Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Check in time

OK. Holidays coming up and it's time for me to check in with what's what. First thing is I finished my classes, don't have to go teach anymore for about a month. Amen. I still have a big bag of final papers, finals and short story portfoloios to grade, but those can wait until the beginning of January or my flight to Florida this weekend. My voice has come and gone and it's not great right now, but it's here, more or less.
Writing-wise, I have a rough first draft of JP3, the long draft of JP2 (the one I podcasted) and I need to work on both before the JWU release in March. I'm working on lining up a few readings for after the book comes out, on the East Coast, when I'm there before Noircon in Philly on April 3rd, or so. Panel there should be really exciting. Hoping to do readings in Boston, NYC, Philly. Talking to the bookstores now. Locked up the BART ads for JWU here in the SF area. Yeah!
The writing's on pause. Everything's on pause and all I want to do is sit and rest. Maybe go out to a movie later. Just feels like my batteries are really running low. I know I need to get out the new podcast episode of Fisher Cat, and I'll do it today, but then I just rest and do nothing for a while. JP2 draft needs to be ready to go for JWU's release, in case anyone comes asking for it, and JP3... well, you guys know what I've promised about JP3 coming out. So that's in the hopper too.
Sound like a lot of work? yeah, I thought so too.
At least Jack's still working on taking over Japan.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Running slow: Podcast on Tuesday!

Ummm... so with the holiday parties rolling out and the Sig/Harwood gun-fest and pub crawl on Friday night, I'm running behind on my podcasting. Feast your ears on the fan call in episode from Friday and I'll be back with Fisher Cat on Tuesday AND the three winners of the JACK WAKES UP advance reader's copies!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jack Japan!

Thanks to Jason Andrews!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pub Crawl in San Jose 12/14 8PM

Once again it's on...

Sigler/Harwood Pub Crawl San Jose style coming up in ONE week at the Brittania Arms in San Jose. More info is HERE.

Be there: 12/14 Friday, 8PM.

PS: We're now under 100 days until JWU hits Amazon!! Yeah!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Visit the Palms Family Clubhouse!!

Visit Palms Family Clubhouse
And join that Shizz!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter vs. Dexter (on Showtime) and how this relates to podcast novels

I'm wondering how many of you guys have been watching the Dexter series on Showtime.

Though I hear discouraging posts about posting on movies and am sure this applies to TV shows, I KNOW that the subject matter of Dexter and the handling of it has to appeal to many of us on the list. Fact is, I've thought since the first season that Dexter is one of the best shows around and --at the very least--picks up where Sopranos left the bar for a series: the highest level. This is absolutely crime fiction on the screen and I actually think that the additional time in episodes that the series format allows makes for a much more complicated, developed and intricate plot line than a movie or a couple of movies could allow. Actually, I think it makes the TV series even more complex than the books.

The two big factors in how a twelve-episode series season excels over a two plus hour movie are that more plot threads can be developed and, with this, more characters can be developed in greater detail. Ultimately, I think it's the character development as a result of the added time to work things out that I think makes this series much more than just good tv. And the character development comes from leaving Dexter's head and exploring different scenes that take place even when Dexter's not around. This is a freedom that even the book doesn't give itself.

Aren't these two factors, multiple threading and a more complex social network of characters, much more than just good TV? I’d even say (and I’ve seen others post about this here) that the series is even better than the books. On the most basic level, the books never leave Dexter’s head. Sure, we can really get into his stream of consciousness and how he thinks about what happens, but I think the added benefit of having the characters around him—Doakes, LaGuerta, Deb, Lundy, Rita and Paul, Angel—developed into much more than flat types, into real feeling three-dimensional characters that we can sympathize with makes this series so much more. Take Sgt. Doakes for example: though he’s a major antagonist in the second series, we’ve spent enough time around him to see his strong points and good qualities as well as his single-minded pursuit of Dexter. He’s a character part of us needs to root for.

The strength of the book comes in how we can root for Dexter, even as he’s a serial killer. In the TV series all the characters are crucially flawed, and ALL of them are worth rooting for on some level (Ok, well most of them). In the first book, LaGuerta is really pretty flat. Even as she changes a bit at the end, she’s still two dimensional. In the series, she’s got a lot more to offer, particularly as her connections to Doakes become more involved and ultimately get questioned.

In any case, it strikes me as very interesting here that the TV series has gone so much further than the book. This seems like new ground, to me at least. If you think of a great book and then the movie, usually there’s a lot left out, or at the very most it’ll bring in most of the elements of the book. I can’t think of many cases where a movie—definitely not any case of a tv series—doing it better, adding more complicated development to what was in the book.

But this is definitely happening with Dexter. I’m curious how many others of you are watching it, and what you think of its complexity. The series makes me think more of Pride and Prejudice in how the characters are all thoroughly explored then it makes me think of Jeff Lindsay’s books. Certainly leaving the head of the main character has enabled a great deal here.

Full disclosure: I’ve been rereading and thinking a lot about Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad Is Good For You where he analyzes contemporary TV (not Dexter) and how much more complex it’s gotten in the last 20-30 years. It’s got me doing a lot of thinking.

This seems like a big issue to me right now because I'm thinking a lot about Scott Sigler's podcast novels and how he expands them beyond a few characters, how they grow by him offering us multiple characters' points of view. This is really strong and I admire it. I guess I'm tempted to leave this behind in my Jack Palms series, but at the same time, I think it's not necessarily part of the standard Crime Fiction genre kind of thing to do. Or, that is it seems like it'd work in a podcast but perhaps not in a book. So I'm hung up on that right now. Anyone got any thoughts about it, I'd be glad to know 'em.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Season Sig/Har Pub Crawl!

OK, merry merry-makers, it's time for a holiday Pub Crawl right here in the Bay Area. San Jose was proposed initially, but given the unseasonably warm weather down south, we've decided to move the event north to San Francisco or Oakland (truth is really they're just closer, easier for Scott and myself). Time to vote for which one you like! Add your comments below.

Place: TBA
Time/date: Friday Dec. 14th, 8PM.
Bring: holiday cheer, podcast-loving beer!