I’m going to be posting segments from a quick little interview I did with Dan Wallace, the narrator for the audiobook version of Bad Way Out. I’ll probably get it on the blog on Saturday. Until then, here’s the segment of the book that Dan captured beautifully. While it has no official name, I’ve dubbed it The Party. When Dan reaches the pivotal moment in this scene, I still get a little emotional by his perfect read. I’ll let you, the listener, guess what that pivotal moment is.
Book Seven is still months away from being published, but that doesn’t mean my head isn’t swimming with images of Oz and the gang. In fact, this video demonstrates what I see and hear every time I turn my attention to the last book in the Oz Chronicles.
One of the twins from my fictional tale about publishing. I know what you’re thinking, and I agree. She’s gorgeous.
I did the TEDx event this morning at Pinewood Prep in Summerville, SC. I had a fantastic time, and I met some great people. I spoke to a roomful of mostly kids about publishing using a fictional tale of twins exploring separate paths to fame and fortune as authors. I’m not sure how it went from their perspective, or how long I actually spoke. I rehearsed several times before going in and came out anywhere between 13 minutes and 25 minutes, so I’m guessing I got close to the required 18 minutes. I kind of expected a countdown clock in the room to keep me on task, but there was just an old analog clock in the back of the room, and I was too preoccupied to do the necessary math to keep track of time. I used no notes, but I had prompts in my PowerPoint that triggered facts and figures I needed to tell my story. I had this whole thing about the honor in failing I wanted to get into, but I got sidetracked.
I got the opportunity to talk to a couple of the kids about writing after the program, and met one young man who has already finished his first novel. He asked for advice, and I’m afraid I failed to give him anything inspirational. I have to come up with a better response to that request from young writers. When I was his age, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to ask an adult about writing. My hats off to him for being passionate enough to complete a novel at such a young age, and for having the guts to talk about it so openly. It’s not easy to do. I know.
The speaker after me was Brian Thomas, a Yale graduate, renowned educator and former Emmy Award winning actor for his role in Fast Break to Glory. When I heard his credentials, I was convinced they had asked me there as a joke. He was a super nice guy, and made it a point to tell me that he felt like the kids got a lot out of my presentation. I don’t know if it’s true, but he made me feel better. I was up the night before with a stomach bug, so I was still kind of floopy during my presentation.
That’s enough rambling. Now that TEDx is behind me I’m going to do a feature on the narrator for the audiobook version of Bad Way Out. His name is Dan Wallace, and he is an incredibly talented voice over actor. He’s so good I don’t know how I was fortunate enough to get him. More on that to come.
I’m sure I’ll be the unintentional comic relief for the day.
Very cool. I just got invited to speak at a TEDx event. I’ll update the blog as I know more, but first things first. I now have to come up with 18 minutes of material. Yikes!
Lessons in storytelling by Larry David
The headline for this blog post comes from an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David’s character, Larry David, offers it as an explanation to his wife Cheryl, played by Cheryl Hines, when she asks why he would say something so socially unacceptable to another human being. He took a risk in an attempt to be honest to another person, and he failed miserably. That’s what made it so funny.
It sums up how I feel when I think about the stories I write under C. Hoyt Caldwell. Succeeding as Mr. Caldwell isn’t nearly as important to me as taking risks as Mr. Caldwell. I go down some dark roads in an attempt to tell an honest story. Not honest from my point of view, but from my characters’ various points of view. They say and do things that I am embarrassed and shocked by, and I love it. It’s really a blast.
There are parts of The Closeout Kings that I know will offend some readers. As a reader of the material, I even felt it might have gone too far, but as the writer, I knew the material called for it because it advanced character, conflict, and action. Those are the only things I can and will concern myself with. If I start considering how the story will affect the reader, then I’m not really writing. I’m pandering.
Can I take risks as R.W. Ridley? I hope so. Oz’ tale isn’t your typical Young Adult series. There are some very adult themes that he has dealt with and will deal with in the final installment. My goal with Oz all along has been to take him from a boy to a man over the course of the series, and that in and of itself is a risk in the Young Adult market. I never think about category and genre when I write, so that may be why some of the major publishers who’ve thought about picking it up eventually passed because they didn’t know where to place it. I’ve been told on a number of occasions by editors that Oz sounds too grown up. I agree. He does. But there’s a reason for that, and hopefully I can make that clear in Book Seven.
So, here’s a little helpful tool for readers as you flip through the pages of a book. If you are offended by something you read, ask yourself if it reveals something to you about the character and/or story. If it does, then the author took a risk in an effort to be honest. Can you really be offended by that?