What happened this week? I haven't posted anything since last Wednesday Wrap-Up! I haven't made any headway into the Umbra vs. Doc Terror battle because watching a season of the Mighty Orbots is such a chore! I just don't like the show because it feels like a subpar combination of Inspector Gadget and Voltron. Umbra basically is a second rate Dr Claw, commanding an ever-rotating cast of minions with a deep grumbly voice. The only good thing I remember from the show is the fantastically animated intro. Maybe I should just start with Centurions, since I actually liked that show.
I've been working on the second draft of book 2, making slow progress. There's so much to be changed that I'm basically rewriting the entire thing, so it's helping keep my interest. I got some more feedback on one of my favorite sections in the first book too and I want to share it soon. Have I ever introduced the main character, Manny? I know I've mentioned him before, but I don't think I've really given him a proper introduction. I think I've got to write up a good post to show you who he is very soon.
There's no other real news now, but I feel like talking a little bit about my inspiration as I'm writing this story. When my finisher group was giving me feedback for OSE 1, Russell, the only member of the group familiar with the cartoons mentioned in the book, asked if I'd read Ready Player One.
He compared my story very closely with Ernest Cline's book, specifically with the reverence to retro pop culture. "Of course, I've read it!" I replied. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in it - I felt it referenced every bit of 80s pop culture except the cartoons! So I feel Old School Evil's filling that hole!
Surprisingly though, I didn't read it until after I wrote the first few drafts of Old School Evil. It wasn't an inspiration to write the book, but seeing all the references and respect he showed for D&D and arcade games did show me a change I needed to make in my book. Originally, Old School Evil had a lot of indirect references to cartoons and toys - I was worried that naming the shows would alienate readers that weren't intimately familiar with it. But seeing all the namedropping in Ready Player One, I decided to do the same with my book and hoping nostalgia works its magic with Old School Evil too.
Another inspiration for me, one I read before writing Old School Evil, was This Book is Full of Spider: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, by David Wong.
I absolutely loved the movie based on his first book, John Dies at the End, so I absolutely had to pick up the second book. John and Dave, the two slacker/stoner/reluctant heroes had some hilarious adventures, but it was their voice that really inspired me and shaped the way Manny and his friends talk and behave. There's so much sarcasm and dark humor in his stories, but I think this one is the very best of them, and a ton of fun.
Both of these books are great reads though, and are some of my favorite reads. Without these books, I'm not sure Old School Evil would exist, or it would feature a boring character making a ton of half-formed references about "cartoons with robots" and nameless action figures. If you're interested in reading either of them, click their pictures above and check them out!