Novel Prequel: Olivia Tames Terror

LiviCoverWhen gods invade a public school, they don’t count on a teenage dancer waiting for them on detention. In this free YA adventure, Olivia Tames Terror, Livi learns her friends’ strengths and weaknesses when they take on the minor Greek gods, Phobos and Deimos. It takes a team to repel an invasion by the gods of Panic and Dread, but it takes a disobedient cynic like Livi to lead them. And she’ll need to lead them again in her forthcoming novel, when Olivia Tames Olympus, also by K. Alan Leitch. Wattpad members| Free on Inkitt

All characters and settings registered by the author for U.S. Copyright. Olivia Tames Olympus is represented by Aevitas Creative Management. Contact Rick Richter.

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Some newly published fiction: In addition to my novel prequel on Wattpad or Inkittshort story “Fleeting Delights” has been published by Sheepshead Review. You can also find what is perhaps my most controversial story to date, “All About Asses,” online from Every Day FictionDon’t judge too harshly until you consider the ending that all humans share…

Reboot, Remake or Revival?

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Spock explains to Fake Spock why the universe sucks, now.

Recently, my sister told me that J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films are reboots, not revivals. You know the ones: where Christopher Pine replaces William Shatner, the planet Vulcan blows up and Spock logically responds by making out with Uhura? Right. Those films. My sister, who was a Trek fan even before I was, says that she can enjoy them as completely separate stories from the originals. That would make them a reboot: a story with the same origins and premise, but without being tied to existing continuity.

But those films aren’t reboots. They’re the worst kind of continuation; the kind that erases the original continuity.

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Reboot my ass, Abrams.

They acknowledge that continuity: ergo, they’re revivals. Here’s how you can tell. Abrams’ 2009 film, ingeniously titled Star Trek, started with the story of a futuristic Romulan warbird coming back in time to destroy Vulcan. This was meant to explain why everything looked so different and everyone was so much more into punching each other out. But wait: if the differences have to be explained, that means it’s not a reboot. It’s still got the original continuity in it. Even future-Spock, looking suspiciously like the original, appeared in the first two films until Leonard Nimoy sadly left us.

When a story acknowledges that the original continuity exists—even through a gimmicky time loop—it has to be called a revival. Yes, I know that these sacrilegious Star Trek revivals try to hide behind the ‘reboot’ dogma by disrespectfully retconning the universe I loved. As much as I’ve vowed religious vengeance on them for that, they did get me to thinking about novels. Films are rebooted all the time; it’s almost a badge of honor these days for an original filmmaker.

So why is nothing ever rebooted in novel form?

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Revivals, not reboots, seem to be what novelists prefer.

Sure there are literary revivals, such as Andy Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes series, and even lots of remakes featuring different characters, like the adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale as Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time. The Bard has, in fact, been the source of dozens or hundreds of remakes and revivals in novel form, such as Gertrude and Claudius by the departed American genius, John Updike.

But what about a reboot? Has the time come for Hamlet with a happy ending? Macbeth where the mastermind Lady gets full credit? Other than the occasional addition of zombies to a premise, I’m not sure I’m aware of anyone tackling a proper reboot between the leaves of a book.

Just for fun, here are a few novels I wouldn’t mind rebooting myself. Send me a comment to add your wish to the list.

Of Mice and Social Workers

George and Lennie have been recently laid off by a tech firm who needed to let their middle-aged employees go in order to afford a Foosball table in the boardroom. Desperate for work, George urges the impulsive Lennie to knock off the #MeToo moments with every girl he meets wearing a Polar Fleece. They take jobs stocking shelves in a library, where George can read and Lennie can stack. Lennie breaks his promise with the angry boss’ wife, but she takes him down before leaving Curly for her Tae Kwan Doe instructor. George is spotted on CCTV ready to put Lennie out of his misery, and arrested by federal agents for disability abuse.

An Interface to Terabithia

Teenage Jess doesn’t understand the feelings that new student Leslie Burke stirs. When Leslie introduces Jess to the VR helmets that her mother’s paycheck as Chief of Surgery bought for her, the reluctant new friends program an entirely parallel world. In Terabithia, monstrous avatars construct AI profiles of their schoolmates, revealing which peers truly are their friends. Neglected by career-driven parents, the two become lost for hours every day behind their goggles, until Jess has a chance to accompany lovely music teacher Ms. Edmunds for a day in the city. Leslie spends the day in Terabithia on her own, and falls from a broken rope into a raging river. She’s fine, of course—it’s just Virtual Reality—but she and Jess are suspended for a month for using ugly images to ‘drag’ their friends online, and Ms. Edmunds is summarily dismissed for inappropriate socialization with a student. During their suspension, the friends visit Terabithia often, where Jessica confesses to Leslie her first attraction to another girl.

To Respect the Personal Space of a Mockingbird

Deep Southern lawyer Atticus Finch is the only defense attorney who will agree to defend a middle-aged white man against charges of sexual impropriety. He loses, of course, and dies in poverty because no other clients will hire him.

Go on then, twelve readers: give me your very best novel reboots… but leave Trek alone!

What the heck is ‘Voice’?

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He was a great author, but Bram Stoker didn’t have the voice we want to read now.

Every writer who’s submitted anything has had so sit through a stern lecture about Voice. “The Voice isn’t quite right.” “Publishers are super-attuned to voice.” Or, my personal favorite: “Your narrative has no voice.”

No voice? None? With thousands of words filling hundreds of pages it would have to at least sound like me. When I speak, people hear my voice, so surely it’s the same when I write.

Agents may have been sparing my feelings when they gave me these actual points of feedback. They couldn’t have meant the narrative was silent, so maybe they just didn’t like the writing. I think there’s more, though. I think part of it might be that they want something in #ownvoices. Continue reading

Stop Dreading the Dream: 4 reasons to keep writing

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If you want to experience every emotion in the space of a minute, just sign up to Twitter. It’s a place where writers can be abused, men can be accused, and a President can spread lies faster than any time in history. The #WritingCommunity on Twitter, though, is also a place for writers to find a support network… and one of the most supportive friends I’ve found is author Michele Sagan, who’s just been agented for her thriller, The Lies He Tells.

And it only took her twenty years. Continue reading

3 Reasons to Rewrite the Marginalized

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Women were known to fight in Medieval battles

It wasn’t long ago that academic medievalist and author, Adam D. Jones, shut down an argument by tweeting that women played much more prominent roles in medieval society than most of us realize. Despite that contribution to history, though, our fiction would have us believe that they spent their time languishing in locked-up towers, waiting for princes or knights to finally get off their horses for the rescue. Only recently have authors begun cladding medieval heroines in armour and chain, and some of those authors are copping more than a bit of flak for it in the often-hostile Twittiverse.

Jones says they’re right, though… and that’s the first reason for authors to rewrite what we think we know about minorities. Continue reading

Intruded

Here’s some free fiction! I’m posting this as an experiment; something unpolished that I wrote in an hour, and posted raw. As writers, I think that we focus on editing areas that are important to us, but maybe not to our readers. Comments on how this story could improve are welcome, so that I can compare a list of readers’ editing priorities to my own. Yes, learning can be fun!

Visit my profile page for links to twenty published, more polished stories.

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“Oh, hey, Dylan,” the stranger said, rising out of Elliot’s favorite chair. “You’re finally home.”

Somehow, my reflex was to explain: to apologize to this intruder for holding up her busy schedule of breaking and entering. “I, uh… had some shopping to do,” I told her stupidly.

She glanced around at the collection of cloth bags near my feet. “Shame,” she said about my motley montage of groceries and toiletries. “I wish you’d called. I could have saved you the trouble.” I could see that this confident stranger was wearing heels, but her steps were oddly silent as they crossed the floor toward me. Kneeling, she started poking through my bags.

Behind me, the open door framed me with the fluorescent glow of my building’s hallway. The buzz from old lights like that drove me crazy; Elliot had always sworn she couldn’t hear them, but I needed to close the door.

I needed to get rid of the stranger, first. Continue reading