Kia ora koutou katoa, e hoa ma! After two+ years of simply being called 'NO MORE HEROES 2', I'm very happy to be finally bringing you both the title and cover of the second instalment to the Vigverse! So without further ado, as a reverse birthday present from me to you, may I present...
Many of the characters I write tend to be ace/aro by unconscious default. This was true even before asexual and aromantic were words in my vocabulary! Although not yet explicitly stated in-text, No More Heroes follows in this same vein, with many of the cast being somewhere on the ace/aro spectrums – so for #AsexualAwarenessWeek I released a tweet+graphic each day specifying some of the orientations of the Ace VIgilantes amongst the crew. Check it out!
Clare, aka AURAE. Asexual/aromantic.
Quick wits & fast feet. bright & bubbly, Has a lot of love in her heart.
Linus, aka EIDOLON. Grey ace maybe/bi???romantic (a questioning boy).
Proud Samoan. Compassionate, sweet & intuitive.
Fang, aka RESONANCE. Asexual/greyromantic.
Cool & confident. Small but strong, a capable & adaptable Vigilante.
Joshua, aka REHUA. Grey ace/grey+panromantic.
Has a heart of gold. Gentle & warm, a strong & dependable guardian.
Shaan, aka ARTIFICE. Asexual/demi+homoromantic.
Calm & collected. Charismatic & intelligent, but difficult to read.
Faye, aka FARADAY. Demisexual/biromantic.
Sharp tongue & sweet laughter. Quick wit & charm, but deadly to oppose.
Find out more about the Vigilante universe
Get your copy of No More Heroes today!
Woohoo! As always, it's available for both Kindle and ePub and comes with some bonus digital wallpapers, just for you. Check it out!
For Māori Language Week this year, I decided to do something a little different and translate some of the key aspects of No More Heroes into Te Reo Māori. I shared one for every day of the week, focusing on some of the unique concepts, characters and locales of my little universe.
Big thanks to Kia and Indya for looking over my translations for me and generally being awesome human beings. Koia kei a kātoa!
Find out more about the Vigilante universe
Get your copy of No More Heroes today!
It was a cool night of a warm day in the heart of the City.
The breeze was light, the ever-present night fog swirling thinly along the footpath, carrying a diffused echo of the streetlamps and shop neons above in its ghostly cotton curls. The sky above was clear and cloudless, the Milky Way and its denizens bright and beautiful, and the sweet sound of crickets could be heard in the air.
In other words, it was a Perfect Night – but on this night of all nights it was especially perfect.
Hey, friends! Guess what? It's October, which means we're officially one month closer to National Novel Writing Month 2016 and it's time to start planning! Woo!
Some of you may or may not already know that No More Heroes started off as a pretty straightforward WriMo venture back in 2014. It was my first Nano and I was inspired to participate in part due to my friend Saf of Not Saf for Work – more specifically, I was spurred by my desire to write some more fun, action-oriented long-form fiction, following my experience doing a short, chaptered 'companion' story which was based off a superhero-themed WriMo Saf wrote way back in the day. Prior to No More Heroes I spent a great deal of time writing mostly one-off short stories which were stylistically very different to how No More Heroes ended up being!
For my first NaNo ever, I'm pleased to say I did pretty darn well! I was motivated and full of ideas and ended up hitting the quarter mark less than a week in, smashing the 50K goal in about 20 days, and finishing off the month with more than 62K under my belt. Sure puts the 8K postgrad thesis I took eight months to write into perspective, haha. Due to some of the rad winners' perks for that year I was encouraged to self-publish No More Heroes on CreateSpace, effectively making me the published author that I always wanted to be as a teenager.
However, even though I was brimming with inspiration, I definitely wouldn't have been as onto it as I was if I hadn't been prepared in advance. So for this blog post, I'm going to share three simple but helpful tricks that helped me get through my first (and second) NaNoWriMo/s. I know that planning is often a case of 'different strokes for different folks', but for those of you that do benefit from a little structure like myself (even though we might like to see ourselves as being improvisational and spontaneous), this list might be helpful for you! So without further ado...
1. Get To Know Your Characters
I wrote a blog post a while ago called Three Quick Ways to Establish and Flesh Out Your Characters, which was – you guessed it – a little list of my favourite three tricks on character creation and development. If you haven't checked it out, give it a read! You might find something useful to you. This might seem like a really basic and obvious first point, but it's worth reiterating, especially when it comes to writing your character/s into situations of conflict, or scenarios where their flaws or vulnerabilities might make themselves apparent.
Beyond just knowing things like their primary characteristics, friends/enemies, likes/dislikes or fears, ask yourself questions like: what fundamental 'rules' does this character follow (ie. moral code)? How does this character react to stress? How do they behave when faced with a task or situation they might not be equipped to or want to handle? Once you have a good grasp on a character's behaviour patterns, it becomes a lot easier to both know what obstacles to throw them, as well as understand how they might (or might not) overcome them.
2. Understand the Rules of your World
If you've ever been a DnD Dungeon Master or participated in a DnD campaign, you'll probably be familiar with this process. This will be a different experience for everyone. No More Heroes, an urban fantasy, was initially pretty close to the 'real world' as we know it, at least when it came to setting. As I continued to develop the lore behind my main mechanics though, the setting (and thus the rules) of the world shifted further and further into unknown territory, resulting in the substantially more unique universe that I ended up with in the final novel. I wrote a lot of notes on the "science" behind Abilities during my planning phase – science which I never really got into elucidating during the course of book, but which I'm hoping to be able to explore more in future stories in the Vigilante universe.
By the way, by 'rules' I mean questions like 'what kind of influence does the setting have over your characters' and 'what kind of influence do your characters wield over their environment'. Is the core conflict of your story Man vs Man, Man vs Nature, Man vs Self, or something else entirely? I usually default to Man vs Man, but depending on where your novel sits on the reality/fantasy spectrum, you'll have your own particulars to consider in terms of what makes your setting work for your story. By understanding your world and the rules it follows, you can play with the challenges or advantages it presents your characters, and what kind of physical, mental or societal limitations exist.
3. Find Your Beats/The Three Act Narrative Structure
I'm going to admit up front that I have a kind of love-hate relationship with the ol' Three Act Narrative Structure. On the one hand, I hate the idea that all stories must follow a three act structure to be "good", because that's just not true. On the other hand, I really enjoy the substance that planning to the three act structure gives my long-form work, and knowing all my major turning points in advance really helps me pace out my story before November even starts. Gah!
But for real, the three act structure has been incredibly helpful for me. Being able to have a reference for which beats I should have where has allowed me to learn how to space out the events of my story and how to arrange them to work up to the pivotal climax of my novel. I have a specific fifteen-beat outline that I follow within the three act structure, which is a hybrid of an elaboration on the three act structure with a version of the Hero's Journey. After I've figured out what's happening and when, I separate my outline into chapters, which makes my workload a lot easier to parse. Also, it's really fun coming up with chapter titles.
And there they are. To be honest, these are all pretty simple points – not very groundbreaking or revolutionary at all! But all these plus ample advance planning time really do make a world of difference when it comes to a venture like NaNoWriMo. And of course, your story, your characters and your world rules may well change during the course of your writing – they certainly did for me, with some big ol' plot revelations and new ideas only dawning on me halfway during the month. But having a structure you can work off and pre-establishing even some of the above can really make for a much smoother ride all around, especially when time is not on your side.
If you have your own methods you like to employ when it comes to story planning, leave a comment and let me know! I'd love to hear about it. And as always, if you'd like to see the fruits of my labour, you can get your own physical or digital edition of No More Heroes from this website (where you can get some bonus wallpapers with your purchase) or get it from Amazon or Kobo. In the meantime, all the best to all your NaNo'ers, old-hands and novices alike, and I hope you all have a good October and a productive NaNoWriMo to come! : )
At the edge of the central district in the City Over, a dark-haired girl in a faded shirt and ripped jeans kicked open the back door of a club and stormed out into the night.
As someone within the local parkour/freerunning community, I never have to look very far for inspiration when it comes to movement. Even just within our local scene we have so much talent and diversity in style – it makes for a wellspring of creative stimuli, whatever you're doing. My repeated yet-unsuccessful attempts to do B-kicks and Aerials aside, I'm definitely more a parkour than freerunner practitioner, but if it's one thing I am pretty practiced at, it's observing others. Though my (currently) limited skillset probably begs to differ, watching others train at jams or gatherings has been both really helpful on a technical level, and extremely interesting from a creative standpoint. It's natural then with my love of dynamic action in fiction that I incorporated parkour and freerunning elements into No More Heroes... specifically, in writing characters who practice the discipline in their nightly escapades.
The characters I speak of make up the secondary team of Vigilantes in the novel, and within their group they encompass some of the 'types' of practitioners you'll often find within the parkour and freerunning community. One is primarily a parkour practitioner; another is well-versed in both practices, but tends to incorporate more tricks into their movements; the third is learned in aspects of both, but is more casual in their approach and their use of either discipline. These three incorporate their practices into their Vigilante duties not just in terms of urban exploration and chase sequences, but also into their fighting styles, which – even in having three 'parkour superheroes' – made for some nice diversity within the team and their dynamics with each other.
I drew from many different sources (both real and fictional) when it came to writing the action scenes and moments in No More Heroes, but one of these aforementioned secondary Vigilantes I largely modelled after a practitioner I know, who regularly amazes and inspires me with their skill and approach to training. Their style of movement in particular is one I really love to watch – it's a strong, clean and confident way of moving, purposeful and steadfast. While there's a pretty clear distinction between their personalities, this practitioner was definitely a pretty strong influence on the way I ended up shaping and writing the Vigilante in question, just through their style of movement.
But that's enough of that for now! Below is a short playlist I created with some parkour and freerunning videos I like – in particular, I aimed to include ones that had some good examples of flow. If your parkour terminology is a little lacking, that's okay – you'll probably have a pretty good idea of what I mean after watching some of these. After you've had your fill of sweet moves, don't forget to check out the link to the excerpt of Chapter 3 of No More Heroes at the end of this post!
Thanks for reading, folks. If you're interested in seeing some of the parkour and freerunning action in No More Heroes for yourself, don't forget you can get it in print and digital editions either on this website, or from Amazon or Kobo. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!
READ IT NOW
Whew! Time sure flies. As of June it's been a year since I published No More Heroes, so to celebrate I'm permanently dropping the price of the print edition to $11USD/$19.90NZD!
As before, the price of digital editions is just $7USD/$10NZD. If you're looking for something to read and enjoy a good action/adventure flick, check it out!
This one's been a long time coming – I've been meaning to start a blog on this site for a while, to post things relevant to the universe or development of No More Heroes. I've got a whole slew of content planned for this blog, including but not limited to exclusive short stories, neat story trivia , and official art/media. I'll also be sharing some of the things that have inspired or continue to inspire the world and characters I've created, such as action scenes from films/games, rad music, and cool information that I find during my research process.
So whether or not you've read No More Heroes, feel free to follow along! I hope you'll find something to enjoy here. You can also follow my musings and such on the No More Heroes Twitter and Facebook accounts.
No More Heroes
An Action/Adventure YA novel. Vigilante action, rad fights & a mystery to be solved. Care to join the fray?
Michelle Kan is a filmmaker, videographer and writer based in Wellington, New Zealand.