Sunday, June 2, 2013
Stimulus Money, by Dan Warthman
Imagine you have written a story and, lucky you, gotten it published. You want to write more about the same character. How do you go about doing it again, but doing it different?
Charles M. Schulz said "A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing day after day without repeating himself." And that is sort of the challenge an author faces with a series. People want to meet the same Sherlock Holmes in every Doyle story, but they want him to be doing something different.
Warthman is facing this issue in his second published story about retired hitman Jones (after "Pansy Place," which made my best-of list for last year.) (And by the way, he writes about creating the mysterious Mr. Jones at Trace Evidence.)
In the first story Warthman established a cast of characters: Jones "trying to fit into retirement," his former boss Konnie, who is the jolliest crime boss I have ever encountered, and Akin, the young hitman Jones is mentoring.
If all this crime sounds like I am describing a grim story, I am misleading you. They are witty Robin Hood tales in which Jones uses his particular skill set to help out somebody.
These days, doing a few pro bono jobs, solving problems for people, civilians. Aggravations and frustrations. Jones cut through the formalities, the rules, the mores, the laws, and gets matters settled. Helps people out.
In this case, Akin's mother's boyfriend has gotten into debt with a payday lender of dubious ethics.
It might be interesting to compare Warthman's tales to Jas. R. Petrin’s stories about Canadian loan shark, Leo “Skig” Skorzeny, who is always reluctantly willing (if that phrase makes any sense) to get his friends out of trouble.
Both series are well-written and fun.