[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #33 - S...2006 [spoilers]

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 14 05:56:10 PDT 2006

Saxon Brenton wrote:

>      One distinct stylist trait that readers will have noticed is that
> most of Martin's text is usually straight dialogue, and very readable
> dialogue at that.  Long time readers will also note that Martin usually
> writes stories (in whatever imprint) to the length that he feels he
> needs to tell a story, with very little in the way of embellishment.

That's because I'm still primarily a humour writer and I follow the
rules of comedy more than drama.  Set up is the death of comedy and
whereas drama asks you to think comedy sometimes asks that you don't
think.  Suppose a comedian is telling a joke about a traveller who
looks for a room for the night and the farmer lets him share a room
with his daugher.  (I think that's a set up for a joke although I don't
forget how it ends.)  The joke isn't funny if the audience (or reader)
is given time to think about the implausibility of the situation.
Worse, people are going to get impatient while the comedian describes
the girl's room. :)

People wonder why I often post immediately after I finish typing.  The
truth is that if I go back and second guess a story I find that my
rewrites are never as good as what I originally wrote: they either come
out contrived, forced or overwritten.  Dialogue probably should never
be second guessed because we never get a chance to second guess what we
say in real life so why give that opportunity to your characters?

One example is the whole fingerprint-on-the-bullet conceit in #8.
After posting the story I thought "What are the odds that a bullet,
after being fired from a gun, passing through a human body and hitting
the wall behind him, would still have a fingerprint on it?"  It's
common on CSI episodes to find fingerprints on bullets and shells but
these were either bullets which hadn't been fired or shells from
automatic rifles, of which there are many and they only have to find
just one with a fingerprint.  But if I had gone back and rewritten #8
so that they ended up following a different lead that didn't pan out
either then the story would have dragged and it would have been that
much more disappointing when the issue ended and they didn't have a
suspect.  Here I was directly responding to Tom's "they go from crime
scene to suspect criticism" and I wanted a story in which they didn't
find the killer.  Ha ha ha.  Too much set up would have killed the
joke.  In fact, I didn't plan to follow up on this but Tom then said he
was disappointed that they didn't find the killer so I introduced new
evidence at the beginning of #9 but they had so much evidence by the
end of the issue that I didn't see much point going through with
showing the trial.  I mean, yeah, so they did it.  Move on.

Right now I'm working on #13 and I've come up with what I think is a
clever way to have truly bizarre things happen and yet still have
Superfreaks be a "serious" universe.  I think the funniest stories are
serious stories anyway.  (I remember the CSI episode in which a climber
fell to his death and his brain was destroyed on impact.  The case was
a "no brainer".  Oh God.  That cracked me up.  Well I guess he was the
one who was cracked up.  Oh God.)  Anyway, I'm really happy with what
I've got written so far in my notes and I just wish I could type
faster.  Yes, that's right: I actually wish I could type faster.  I
realize of course that readers also have to read faster but, come on,
is eight issues a month really so much?


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