selected Lyrics from "Monster" - by Lady Gaga (2009)

"Look at him
Look at me
That boy is bad
And honestly
He’s a wolf in disguise
But I can’t stop staring in those evil eyes

I asked my girlfriend if she’d seen you round before
She mumbled something while we got down on the floor baby
We might’ve fucked not really sure, don’t quite recall
But something tells me that I’ve seen him, yeah before

That boy is a monster"

"He licked his lips
Said to me
'Girl you look good enough to eat'
Put his arms around me
Said 'Boy now get your paws right off me'"

"I wanna Just Dance
But he took me home instead
Uh oh! There was a monster in my bed
We french kissed on a subway train
He tore my clothes right off

He ate my heart and then he ate my brain

That boy is a monster"

That sounds to me like an evening with a gentleman werewolf. I wonder if the second date was as eventful as the first.

Is this a musical masterpiece? That's debatable, but I like it.

What song helps you get into a writing frame of mind?

Werewolf Week + read my interview at Dun Scaith

Chris Kelly, the mastermind behind independent U.K. publisher Scathach, has declared the week of August 1st through August 7th to be Werewolf Week! Who am I to argue?

Head over to his blog, Dun Scaith, for werewolf goodness. You will also find an interview with your favorite not famous yet but slightly interesting author of werewolfery. Care to guess who it is?

No, not her.

Or him.

Her either.

What? That guy doesn't even write!

I'm talking about me, chowderhead.

Just go read the fucking interview already. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Reader's Manifesto: 10 Things I Want From a Novel

Today, I sat back and thought about what I like to see in a book. I have started countless novels in my life and set many of them aside unfinished for one reason or another. I have compiled a list of open declarations to the writing community. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but these are the things I want when I read a book for pleasure.

1.    The Big Bad
I want a villain who is larger than life and seemingly evil incarnate but is three-dimensional enough to support his or her own story if needed.

2.    The Han Solo
I want a hero who is imperfect and fallible, but still tough and resourceful enough to make me stop and say, “damn, that was cool,” every now and then.

3.    Action
I want action and plot. I do not want to wade through ten pages of mind-numbing literary prose that does not advance the story before getting to the meat of a chapter.

4.    Sex
When there is sex, don’t cop out on the description. The characters should be as real as they can be, and real people have sex.

5.    No Bedpost Notches
I do not, however, want to see a hero who has sex with any and everyone he or she meets. I don’t do that in real life and I don’t care to read about it.

6.    No Kid Gloves
When there is violence, don’t cop out on that either. If it is graphic, that is fine as long as it serves a larger purpose within the story.

7.    Humor
I want to see at least a little humor in a book. Even if the story is a serious one, every tale can benefit from some comic relief.

8.    Tension
Bring on the danger and tension. If there is no sense of urgency for the characters, then there is no sense of urgency for me to keep reading.

9.    No deus ex machina
I want a story that is fantastic but still adheres to its own rules. If it seems impossible for your protagonist to prevail in the end, then you better have a damn good explanation if they manage to do it.

10.   Do not waste my time
I do not have nearly as much time to read as I would like, so please don’t make me waste it.

That’s my short list. I tend to follow these guidelines in my own writing as well.

What do you want from a good book?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Favorite Villains

Favorite Villains
Those of you who have read my novel and short stories have probably realized that I prefer to read and write about villains. It’s not that I admire what they do. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s that every good story needs a strong villain. The villain doesn’t always have to be a person. Just ask Captain Ahab.
Today I am looking at five of my personal favorite villains. Some are from popular literature. Some are from other media outlets like comics, animation, or even video games.

1.    The Joker – Batman comics, animated series, and movies. Created by Gil Kane.

He’s a homicidal lunatic. When he isn’t causing havoc in Gotham, he is locked up in Arkham Asylum and haunting the dreams of the victims who have lived through his crimes. Appearing as the stereotypical king’s fool from a deck of playing cards, his jovial visage belies his malevolent intentions. Even as Batman fights to protect the innocent, the Joker seeks to undermine society as a whole and bring everything and everyone crashing down with him.

2.    Sephiroth – Final Fantasy VII video game and Advent Children motion picture. Created by Tetsuya Nomura.

Sephiroth begins the story as a war hero and top operative of an elite group of warriors. He is driven insane when he discovers that he is actually a government biological experiment created from the cells of a powerful and malevolent monster that fell from the sky centuries earlier. The planet’s most powerful champion becomes its worst nightmare. His descent from hero to madman and his attempt to destroy the world and use it as a vessel to sail the cosmos fuel the story for this classic game. 

3.    Lestat de Lioncourt – Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.

Before he was the hero of his own novel, Lestat was the antagonist of Rice’s first novel in the series. He is cruel, flamboyant, selfish, and reckless. He torments the novel’s protagonist, Louis de Pointe du Lac, after forcing him into an unwanted life of immortality. He had little regard for his human prey, often toying with them before he fed. In the second book of the Vampire Chronicles, Lestat narrates and gives his history and exploits a more positive spin, but he is still clearly a villain at heart.

4.    Lord Voldemort – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

He is an unscrupulous wizard who thinks nothing of murdering a child to further his plans. In spite of, or perhaps because of his half-wizard lineage, he has a deep-seated hatred of all half-blood magic users. His name is so feared that no one who knows of him will speak it aloud lest he or his followers somehow track them down. His own fear and loathing of death drives every aspect of his existence. While most effective villains should have at least some redeeming quality to them, Voldemort is the exception to this rule. He is evil through and through.

5.    Angelus – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon.

The polar opposite to the noble and tormented Angel, Angelus is gregarious and unapologetic. His unrivaled sadism earned him the title of “scourge of Europe” during the 1800s. As a villain, he is unrelenting and cold, using any and every means possible to demoralize and devastate his victims.  Despite the depth of his evil, Angelus is forever changed by a gypsy curse that restores his soul. Weighed down by the guilt from his actions, he takes on the name Angel and begins working to atone for the atrocities he committed. Despite his newfound heroic nature, removal of his soul will cause him to revert to his murderous persona causing Angelus to be his own biggest antagonist.

This is my short list of favorites. Now, who are your favorite villains and what makes them so memorable?

M.T. Murphy is the author of Lucifera’s Pet, a violent and sexy dark fiction tale of werewolves and vampires. Connect with him below:
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