Posts Tagged ‘Kevin R Doyle’

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Remember about two weeks back, when Kevin Doyle stopped in to talk about how his short story (which we loved around here. I finally convinced Susan to share her review copy and man, she’s right about it. Read this one) was being turned into a radio show?

Well, it didn’t all go smoothly. The radio station messed up and forgot to play it when it was scheduled. But Kevin worked some magic — which was probably more Halloweeny than not, given that he usually writes horror — and got ’em to run it the week after. Which was last Friday.

So here’s Kevin again to tell us about what it was like.

As I mentioned in the first part of this post, last summer I began making inquiries around Columbia, which resulted in Maplewood Barn Community Theatre expressing interest in performing my novelette “One Helluva Gig” as a radio show. The program ran this past Friday night on KBIA radio here in Columbia. After five months of waiting, the time had come to hear the finished product, the first time any of my prose had been converted to another medium.

It was a seasonal night, with the temp in the low seventies, so I cranked the radio on and partook myself to my balcony, complete with a nice view of the changing colors of the woods across from my place, and stretched myself out to listen, for the first time ever, to a new version of one of my stories, one I had had little to do with. (Basically, my contribution to the endeavor lay in telling Brad Buchanan that his script looked fine to me. Other people did all the actual work.)

And while they’d let me sit in during rehearsal and taping, I hadn’t yet heard the whole thing put together.

As the program started, I tensed a bit. Hearing my name and the title of my work mentioned over the radio felt a bit odd, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The beauty of it was that, already knowing the story so well and how the individual lines would sound, I didn’t have to concentrate on the individual parts but instead could listen for the full effect.

So how did it all work out?

All in all, pretty darned well. Obviously, when you take a seventy-page novelette and reduce it to about twenty pages of script, some stuff is going to be lost. And when what’s essentially a interior narrative piece is turned into more of a dialogue piece, even more changes will crop up. As I mentioned in the first part of this post, they did a good job of capturing the plot, though some of the pathos had to, inevitably, be left out. Or at least that’s how I saw it.

Yeah, okay. But how did the darned thing sound? Specifically, how did it sound nearly three years after I wrote the story, almost two years since Vagabondage Press published it in e-book form, and five months after that initial sitdown meeting with Byron and Brad?

When I’d attended the voice taping, a few days after rehearsal, I’d felt assured that these people knew what they were doing. Naturally, I could fill in for myself some of the background characterization that the script couldn’t include, but at the taping I’d heard a handful of people doing various voices as they recited lines from a script. (Which, of course, is what they were doing.)

However, the complete production included slices of music buffering the scenes, pulling the listener out of one mood and setting the tone for the next scene. And for me, that really made the difference. (As I understand it, the credit for all of that goes to Amy Humphrey.) As I sat there on my balcony, the sun setting behind the tree line, I was listening to an actual story, darn it. Not just some folks sitting around a table reading a script. I could trace the passage of time in the changing voices, hear the intelligence in the Dairy Queen girl, and feel the pathos as Jeffers expresses just how hard it is to be famous in a world that simply will not leave you be.
It was all there, maybe not in the same way that it comes across on the printed page, but the voices and the accompanying music created a different dimension, one apart from the straight printed version.

Shortly after the show ended, I made a short posting to my social media pages that summed up, in one short line, my overall feelings.

To the crew at Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, thanks guys, for taking such good care of my baby.

People of note:
Byron Scott – President, Board of Directors
Brad Buchanan – writer and artistic director
Joe Hayes – cast, production
Todd Salazar – cast
Amy Humphrey – cast, production
Darren Hellwege – cast, production
Kelli Moore – Podcast publishing

Kevin, I gotta tell you this: Susan’s jealous.

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I first met Kevin Doyle when he showed up in my inbox with his novelette, One Helluva Gig. I was going to let Jett review it, but it was so good and such a quick read that there was no time.

Then Kevin contacted me again. He’d looked into having the novella translated, so to speak, into a play. Its performance is scheduled for October 17, so I told Kevin he had to write about it for Rocktober. He was willing, and he’ll do a follow-up to this piece about what happens when it airs.

Without further ado, here’s Kevin.

A few years back, I was fortunate enough to see my first e-book released by a small, but growing, press. This was pretty much a whole new world for me, as up to this point I’d dealt exclusively in the short story arena. The “book” is actually a 14,000 word novelette, and it served as my first introduction to the idea of publishing original material in e-book form. A form, I should point out, now providing quite a service by bringing back the novelette and novella, at one point almost vanished species.

To this point, sales have been (hrrmph) modest (putting it about as mildly as possible) and I’ve been looking for new ways to market the material. One thing that kept pinging in the back of my head was the idea that, due to the structure of the work (a set number of scenes and each scene having just two characters) it seemed like this story would work fairly well as a play. However, I know zip about writing, letting alone producing, plays.

So this summer, I began scouting around the Columbia, Missouri, area seeing if I could find anyone who knew how to write plays and how to get them on stage.

Enter the Maplewood Barn Theatre.

I met a few people, who put me in touch with someone else, who led me to a few more people and next thing you know I was discovering all sorts of new stuff.

Maplewood Barn, a local community theatre, produces its plays outside in one of our parks. They run performances from May through August. Okay, most people around the Columbia area are aware of that.

However I didn’t know that during the fall and winter, when they don’t perform outside, the group produces and broadcasts radio performances, actual radio theatre, on KBIA, our local public broadcasting station. So here I was, trying to see about turning my material into a play, when I met up with some people interested in putting it on the radio, which had the appeal of being something that doesn’t often happen to original fiction.

Then, however, came the ordeal of turning my little baby over to strange people and hoping they would help it mature. I didn’t have separation anxiety, as such, but when Brad Buchanan pointed out that my sixty-page novelette would be cut down to about twenty pages, I’m pretty sure I gulped a little.

Nothing to do, though, but sit back and wait.

A few days later, the script appeared in my e-mail, and I sat down to read just what they had done to my story. Brad was apologetic at every step at having to take such “beautiful prose” (his words, not mine) and cut it down every which way.

Reading the script, I began breathing a lot easier. The basic plot, from beginning to end, is there, and all of the major scenes are left intact. On reading that initial script, I could easily recognize my work and, for most of it, my own words. Some of the emotion seemed to be missing, but I crossed my fingers that when the actors performed the script some of that would come back in.

All in all, it seemed to have come off pretty well.

Now came the next step. I knew how it read, but how would it sound when played out?

You NEED your own copy, don’t you? If I didn’t already have one, I certainly would.
Amazon
Smashwords (affiliate link. G’wan. Use it)
B&N
Kobo

I’m sure there are more retailers, too. iBooks, Oyster, Scribd… just a guess, but don’t hesitate to drop in at your favorite digital bookseller and see if they’ve got it. (report it in the comments, even, and I’ll update)

Out of the blue, Kevin R Doyle dropped into my inbox, asking if I’d review his short piece, One Helluva Gig. I was right on the tip of launching The Rock of Pages, but he was willing to wait for me to switch things over.

What a treat, to have something brand new to review – and in a timely fashion, too! – for my brand-new home of Rock Fiction.

I hope this is a sign of things to come because I absolutely adored One Helluva Gig. Kevin sent it over and, knowing I’d have time to kill while I waited for my kids, I loaded it onto my e-reader and devoured it in less than an hour, including interruptions. Jett never stood a chance with this one!

In other words: this isn’t a long read (I want to say it’s 14,000 words), but man, is it a good one.

In a nutshell, it’s the story of Frank Peters, a reporter whose career takes off when he writes a review of a band playing his college campus. The band is fronted by a charismatic guy named Rob Jeffers.

It takes a couple of years, but the two cross paths again. Again, Frank writes a review. Again, it gets noticed and he moves up the journalistic ladder, finally hitting his peak at the LA Times.

While he’s doing that, Jeffers is also climbing the ranks.

This is no fairy tale, with Jeffers riding high and Frank just so magically happening to do the same. Jeffers loses his hair and resorts to a comb-over. His waist expands beyond a middle-age spread. In a sense, there’s a feel of Elvis about his destruction, which Frank acknowledges. But there’s more, and it’s this more that sets this novella apart from so many other works of Rock Fiction.

It’s the contrast between Jeffers’ public and private personas. Author Doyle has succeeded in creating a very real private person, one who is vastly different from the person we’d like him to be. Yes, we’ve seen this person before; the scene with Frank and Jeffers during Jeffers’ birthday party isn’t new. It’s what Doyle does with it, the kinship between the two men and their acceptance of their lives that is this story’s selling point.

These two understand each other on an intuitive level. They’re men who have realized their dream, only discover it’s different from what they’d hoped for. And while that sounds depressing and pathetic, in Doyle’s hands, it’s not. It’s real, and it’s touching, and it’s the sort of thing that lingers with a girl long after she puts the e-reader down and steps back into her life, a life that somehow seems rosier and yet diminished, all at the same time.

 

A West of Mars Recommended Read that brings to mind Adrian in Jessica Topper’s Louder than Love, Merle in Michael Neil Smith’s The Drummer, and Darrell in Dan Schell’s The Road to Fluffer – and all for different reasons. Check it out.

 

One final note: Doyle says this is a departure from his regular fiction. So don’t pick up his other titles expecting more Rock Fiction. But you can — and should — expect more of the great writing and character building.