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Tell Me - M Todd Gallowglas

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I read Todd’s first Dead Weight novella and found it really interesting. I even blurbed it. I think you’ll like it, too.

"DEAD WEIGHT: The Tombs by M. Todd Gallowglas is a fast-paced, non-linear novella that keeps the pages turning. Gallowglas effortlessly intermixes apocalyptic urban fantasy with noir elements and surprisingly believable characters. Can't wait to see what comes next." - Jennifer Brozek, The Nellus Academy Incident

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First, thanks for Jennifer for letting me post. The whole DEAD WEIGHT blog tour came from her asking me to post a “Tell Me” about the project. To see my other stops along the way, head over to http://www.mtoddgallowglas.com/2014/02/10/dead-weight-blog-tour/. I’ve had some pretty interesting things to say about DEAD WEIGHT already.

DEAD WEIGHT is my serialized, near-future, urban-fantasy, noirish, war-thriller with a dash of post-apocalyptic. I’ve talked about the inspiration coming from Tim O’Brien’s short story, “The Things they Carried.” Here are two quotes that helped shape the story from its first draft to what it is today:

“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.”

“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”


I’d originally intended the central plot to focus on a squad of Marines during the Faerie War. When started the first draft, I slammed into the first person point of view of a writer assigned to those Marines. His job was to chronicle the Marines’ story while they were in Faerie, and to carry back the memory of those who died, lest they be forgotten in our world forever. The story chose this character right from the second or third sentence from the first draft.

As the story grew, I later realized that, while the story was still about the war between the US and the Unseelie Court of Faerie, the true soldiers weren’t from the armed forces. This wasn’t that kind of war. The true soldiers were the artists who pass down our heritage, not only from our cultural backgrounds but also the culture we form with our family and friends.

The original draft of DEAD WEIGHT started from the question, “What would a group of Marines carry with them on a mission to Faerie?” Now the questions are: “What role would storytellers play in a war against a people who need stories for their existence?” “Would we be able to re-think the way we waged war fast enough to make a difference?” and “Why do we pass some stories on and keep others secret?” Stories carry weight, and the stories we don’t tell weigh on us even more than the stories we do tell, and the stories that people share with us share, and expect us not to share with others, tend to weigh heaviest of all.

We communicate mostly through stories. When we tell our spouse about our day, we tell a story. When we talk about that awesome thing we did playing our favorite sport last weekend, we tell a story. When we sit around a table share memories of our friends and family who have passed on, we tell stories. Everything we know, we know because we share it stories. Now, not ever story is spoken. We can tell stories in paint, in crayon, in dance, in photography, in film, in music (Peter and the Wolf anyone?) DEAD WEIGHT is about stories in a war where stories are the greatest weapons. Which stories do share, when do we share them, and which are so terrible we should keep them secret.

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Find out more about M Todd Gallowglas, his books, and to read some of his rants, head over to his official website: www.mtoddgallowglas.com


 

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