HLH 10 Behind the Scenes


Here are notes I sent to Liam Owen and my editor. May be interesting or not.


I’ve sent HLH 10 to the editor. She estimated about 2 weeks to complete. Then maybe another week for me to edit and put it up on Amazon.

I sent you a big ass document on the characters and background before. Let me know if you need it again. But another good example is the movie the Blues Brothers. That was probably one of my top 3 favorite movies for at least a decade. You can’t be sure of where all your influences come from, but I studied that film. The big point to me was it was a comedy, but it was rewatchable. Most comedies, pure comedies, you can only see once. And then it’s not funny anymore. Shock humor is like that for sure. You need to have other stuff going on. But that tone is what I’m after. And everyone is dead serious in the film. I think only John Candy laughs and he’s just some side character. Here is a great clip of the Penguin. And I just rewatched it and I laughed. I’ve seen that scene maybe 40 times over 35 years and I still laughed. There was shit I still didn’t know. Like her name was Sister Mary Stigmata. I didn’t even catch that joke the first zillion times I saw that movie. But everyone is serious despite it being silly. And Jake and Elwood are dark, reprobates that we laugh at. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzXXJWBndmE

HLH 10 has 3 kinds of chapters. There are the ones Hank is narrating. There are the one that has side characters of Garm/Delovoa/Rendrae. And there are a few that have an assassin. I don’t think you should use a different narration voice, because that’s very jarring. But maybe an extra quarter-second pause before going from dialogue to attribution (she said, he said, it replied, etc).

I’m attaching 2 sample chapters that haven’t been edited. First is Hank, MTB and Fate. Fate is a new character. She is a “female” robot. But don’t use any effects because that’s hard to replicate and I think jarring. No effects or music. So the 2nd chapter is not Hank narrating. That is an omniscient narrator. So you can think about how you want to do that. But, again, I don’t think there should really be any difference. I’m not sure it matters, but you can think on it.

I forgot to mention that Rendrae was originally (from the very first book) based off of Hedda Hopper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedda_Hopper I had uncovered that era researching other stuff and thought it was pretty intriguing. A very early kind of TMZ, but it was just a few people who controlled it. Louella Parsons and Walter Winchell and her.

Here is a note I sent my editor on HLH 10 that deals with audio:

This is the cover I’m working on. https://i.imgur.com/p4gqrpp.jpg

That is Fate lying in the foreground.

A note on some of the styles. For a lot of years now, I make more money on audiobooks than print. The audiobooks are unabridged, so they are word-for-word the same. And I’ve always had some issues making both work. I’ve always used a fair amount of mark-up and punctuation, like italics and exclamations and ellipses and whatever else. Because I’m trying to convey to the narrator how to say it. In a book, you’re using the attribution. Here is an extreme example of my issue.

“Hey. Who do you think you are?” he asked sarcastically. He also slurred every other word because of his inebriation.

That’s (sort of) fine in a book. But in an audiobook, the narrator would read like that and then SAY he’s reading like that. Which is redundant and annoying.

I had always used almost comic book level of typesetting. Not that much. But the big thing about comic lettering is there’s no attribution. All you have is a word balloon. So you don’t know how they’re saying it without crazy fonts and bolds and bleeding bubbles. Which is how that style came about.

So I’m trying to have enough to not annoy readers and not be redundant to audio listeners yet still convey to the narrator how he should read it. Too much mark up in a book and it looks choppy and unprofessional. But I think low levels, especially stuff like italics, we kind of ignore.


I arguably live in one of the most musical regions in the country: Los Angeles. Lots of bands here. Lots of recording industry here. And...

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