(A table of contents will become available when I return to a computer post volunteer work tonight. It will be kept updated throughout the series, and I will reblog it upon completion of the series. This series will remain open for additional posts.)

Part 3: Ever Versatile Action and Adventure

If statistics could be pulled for each genre from across the world where every book is labeled with every label that could apply to them, I would be willing to stake some amount of money on the opinion that either “action” or “adventure” would be tagged on at least 80% of all books. Despite that these are two separate genres that simply happen to share many similar qualities, they are often paired together, even hyphenated to action-adventure fiction. Not only are they squished together, but they’re often a “given” label in other genres.

Yes, action and adventure are our most prevalent cross-genre perpetrators.

What makes an action story?

This is the easiest genre to understand and the hardest to talk about without sounding silly, because honestly, an action story is exactly what it sounds like: A story that is driven by action. This doesn’t sound like anything special, but consider that narrative can be driven by two forces: external conflict and internal conflict. Much of genres like literary fiction and the classics deal in internal conflict that are character-driven. Action is a more outward show of doing things, rather than thinking about things.

Because of action’s broad definition, the genre can be crossed with nearly any other genre. Action thriller? Absolutely. Action historical? For sure. Action comedy? Have you even seen Guardians of the Galaxy?

Given how prevalent action can be, when trying to decide if your story aligns with this genre, you’ve got to be more careful than you would think. Don’t just slap it on because it probably applies. Consider how much down-time your story has. The more character-focused, the more willing to pause and smell the roses with your characters, the more internal dialogue there is in your tale, the more likely it is that you simply don’t need this label.

Choosing your genre isn’t a mad rush to find all 26 labels that fit your story. You’re looking for 1-3, maybe 4 at the maximum. 2 is the sweet spot. Is action really one of the main 2 or 3 focal points of your story? Did you write this because you were looking for the thrill of the car chase? Really think hard before taking action as one of your carefully-chosen genres.

What makes an adventure story?

Action–external sources of conflict–is often a key feature of an adventure. That’s why these two get linked so often. But there’s more to adventure than just filling your pages with things happening. We’re talking about a mission, a goal to achieve, obstacles to overcome–and these may even be internal! The most often-seen and most often-accepted adventure stories center on the external: Villains and evil antagonists, mountains standing in the way, a battle to wage. Just as important can be the adventures that are more mundane: Moving to a new town, finding new friends, a character overcoming their anxieties to accomplish something. The Lord of the Rings is a quintessential adventure story, but alongside it are The Bridge to Terabithia and Trickster’s Choice.

Just as action is an exceptionally broad genre, adventure also winds up cross-genre-ing with just about everything. Adventure romance? Try Through Fire & Sea. Adventure dystopian? The Fog Diver. Adventure comedy? The Worst Class Trip Ever.

All the same warnings apply to adventure as applied to action. Be discerning about what your key features of your story are. Is your plot couched in a quest? Are your characters making a journey? Do they get into trouble they have to find their way out of? Adventure is probably for you. Add it to your list!

Next up: Alternative History!

Short Story Saturday: “We Are Not Stabbing Anyone”

Rating: 16+ for drug usage and violence
Genre: Sci-Fi Action

We are not stabbing anyone,” her mother commanded softly.

She sat and pouted a little. Wasn’t this what being a part of an assassin family was all about? Killing people who you were supposed to kill with whatever means necessary? Her mother had always told her she was too excited about the gore to be an assassin, but it was her first job, and it was hard not to be.

Their target for today was a politician from Sweden. Apparently even the Swiss has political enemies. This always confused her. Sweden seemed to be the most peaceful country of them all, but still, a job was a job, and this one was paying a good deal of money. Not so little money as to make them refuse the job, but not so much that she couldn’t join her mother for this particular one. Her mother had thought it good that she join so that she could see that not all assassinations involved sharp weaponry.

She was extremely excited for this, though. She could finally tell Abbe and Kade, her two cousins from Holland who were also in the hired gun business, about her first killing trip. They had been such prudes recently, making sure that all the cousins knew they were already in a job but that it was hush-hush so that no one would know.

They were dressed to the nines as they rode through the streets in their stolen limousine. Luckily, they had an extremely realistic android chauffeur, so none of the information they spoke would fall on interested ears. “Remember,” her mother said as she tipped her sunglasses up, “this job is all about playing your part well. Do you remember your alibi?”

She paused for a moment and then replied, “He secretly has a fancy for cocaine, and we are going to bring him his regular dose, or so he thinks.”

“Which is?”

“A snort-able poison ten times more potent than hydrocodone. He’ll be dead within the first couple seconds.”

Her mother polished her nails, looking ahead. “Good, but you hesitated.”

“I did.”

“Repeat it until we get to the checkpoint, then.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Her mother sat in silence as she continually repeated her alibi along the obnoxiously well-paved back road to the politician’s home. There were all sorts of things that could go wrong, but that was what being an assassin was about – to write wrongs and wrong rights. Their job shaped the rise and fall of nations. Their jobs were the most important jobs in the world, her mother had told her, and to never take that lightly.

They arrived at the checkpoint, meeting with a very well dressed guard at the gate. The guard knocked on the window. Their chauffeur rolled down her window, as she became her alibi and her mother blocked the signal to the video cameras. One of the two guards looked down at her, eyes half open in the summer sun, only barely visible underneath semi-dark sunglasses. He looked between her and his clipboard.

“Name?” he asked in Swedish.

“That’s classified,” she responded, spoken with both a perfect Swedish accent and pronunciation. He looked at her and raised an eyebrow. That was odd. He shouldn’t have been surprised.Classified folks probably came here often.

He went back to his clipboard. “Your company, then?” This man was thorough. That was good. People always wanted a thorough person.

“That is also classified.” She did her best to appear bored and just a tad bit annoyed. “This is a special package for Mr. Persson.”

“Well, may I see it?”

She begrudgingly gave him the box while her mother watched nervously in a way only she could notice. He scanned it with a metal scanning device and then began to open it before she stopped him.

“For his eyes only.”

He smiled. “Oh, I know what this is. He has given us permission to take a snort occasionally. It’s a very boring job back here, you know.” And before she could stop them, they opened it and took a sniff together. One turned his head to her moments before they both fell down dead.

The chauffeur rolled the window up, and her mother looked at her and smiled. “Good job. Now we know it works.”

They drove towards the house, a very happy mother and a much more worried daughter. Apparently this politician only had two security guards at the back entrance. He must have just been becoming popular.

Upon coming closer to the door, they walked out of the vehicle and came up to the door. Her mother ringed the doorbell and it opened to yet another security guard. Hopefully, this one’s death would be easier to explain, she thought. Her mother gave her a knowing look as the guard spoke. His facial structure looked familiar, but she wasn’t quite sure. If this was whom she thought it was…

“Name?” he began, just before a large man appeared behind him.

He looked very excited to see them.“No worries, sir,” he said to the guard, looking avidly into the box. “This is the daily package. You’re slightly late, my friends! But no worries, I am good with a couple minutes of waiting.”

Just as he began to open the box, he dropped it, spilling all its contents on the ground. He brought his face back up, which had changed its form of a smile. Earlier it had been a smile that showed life and joy. This time, it spoke of a terrifying sort of joy.

“Or, I would be,” he said, “If it was the regular package that had arrived. Your loop on the video cameras was…impressive… but I have heart rate monitors on all of my guards. You meant for this batch to kill me.” He turned his back and walked inside. “Kill them.”

Suddenly the two guards took off their sunglasses, and she was truly aware of who they were. She cursed under her breath. It was Abbe and Kade, her Dutch cousins.

“Charlotte, Tante!” Abbe yelled in his typical broken English. “What you two doing in Sweden in summer?” Abbe walked toward her mother, Kade towards Charlotte.

She and her mother raised their hands in a defensive position. “I really don’t want to kill you, Abbe,” her mother pleaded.

“It’s funny, Tante,” he said with a chuckle, ejecting a baton from each sleeve. They began to spark with electricity. “I don’t really have this issue.” He rushed at her with both sticks.

It was very hard for Charlotte fight someone of the exact same caliber of fighting talent as her, but she blocked and parried Kade as best as she could. He was more interested in a mixture of Shotokan and a gun, but she knew how to block guns decently. His feet were moving incredibly fast; at a speed even she could not match.

He switched feet position quickly and lunged forward. Stupid Kade – she knew to watch the eyes. They began an all out brawl, him kicking with incredibly fast combinations as she jumped and countered right back. At one point she managed to catch a leg, but just before she could break it he launched into the air and landed a sideways kick into her face. He wasn’t expecting her to still be holding on. She landed him onto the ground, beginning to put him into an ankle lock. He shot at her face as she dodged, but it was just enough time for him to hop out of the lock and begin to pound on her face. He was faster, she would admit, but not as smart. She moved his hands just fast enough to get her hands into a neck-snapping position. She saw in his eyes that nothing would slow him down, nothing would stop him until either she was dead or he was.

“Sorry, Kade.”

She muffled the snap. She looked to see that her mother had already taken down Abbe. She saw the politician had begun moving quickly after seeing his men go down as quickly as they did. She nodded towards her mother, and they began leaping towards him. His mother strapped him into a chair, and she cupped some of the killing substance into her hands, making sure her nose was plugged as she pulled her mask up.

“This won’t look like an accident,”he exclaimed. “The world will know who did this!”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Charlotte said, “But either way, you’re still dead.”

He struggled not to breath as she shoved some powder into a straw, but she punched him in the gut. He breathed out. He began to breathe back in just as she shot the powder into his nose. He stared in shock at her as he fell unconscious.

The car drive home was rather quiet, besides the few occasional angry guards who tried to ensue with their cars. It was smart to have a robot as the driver. They could do all sorts of get-away tricks without question and just on the right time. Near the end of the trip,during the flying section, her mother looked at her with solemn eyes.

“I’m sorry about Kade and Abbe. I didn’t want to do it any more than you did, trust me. They were good boys, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Charlotte breathed out. “I know.”She sat still. “Is this a common thing?”


They sat in silence. Her mother turned on the news. The report of the politician’s death was streaming all across the world. It had been set up just as they had intended, an overdose. With a little change to the crime scene, a little bribing by the mafia, this had all gone rather well.

“It was a good first mission,” her mother said. “I’m proud of you.”

Charlotte thought so, too. She smiled as she took a sip of Early Grey Tea. They were arriving now. It was good to be back in England.

On the Prowl Again!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made a blog, so I figured I should get back into the swing of things and let you all know what’s happening.

Basically, since you’ve been gone I’ve gone to the liberty of editing the book even more-so than it was before! It is now at 399 pages (a travesty for a person with slight OCD, but I have no important things to add and so I will try not worry about it). There’s a lot more character interaction in this version, grittier themes and even more epic fight scenes. Less gore, more grit is how my mind works. Although the old version simply touched on the themes of the destiny, this one also adds the themes of humanity, war, family, morality, and whether or not a person is really inherently good.

Also, since I last posted, the very first hint at character looks is shown in the art for Chapter 4.
I personally love Annika’s work. She’s a champ. I can’t wait to see her continued work, as she plans to do some work for each chapter. Amazing!

Also, because I could, I added some more depth to the hinted love triangle that was already there. I’ve just plain had fun with it, because why shouldn’t I? My favorite part as to now has been the two characters in the book, Luc and Roach. Roach is pronounced Roak, but I didn’t like the “k” look so I switched it to something that I thought looked better. Then I realized what that spelled, and for comedy kept it. As both characters have deep accents, I will admit what they are based on: Scottish. I happen to have a deep love for Scotland, as everyone from my mother’s side is at least part scottish. I’m a fourth-generation American, and one of my oldest family apparently still remembers the boat ride. This boggles my mind, and so in order to make my extended family proud, I put some people in there who sound Scottish. Also, it’s just fun to write for.

However, I am a busy man and just am not in the mood to do a heavily long and detailed speech regarding everything that’s happened, so I will let the work speak for itself. Please observe a certain scene, which I will remove spoilers for and add things to help with context. Also realize that I cannot display some names because I switch constantly between evil and good characters. I don’t want you all to know who goes bad and who doesn’t just yet.

“Whit’s aw thes?” He asked with a drunken slur. He then saw ******* and his eyes widened. “One ‘e you!” he bellowed, grabbing the sword that was resting on his hip and rushing toward *******.
He put his hand out and a blast of air flew towards him. To his surprise, Roach dodged to the left and continued rushing at him. *******’s eyes widened. He continued shooting blasts of air at him as Roach swaggered out of the way drunkenly, hiccupping between dodges occasionally. ******* let out one giant wide-ranged blast [of wind magic], hurling Roach into the house and also knocking the house over.
As the dust cleared, he saw Roach’s brother sat in the rubble next to a table. He took a cup off the table and took a sip. The table and chair he was sitting on crumbled. He looked at ******* angrily as he stood up and took another sip.
“Whit is thes, ye comin’ ower an’ knockin’ mah hoose doon loch ‘at? Bludy rude, e’en fur a monster.” He picked up a sword from the rubble and threw the cup over his shoulder. “Ye need some ‘elp Roach?”
Roach hiccupped. “Ah dornt need yer help, Luc! i’ve got thes! It’s jist one ‘o ‘em!”
Roach’s brother joined Roach and also ran toward *******, but taking a route with the clear intention of coming behind him.

And so, now that that’s all over, I will admit that I am on the prowl for an editor. I don’t know who it will be yet, but as a college kid, it’s hard to find time to do it myself. But I’m happy to have someone else giving it a try, someone a little more professional and who has a fresh look on it.

Adios, my dark friends, keep on following and viewing!