Saturday, January 02, 2010

Siblings of the Shroud - Input

The Shroud
(Wyman/Jones)

Been fun to watch people pick up the ball and run with it, viz. the showrunners/Enforcers of the Musashi Flex. Some good ideas there, and I appreciate folks taking the time to offer them. Tickles me.

That said, I don't want anybody to get too upset if I don't go down any of those roads. Knapp's character came to me pretty much all of a piece -- there are a couple of fun twists I'm doing with her -- and while there should be enough about her job to see the outlines of it, the light is not going to be too bright; thus much of the organizational side of things won't be illuminated. Just as I was somewhat hazy on exactly how the scoring for the Flex works, I'm going to avoid getting too detailed about the internal workings. And the input on the announcement that I was doing this book is the reason why:

If I leave some blank spots, readers will fill them in -- and that's part of what I like to do as a writer. I want my readers to participate in painting the picture. Less work for me -- well, sometimes not -- but more satisfying for them. Unlike watching a move or a TV show, reading fiction is not a passive activity, it should be active.

Sometimes, less makes it more so.

Now and again, after watching a movie, my wife will wonder what happened to the character after the story was over. I usually offer how I'd do it, were it mine to fool with, and come up with a through-line that I -- and she -- would find satisfying.

Oh, no, he didn't die. He recovered, moved away, found a good woman, got married, settled down, and now teaches yoga and runs a market specializing in organic produce ...

I'm probably not going to stop my usual screwing-with-the-reader by dropping in bits that connect to other books. Or using character names that echo from elsewhere. Or sometimes not-so-subtle clues to connections among the characters that go past the bounds of coincidence.

Some of you get those, and I get to grin when you ask about them. Sometimes, nobody catches them, or at least they don't mention it to me. I'm always a little disappointed when that happens.

I try to offer an accessible level for everybody, but now and then, some treats for those who look a little past the surface. I wouldn't go so far as to call it subtext, but now and again, there's is a little more going on than meets the less-critical eye.

Shadows of the Empire is filled with these. Most of the minor character names have something else going on with them. Most SW's fans don't notice, nor do they care. I had one guy send me a letter detailing almost every one of them: When I said this, did I mean that? I loved it.

Many of the people, places, and things in the Matador books have meanings in other languages that make some of my readers smile. Me, too, when I wrote it.

(And for those of you who weren't paying attention during the most recent of that series, The Musashi Flex, you could have discovered something amusing about Luna Azul and Lazlo Mourn from a big fat clue I offered. If you missed it, I'll point it out in SOTS, but if you can't wait, you'll just have to go back and re-read it ...

15 comments:

Stan said...

I believe this may be a very nice way of telling us to "Shut Up, A;ready!" ;~)

Actually, the fact that reading interesting fiction always triggers "I wonder," or "what if" question storms is the primary reason I have always enjoyed reading. Even though I am entertained by movies (and some television) they just don't seem to give rise to the same type of reinforcement. If I take one or two thoughts from most video offerings, I'd say it was pretty good.

As M. Perry said, reading seems to be much more of an active, participatory, process. I've rarely finished even a mediocre book and felt that I had completely wasted my time!

Thank you, Steve. For that matter, thank you to each of you on this list. I truly enjoy the interactions offered by the interested and well-intentioned participants!

Probably the last time I'll say this, but, Happy New Year Folki! The best thing that I can wish for us in 2010 is that we actively make it the year we want it to become!

Steve Perry said...

Nah. If I meant to tell you to shut up, I would have been a bit more subtle, something like, Hey. Shut the fuck up!"

Books don't belong just to the writer, but to the readers. What they bring is part of the equation, and if I do my job right, what they bring can be completely different from each other and still work. That rusty puddle of water under the AC in the ratty hotel room that John D. MacDonald talks about. If I can give you that puddle properly, you can fill in the rest of the room. It won't look like mine necessarily, but it will evoke the same crappy place all of us have seen at one time or another.

jks9199 said...

Steve -- It's been fun getting to kibitz and play around in your sandbox. But, in the end, it's YOUR sandbox, and you get to do things your way. I recall the entry a few months back about how writers are often reluctant to even hear about some fan's writing...

Personally (and you have it in writing now!), I'd be flattered if something I said happens to make it's way into a book or character. Just like it'll be neat to see which, if any, of my comments and criticisms about Champion of the Dead make it into the final version.

It's been neat, to me, just to see what other people had come up with and how they thought the Flex would work...

Maybe someday you'll let us in on more of the "real" details!

J.D. Ray said...

I love to tell stories, to write, and love learning about writing. Like any sci-fi reader, visions spring into my head about the setting or characters in a story. I bet Khadaji would do this, or Dirisha would say that (okay, Dirisha and her motivations are a complete mystery to me, but you get the picture). If I can articulate one of these visions in a manner pleasing to someone else, I'm pleased. Steve, what you do when you set up one of these mini round tables is give us, your fans, the opportunity to make our versions of your universe more robust, both by telling others what we "see" and by allowing us to interact and make each others' ideas better.

I think any one of us would think we'd achieved greatness if one of our little ideas made it into a novel. Got a nod in the dedications page? OMG, ponies! But even if you just laugh at all of us, slapping your forehead in wonder about just how far off track we've gone, we're having fun. And in these times, we'll take it where we can get it.

So, on to another topic... Stan, is there some reason you don't think you're going to make it through 2010? What'd I miss?

Cheers to you all.

JD

Stan said...

Sorry to sound morbid, J.D.! I just meant that was the last time I'd say, "HNY" for this year...time to move on to MAKING it Happy! (Wishes are great, but they rarely power the mill!)

Thanks for being concerned though, Sir, I really mean it!

As J.D. mentioned, I have never had the opportunity to "round table" story ideas, particularly about something that has fostered and maintained my interest for so long. And, being a 50+ year old ADHD kid, that's really an accomplishment! (I hope that came out as the compliment I intended... ;~) )

As readers, and people with extraordinary imaginations, this is as close as most of us "mortal beings" will come to creating (or even witnessing) this level of work!

As we've said, frequently now, Steve: Thanks for letting us play in the sandbox! (Now what is that cat doing here?)

Mario di Giacomo said...

I believe I know what you mean about Fem Azul and Siblings.

Would I be right to say that her real last name had five letters?

Steve Perry said...

I think you have it, but the answer is, no, her last name did not have five letters, if you mean they were M-O-U-R-N.

Because that's not his real name any more than her real name is Azul ...

Mario said...

I thought that might be the case, but I wasn't sure, and I didn't want to just come out and say it...

Ian SADLER said...

Hey Guys,

I think I have it figured....

The big hint is "Azul" meaning blue.

Ian

venture220 said...

Since there has been some discussion of obscure references in M. Perry's work, I HAVE to ask. Any chance of at least a cameo appearance by Marie Lu?

Steve Perry said...

I'm not sure who Marie Lu is ...

If you mean "Mayli Wu," her I know.

Ed said...

That is a cool picture.

I didn't see the earlier post until now - lucky you or unlucky now -

How about the enforcers "kill" the truent flexers - but the bodies are never seen again. They are not dead but taken to a bad boys/girls semi annual tournament --- so have to be housed/guarded/more training somewhere/pets (maybe a Predator Planet - the Predators have some other forms of entertainment?- contracted with the flex organization) --- and then the betting and mayhem ensues( that is an interesting character - the go between with the Predators and humans). OOOOh and one or some of the ex Flexor's escape and know they need to take out the organization to survive - Predators might enjoy that hunt too. OOOOh - and the Enforcers - squads and individuals different talents/skills/issues.....fun. OOOOh.... ok, I got nuthin....


Steve, I am on the other hand looking forward to more of your interesting/fun/thought provoking/ visions in your creative universe with your new Siblings, Enforcer stories.

Michael said...

I thought it odd that both names seemed to indicate a depressed mental state. Possibly from how they left home maybe.

Awesome that there is yet another book in the series. I just finished Master of Pamor and started re-reading Musashi flex with the intent to read the whole matador series again. (wish more were in kindle format).

Anonymous said...

This is my first time posting anything on this site, so bear with if its a formatted a little... Im really hoping to get some sort of a responce with this tho :)

Was the clue you were talking about the parelle between the names? Pen and Moon are credited for the creation of the siblings...

Moon... Luna...

in the 97th step, I beleive Spiral or someone says that Pen is credited for the creation of sumito...

oe is there something even more that I need to re read and figure out :)

Steve Perry said...

The clue, if you know to look for it, concerns where Azul and Mourn came from.

They are true sliblings ...