My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Erik Williams to talk about how the power of verisimilitude relates to Demon.
My superpower? Where do I begin? I have so many, you see…
Chief among them is BS. Outside of my ability to BS, I’d say my most important superpower in writing my book was verisimilitude.
You see, I wrote this novel Demon. It’s about a CIA assassin who finds himself hunting down a real, true blue demon in war-torn Iraq. A demon that pretty much causes anyone within a few feet of it to go crazy and kill each other. It doesn’t even do it on purpose. It’s his presence, by Jove!
Anyway, the biggest dilemma you tackle when writing the supernatural and plopping it down in the real world with very real settings is getting the reader to buy into it. I mean, this isn’t a fantasy world where I can make up any damn rule I want. This is now. Our world. How do you get readers to push the “I believe” button and ride along?
You gotta give the work verisimilitude. You know, a work that has the appearance of being real. In my case, it was details. Drawing on my military background, I focused on the things that would have the ring of authenticity, even as all this supernatural craziness is happening. I’m not just talking about jargon or settings or weapons employment. I’m talking about the little things, like the fog of war and how important a part confusion plays in military operations. There’s a reason why we have such wonderful acronyms like SNAFU and FUBAR. A lot of military ops are service men and women reacting to a bad situation the best they can with the tools they’re given. Just trying to survive the chaos and make it home. I wanted to tap into that.
I hate to say, in my best Dave Chappelle voice, “I keep it real,” but in this case, I think I did. And hopefully, the wonderful readers who check out Demon will agree.
Mike Caldwell is a CIA assassin who thinks he’s finally got a real case to work on. At a remote construction site in Iraq, something deadly and dangerous has been unearthed, and Mike believes he’s dealing with a powerful pathogen that turns the infected into primal killing machines. The truth, however, is far worse.
The ancient prison of the fallen angel Semyaza has been uncovered, and for the first time in thousands of years he is free to roam the earth, possessing the bodies of the humans he hates. And everywhere he goes, Hell is sure to follow.
Now Mike is on Semyaza’s trail, hunting a demon whose mere presence turns every living thing near it into a weapon of mass destruction. Both merchants of death are on a collision course, while the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
About the Author:
Erik Williams (Website / Twitter) is a former Naval Officer and current defense contractor (but he’s not allowed to talk about it). He is also the author of the novel Demon and numerous other small press works and short stories. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three very young daughters. When he’s not at his day job, he can usually be found changing diapers or coveting carbohydrates. At some point in his life, he was told by a few people he had potential. Recently, he told himself he’s the bee’s knees. Erik prefers to refer to himself in the third person but feels he’s talked about himself enough and will grant your eyeballs the freedom they deserve.