Saturday, April 15, 2017

Savvy Saturday: R.J. Hore The Fearless Pantser

Everyone should be familiar with the term “pantser” when referring to a writer. Basically, it means one who writes by the seat of his or her pants, rather than the traditional “plotter” who is well organized with all details set down far in advance of starting to actually create.

I am a pantser. I want to start into a project as soon as an idea hits me. I don’t want to wait (weeks, months) while I set out the backstories, create scenes, lay out each chapter in minute detail. A plotter might spend as much time researching their story, as actually creating it.

I write because I want to find out how the story ends. Quite often I surprise myself.

Take, for example, how I write my Housetrap Chronicles series. I decided I would write a fantasy detective novella-length story that I could someday turn into a series. For my creative motivation I decided I would simply take a famous mystery title, twist it around a bit, and write a story to suit the title. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

One of Agatha Christie’s tales that came to mind was The Mousetrap. So I decided to write Housetrap. Sitting down to write the story I had no idea what a Housetrap was, but I had the basic idea for an opening, the private detective, his wise-cracking secretary, and something or someone missing. Shades of Sam Spade. Once I got into the tale the story wrote itself.

With the exception of the second story in the series, Dial M for Mudder, I’ve gone back to the original opening scene format. I set it in the detective’s office and have the problem come to him. That way I can introduce the main characters so that the reader can jump in anywhere in the chronicles and is not forced to start with the first in the series. The advantage to reading in order, however, is that I found myself bringing favorite characters back into other tales. This happens in the latest tale, Murder on the Disoriented Express. A character who first appeared in Hounds of Basalt Ville shows up on stage in this eighth episode.

This latest plot was easy to come up with. From the title I knew I was going to write about a train trip and a murder. Where it gets a bit tricky, is in the details. The who, and the why, and stuff a plotter would know well before they started. I was probably half way through before I knew who the murderer was, however the more difficult part was the “why” the train trip in the first place. Once I get to know the characters I turn them loose and they often help me out with the details.

In my other full-length works, mainly mediaeval-style high fantasy, it is often a single face, scene, or headline that gets me started writing. If I’m lucky, I might even have an idea of how it will end. If not, I sit back and enjoy the surprise.

Ronald Hore had three stories published in a writer's group anthology in 2005 and in 2006 won a Canadian Author's Association national short story contest for a ghostly love story. His short story "Chrysalis" appeared in the modern vampire collection Evolve in 2010.

In 2012, writing as R.J.Hore, his first full-length novel, The Dark Lady, a medieval-style fantasy was published by Burst This tale has since been turned into a trilogy with Dark Days and Dark Knights. A second series of swords, magic and romance novels followed, The Queen's Pawn, also now a trilogy with The Queen's Man, and will be completed in August 2016 with the release of The Queen's Game.

A stand alone, slightly different fantasy novel, Alex in Wanderland, was released in 2015.

His fantasy detective series, The Housetrap Chronicles got off the ground with the Housetrap, the first of a fantasy detective series of novellas. This was followed by Dial M for Mudder and House on Hollow Hill. These have also been collected in a volume 1 anthology in paperback.

Next in this fantasy detective series came Hounds of Basalt Ville, Murder in the Rouge Mort, and The Treasure of the Sarah Madder, also now available in print in a second collection.

The eighth in the Housetrap series, Murder on the Disoriented Express, joined the group in 2017.

When not writing, or wrestling a large cat off of the keyboard, Ron may sometimes be found sailing on Lake Winnipeg.

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