Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fast Lanes and Monsters

Kelli asks: Simon, you were a racecar driver in a former life ... and now you've gone from taking nail-biting adrenalin rides to creating them. Any similarities between the two professions? Any driving tips to offer us?

From a profession point of view, motor racing and the world of writing and publishing are very similar. You enter them with a dream, which may or may not get realized. They are extremely tough businesses to succeed in and they require total dedication. Every waking moment is consumed with them. You’re unlikely to get rich and you need an understanding loved one to back you up every step of the way.

Motor racing helps you experience every kind of emotions. I experienced the very highs and the very lows. I knew what fear, rage, regret, euphoria and anything else you care to name felt like—and probably experienced them in the same afternoon. It’s made me empathetic when it comes to writing about characters in tight spots. It’s helped me emulate those feelings into my characters.

I think my background has also helped when writing adrenaline filled scenes. People don’t react they way you think they will in pressure situations. We have animalistic traits that kick in when we’re scared and we develop tunnel vision. The periphery goes out the window when survival is all that counts.

So yes, motor racing taught me a lot of life lessons that I use in my writing and in my career as a writer. As for driving tips, I’ll leave you with these:
• Always brake in a straight line before entering a corner and not in a bend.
• Every car from a Yugo to an Aston Martin stops twice as fast as it accelerates. So the brake pedal will get you out of trouble faster than the gas.
• Any idiot can drive fast in a straight line, but a hero knows how to make a car fly through the bends.
• ABS is for girls.

Bill asks: What's the status on Hellephant? Any other Syfy Original projects working in your mind?

I guess I should fill the readers in on this. I have a guilty pleasure in the form of SfFy Channel’s Original Monster Movies on a Saturday night. One of my literary dreams is to have a shot at writing one. Why should I want to write trashy monster movie, you might ask? The answer is simple—because it’s there.

Hellephant is my dream project. Hellephant’s special ability involves a little known feature about elephants that makes them unique from every animal on the planet. The story itself centers on revenge, a 200-year-old curse, ivory poachers and some much deserved deaths.

I have teamed up with a couple of writers to work on some monster movie projects. The one I’m working on specifically is Dog Town. Even if it never sees the light of day as a movie, I believe it has the basis for a pretty interesting novel.

Yours going too fast,
Simon Wood

PS: For those joining the party late, anyone who leaves a comment, your name will go into a draw to win a copy of my latest book, Terminated. At the end of the week, I'll draw two names and send them a book.


Bill Cameron said...

I have to feel like a delightful giddiness would come with the chance to write a Syfy original monster movie. The rigid structure would actually provide a certain freedom—you know what has to go where in a broad sense—so all the focus could be on coming up with increasingly delightful absurdity. Seems like the kind of thing you could have a lot of fun with.

Of course the downside of any screenwriting endeavor is the committee aspect of the editorial oversight. But nothing's perfect, right. Vive la Hellephant!

simon wood said...

Let's hope the dream becomes the reality.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Good luck with Hellephant! I'd love to see the ivory hunters get their just desserts!

Car question: My husband autocrosses our cars and invariably they develop a rattle in the right front. What the heck IS that sound? I've taken various cars into mechanics and gotten differing opinions, but nothing ever fixes it.

(my captcha was plotrino)

Terry Stonecrop said...

I hope your dream becomes a reality too.

I love going fast. Race car driving was one of my secret fantasy jobs when I was in High School. Must have been fun for you!

simon wood said...

Motor racing was the best and worst of times and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world--well, maybe some of my crashes I would.

Rebecca: depending on the noise, it could be anything from wheel bearings to the needle bearing in the clutch falling apart or even worn ball joints or CV joints.

simon wood said...

Bill: can you believe that a writing friend (or ex-writing friend) has his syfy movie next saturday. where's the justice?