Nick Piers

The fella who writes silly stories about a mutant armadillo private detective.

The Joys of Writing: Learning From My Mistakes

Check out Larry Nadolsky's AWESOME cover art for The Dame was a  Tad Polish.
Check out Larry Nadolsky’s AWESOME cover art for The Dame was a Tad Polish.

This year, my second novel – The Dame was a Tad Polish – is coming out. That I can say “second novel” still feels surreal. When Pro Se Press published The City of Smoke & Mirrors two years ago, it didn’t fully hit me until I held a physical copy in my hands. I don’t believe I’ve blogged about my history as a writer, but I’ve been writing since Grade 2. I’d like to think I’ve honed my skills since writing in crayon (with an accompanying picture).

Still, since The City of Smoke & Mirrors was released, I’ve listened to criticisms (my own and others), studied more about writing (and editing!) practices, and tried honing my skills.

That’s what I want to discuss.

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Quickie Review: Project Almanac, aka Don’t Waste Your Time

Project Almanac

I’m a sucker for time travel movies. There are some great ones, too, like Back to the Future or Looper.

Project Almanac…is not one of them.

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Write to the Cover Volume One is now available!

Write for the Cover Vol 1Have you ever seen the episode of Deep Space Nine called Far Beyond the Stars? The episode shows Captain Sisko imagining himself as a pulp writer in the 50s. In one part of the episode, the editor handed out various pieces of art, whereby he asked the writers to write a story around the art. It was process commonly used back then by various publishers.

Pro Se Press decided to bring this concept back with WRITE TO THE COVER VOLUME ONE. Adam Shaw’s brilliant art inspired seven writers to submit a piece for this work.

Best of all, it features a new story by yours truly: SARA SAVIOR & THE INTERGALACTIC ARMOURY. I haven’t written much space-faring sci-fi and I had a blast writing this. I tried writing it in a Buck Rogers style with plenty of action and crazy concepts. I think it worked out really well.

Buy it now at Amazon or Smashwords.

Fiction Friday: Matrimony

Huh. My story opens with an image of a vase. Happy coincidence, I suppose.

Most of my writing is totally on the fly with little planning. When I write, it’s with a rough sketch in my head and little else. This especially goes for my writing form, which is basically whatever goes down on the page at that time.

Matrimony, then, was one of the rare times I tried experimenting with the written form. Minor spoilers here, but I tried making the form match the story being told. Two characters literally unite into one, like a gestalt. To match this in form, the story when they’re apart (and fighting) is done in short sentences. When they’re united, the form changes to purposely longer sentences.

And…eh, I don’t know. I liked the idea behind the experiment, just not the execution. I might revisit the concept sometime and play with the form and story combined. This was written in my last year studying English Literature, so I think I was trying to prove  to myself I could do fancy writing tricks like famous writers.

I should note that this story makes references to things within the superhero universe that Dill operates in. It is not, however, considered canon.

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Superhero Burnout

It was announced tonight that Netflix series Daredevil has been renewed for another season. I just finished the first season and that’s great news. I love the design for Daredevil’s costume at the end and there’s plenty of places they could explore given how the season closed.

But there’s something that this Forbes article raised: “Is it possible that Netflix and Marvel are really willing to commit – in the best of cases – to four original Netflix series a year if all the series end up becoming breakout hits?” This is in relation to their plans that include other series: AKA Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and along with Daredevil, a culmination of the four in The Defenders.

Now, don’t get wrong, I’m very excited for more Daredevil. I’m also optimistically excited for the other three (and a half, counting Defenders) shows.

That said, between all these planned shows and the line-up of movies coming out, I’m starting to feel some burnout.

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If You Liked…Daredevil (TV Series), Part 2

Daredevil-posterHere’s Part 1 of If You Liked…Daredevil (TV Series

Between work and my girlfriend’s birthday, this past week has been busy for me. As a result, I’ve only reached the 9th (of 13) episode of Netflix’ Daredevil. And so far, I am hooked. I really like how they’ve taken Daredevil’s mythos and tied many of its elements together. It’s unquestionably inspired by Frank Miller’s run, but its overall tone is more in line with the work that came later.

Let’s dive right into that, continuing on from last week.

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Fiction Friday: Kamikaze Flies

Hoo boy. This story. In 2008, my first piece of writing was accepted for publication. My short story, Safe Crossing, was published by a magazine called The Country Connection (Issue #57, Spring/Summer 2009). Up until my The City of Smoke & Mirrors came out, it was my only paid work. I’m not sure if I have the rights to publish that story here on the blog, but I might someday.

In my excitement for being published by The Country Connection, I tried writing another story for them. The magazine has an outdoors/cabin theme, so I thought, “Well, flies are always buzzing around in the country. They have short lifespans, so maybe some of them  have kind of a thrillkiller lifestyle?”

Thus, Kamikaze Flies. Looking back, it’s a silly story written on the fly (heh) out of pure excitement for being published. The Country Connection rejected it, sadly. Shame. I still kinda enjoy it for its silliness. Maybe the country bumpkin style of narration grates after awhile.

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If You Liked…Daredevil (TV Series), Part 1


Update: And here’s Part 2!

Only two days have passed since the new Daredevil series dropped on to Netflix. Everyone in social media has been going nuts over it. It currently stands at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 98% audience score). Former Daredevil writer Ed Brubaker is “About halfway through,[…]and it’s pretty fucking great.” So it seems this show might be kinda good. Having only watched the first two episodes, myself, I can also confirm that it’s pretty frigging great (I’m not as potty mouthed as Mr. Brubaker).

Daredevil is my second favourite superhero. Superman will always be number one, but man, between the comics and this new show, there’s a lot more of Daredevil to enjoy these days than Superman. And I think this new series will help many people forget that movie.

What’s extraordinary about ‘ol Hornhead is that many great creative hands have dipped into Hell’s Kitchen. Oddly enough, his title has seen it as a gritty noir, swashbuckling superhero, kung-fu action, over-the-top hi-jinx, and other interpretations. Amazingly, Daredevil is a very versatile character that not only survives, but excels, in every iteration.

With that in mind, let’s dive into some great runs by some of the best creators.

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Friday Fiction: I am Jack’s Irrelevant Title (The Continuing Story of Raymond K. Hessel)

“You are going to die, Raymond!”

Here’s an interesting one that I’d forgotten about. When I’d returned to university in the early 00s ( the naughts? Do people call it that?), I took Introduction to English 1006, taught by John Muise. I really should write about John Muise sometime. He played a considerable role in influencing and supporting my writing. Maybe that’ll be a future Joys of Writing: the biggest influences in my writing career.

This story was my final “essay” for the class. See, John was open to any and all ideas for presenting our essays. It could be a presentation, a short homemade film, a comic book. Anything to break up the doldrums of reading and marking essay after essay.

One of the pieces of literature we studied with Chuck Palaniuk’s Fight Club. I love Palaniuk’s work and have greatly enjoyed other works by him, including Choke and Invisible Monsters. Inspired by Fight Club, I suddenly came up with an idea for my own story: continuing the story of Raymond K. Hessel, the sobbing gas station clerk that Brad Pitt threatened to shoot in order to give him a renewed lease on life. Keep in mind that the ending to the book was very different from the movie. It’s the book’s canon that I used.

I tried mimicking Palaniuk’s writing as best I could. I honestly don’t know if I succeeded. I also don’t really think the story holds up well to the tests of time. But it’s still an interesting experiment that I’m glad I tried.  There are parts of it that I really like, such as having a new line  for each word in the sentence, “You are going  to die, Raymond.”

Really, looking back, it’s glorified fan fiction. I don’t really know if it’d be considered good fan fiction. I do know that I was awarded an A++ from John, who loved it. If you’re curious, following  the story, I also included an afterword to explain the piece.

Anyway, I digress. Enjoy.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favoutie Movie Trailers

Welcome to another new, weekly feature: Top Ten Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I’ll present a new top ten list of some of my favourite things.

This week, I present to you my Top Ten Favourite Movie Trailers. Because let’s be honest, even if the final product may not always live up to the hype, there are plenty of movies that make us say, “I NEED TO SEE THAT, NOW!”

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