Yesterday I finished reading Native Son by Richard Wright. It was difficult to read because of the blatant racism depicted on so many levels and I know that the depiction was accurate. I believe America has made progress since the release of that book, but know we still live in a racist society. Worse I know that many people in America today look back at how things were in that book as favorable and as a time they’d like to get back to. I believe those conditions are included for many when they don Make America Great Again caps.

As for the writing of the book, what struck me as profound was that in its four hundred plus pages, there were very few plot points in the book. Very significant things occurred but in terms of plot points, they were limited in a book of this length. And I see that allowed for the genius of the book. The majority of the text related the internal thoughts of the point of view character, Bigger Thomas, and the subtext of the actions that surrounded him.

With Orly Bialek, I try to devote a lot of her narration to her private thoughts, but someday I would like to write something that really plunged so deeply into one’s thoughts (perhaps even my own) that the thoughts themselves become the true story. But that is hard to do. It is not as easy as just sticking to an internal monologue. It has to be understandable, relatable, and still possess the things a story requires—a progression of character, a movement of circumstances, a reckoning, a realization, a change. I referred to this as the genius of Native Son and that is what it is.

Native Son by Richard Wright

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In my May 18 post, I mentioned the difficulties I’ve been having writing the fifth book in the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series. Contrary to what I previously posted, I decided not to give up on basing it on the 1970s horror film Race with the Devil, and so I watched it again. In doing so, I realized why I was hitting a brick wall with my own story. The impetus for that film is violence, as it is in most horror films. Trying to escape violence is what consistently propels the story forward. I don’t want violence to be the impetus of the new Maddie and her BFF book, yet I couldn’t find another way to drive their road trip story without it. This problem led to days of not writing at all, which quickly led to feelings of despair.

Today, I sat down and decided to just write the story with no guidelines in mind, nor any outlined sequence of events as I always have before I start writing anything. I just let the characters be themselves and let that guide their story. It was almost like free writing. In watching what unfolded, I began to see that their road trip story could in fact become a story about love. I’ve never written like this before, with no predetermined story structure, but I’m going to just go with it because at least I’m writing something. And to my amazement, I’m slowly discovering a way to still base the story loosely on that horror film, without needing the violence.

Race with the Devil Poster

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I’ve been busy as an author lately. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was interviewed by two websites. The Orange County Readers website posted my interview and a review of The Scribbled Victims this week. You can read it here.

Also in my previous post, I mentioned doing a photo shoot for new author photos. I finally selected one and posted it to my social media. I intend to use this photo for the interview with the This Is Writing website as well as the back cover for the redesigned cover of The Scribbled Victims and the cover of Scribbling The Eternal, when it is released. I decided to go with a black and white image this time.

Author Robert Tomoguchi
My New Author Photo

Speaking of new covers, I will soon be releasing a new cover for The Scribbled Victims. I had been very happy with my current cover as it looked like literary fiction. However, as my designer had become too busy to work on my projects in a timely manner, I had to make the very tough decision to find a new cover designer. As I am working with a new designer, I decided to go with a new look for the entire trilogy. The new covers will feature an image of Orly, but I have high hopes the covers will still look like literary fiction or general fiction, rather than paranormal or fantasy.

Because I had find a new cover designer, this also meant I had to find a new designer to typeset and design the interior of Scribbling The Eternal. (My original designer had designed both the cover and book interior.) Because this is a trilogy, it was important to me that the interiors of all three books matched, so I had this new designer go back and re-typeset and design the interior of The Scribbled Victims. This new design will be used for all books in the trilogy. I just reviewed the second proof of the interior today and only had one change request, so I think the new interior will be finalized very soon.

The text for Scribbling The Eternal continues to be edited, but I am still hopeful for an early fall release.

Finally, I’m now writing the second chapter in the yet to be titled fifth installment of the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series.

More to come.

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Late last month I was interviewed for the Orange County Readers website. I’m going be featured there as a local author. About a week later, I was asked for an interview by the This Is Writing website. For that interview, they asked for an author photo. Since I don’t have my facial piercings anymore, I thought it was a good time to take new photos. So today, my sister took 113 photos of me. My niece Brooke came along to try to get me to smile in the photos. You can see her below making fun of me as I always look grumpy in photos. I absolutely hate being photographed. 

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