DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA. IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN MERCURY.
My first creation was Sean Patrick Ryan. I was writing a space opera and wanted someone who could have a reasonable chance against a Wookie if it came down to it. It’s why he ended up being two meters tall and one wide. Then, for reasons I can’t recall, I made him a telepath. It was probably useful at the time.
The space opera I wrote was four books long, at 400 pages each, and I wrapped up writing them within 15 months…. Keep in mind, I didn’t know that publishers also used double-spaced type, so I really wrote 800 page novels.
So that was fun.
When it came down to writing a short story for Mercury, in an anthology that involved themes of tricky, I had one character to call on. My first. Because Sean Ryan wasn’t dangerous because he was big and knew how to fight. He was dangerous because the only fair fight was one he finished. He’d smile in your face and talk you to death, because he already wired the floor with explosive charges and he’s trying to remember when button triggers the explosive you’re standing on.
Sean Ryan is very much a combination of growing up with a cinema library of Commando, Die Hard, Sleuth, Deathtrap and The Sting. We end up with a product that’s one part shoot ’em up, one part con.
And I’d already written a short story that was “Sean Ryan is being a sneaky sumbitch.” I didn’t have any particular place to put this one. So I made a minor rewrite and placed it on Mercury. It was called Deceptive Appearances.
Remember writers: it’s not cheating to recycle.
While editing Deceptive Appearances, I dug through some research on Mercury and decided, yeah, it’s going to need some habitat domes. And we’re going to be in a poorer, more rundown dome, so it’s going to be hot. Overly hot. The sort of dry heat that starts bar fights over nothing, and a wife feels the edge of a kitchen knife while eyeing her husband’s throat….
And for the record, I may have just quoted Raymond Chandler, both here and in the short story.
Another writing tip: Good writers borrow, great writers steal. But always call it “research.”
And I was fairly surprised. Our editor David Hallquist …. did nothing to it. Nothing memorable, anyway. That’s probably what happens when you polish the same bloody twenty pages for two decades.
Final tip: edit … but not too much. Otherwise you’re going to hold on to the same book you first wrote when you were 16, and don’t release it until you’ve edited it to death by 38.
– DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above.