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Jagged Angel by the Pecman

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I just finished reading the Pecman's amazing story Jagged Angel and holy cow, what a ride!

This story is a disturbing mixture of romance, psycological thriller and coming of age story. I found myself thinking that it would make an excellent movie but it would probably cause riots and heart attacks. It was a great story to read around Halloween because it scared the living bejesus out of me.

This story has everything: romance, sadism, emotional manipulation, fear, savage twists and turns- and just when you think that you've got it figured out; the plot careens off in a new unexpected and even more dangerous direction.

The Pecman knows his business. This story is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Just be warned: hold your calls, cancel your appointments. Once you start, you aren't going to get much done.


:geek: :cat:

<copied here by request of the Dude>

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Thanks for copying the post here, James. And thanks for adding the link to the story on Nifty.

But we have hosted this story since the early days of AwesomeDude and Pecman writes under the name of John Francis... which might have caused some confusion.

We also featured this story in the recent past as a Dude's Pick in the Novel category. If you want to read this story just click on John Francis in the Authors list and select Jagged Angel.

When I read the story, I thought of young Andy Williams as well... it is interesting that Pecman chose to dedicate the story to him. What happened to him was as much a tragedy as what he did.

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Hey, thanks for the accolades! As I revealed at my afterword, I was inspired to write this story after reading Roman Genesis' novel Earth, as It Is in Heaven. This was the story of a psychologically-disturbed younger teen who falls in love with an slightly-older high school athlete, with tragic results. The story had a lot of bizarre twists and flaws -- chief among them when you find out halfway through that the younger kid has an evil twin (gag!), and the kid winds up killing himself after he finds out that the evil twin has seduced his boyfriend, the football player. The story was ultimately depressing, and nobody is redeemed, everybody suffers.

After reading it, I wrote the author and told him, "you know, the core of your idea was good, but you totally threw me with the evil twin thing and the horrendously-downbeat ending." I asked him for permission to write a completely different story -- one that was totally about the football player and not the disturbed kid, which I found was a much more intriguing point of view -- and came up with a vastly different story. It's a mystery, but it's also a coming-out story with some fairly startling (I hope) twists, and redemption for at least the main character. And no evil twin.

More importantly, I wanted to show how a kid like Dylan could start as one kind of character -- a whiney, obnoxious, spoiled wimpy kid who winds up as a well-built (albeit insecure), popular athlete, and then at the end of the story, finally becomes a well-rounded guy who finally accepts what he is. Only at the end does he become a real person that we actually can admire. I struggled with the problem of writing a character who was essentially unlikeable for the first half of the book, and you only really start to feel sorry for him when his life starts going down the drain.

I particularly enjoyed writing the jail sections of the novel, which required weeks of research. In fact, the whole story was a challenge for me, since it was about people I've never known (rich teenagers in contemporary LA), living in a world I know nothing about (high school athletics). Virtually all of the hundreds and hundreds of teenage readers who sent in comments told me I nailed high school life pretty well, and a few were shocked that I was in my late 40s. A handful of readers told me that they felt that they were very well-accepted in their own schools, but agreed that they knew of very few (if any) high school athletes who'd been able to come out without incident.

Because I've worked in Hollywood for so long, on about 40 different (mostly bad) sitcoms and a dozen episodic dramas, I can't help but write in a way that sorta/kinda feels like a movie. I could see a lot of the events of Angel unfolding as a feature film, and apparently, so could other people. A producer/friend of mine on the East coast did option Angel as an independent film, so I've technically made some (very small) money on it. But I still strongly doubt it can ever be produced.

It's very ironic to me that, after working in TV and film for so long, the two novels I've written (Groovy and Angel) are prime examples of stories that could probably never be made into films! The subject matter would send studio execs running out of the room, and there's no way we could even get away with an R rating. Still, I understand that there are ideas and concepts that work well as movies and as novels, but some only fit one category.

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Have you ever thought to pitch it to some of those actors who work to scale on movies they feel are worthy? I am constantly surprised to see some of these guys in movies which they even help bankroll, just because they agree with the subject matter, or it tests their personal limits.

Not being in the industry, I cannot say if there are producers and directors that do similar things, but I suspect that there must be some.

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Have you ever thought to pitch it to some of those actors who work to scale on movies they feel are worthy?

I come in contact with very, very few actors in my post-production work. (But then there's my Faye Dunaway story, which I'll omit for now...)

Because more than half of the lead actors in Angel would have to be under 18, I think it would be almost impossible to cast. You might possibly be able to get 18 year-olds that "looked" younger, but again, it's a money and reality thing more than anything else. (This is basically what they did for the recent film Mysterious Skin, but it was a very small independent film that I suspect got booked into under 100 theaters.)

If I won the MegaMillions Lotto, of course there'd be no problem! :roll:

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hehe...I read this in one sitting when I was sick a couple weeks ago. Some really strong characterization and some clever twists make this a great story! Um..yea...thats all ^_^. One of the top ten that I've read online for sure!


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  • 2 years later...

Since Jagged Angels is Dude's novel pick for August 2008, it seems the right time to resurrect this thread from 2005!

I just read Jagged Angel right through, almost in one sitting. It's an involving story with plot twists that take you aback and the situation that develops is quite scary. Woven into all this is the developing maturity of the lead character and his self-discovery, and initially he's not a very sympathetic character. I didn't like him. He gets the corners knocked off him though and becomes a real hero. A splendid story, from a very talented writer.

Thanks, Pecman!

Bruin :wink:

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Thanks very much, Bruin. Angel was a tough story to write, because (as I think I said elsewhere) Dylan isn't very much of a likeable kid at the beginning of the story, but gradually starts morphing into a very different person as the plot advances. It was also tough because this character is unlike anybody I knew growing up, so making him real and sympathetic took some work.

I also liked the element of what happens with Angel himself, where he's a cypher throughout the story. We never really know exactly what makes him tick, or even if he's even capable of having a selfless, kind thought. Very interesting character -- attractive, calculating, intelligent, but deadly.

Incidentally, Dylan's friend Kyle was the inspiration for a supporting character in my current story, Pieces of Destiny. My thinking was, Kyle could be the type who would have sex with anybody or anything if he felt like it, so maybe he'd have a weekend fling with a younger kid -- Jason, in the case of Destiny -- only to discard him when he decided to move on to bigger conquests. Because of the story's location and current date, I opted not to tie the stories together, because it was yet another unnecessary complication I didn't need.

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  • 5 years later...

And just to update this very dated topic...

I just read a news item today about a real-life high school football star who has been charged with murdering his gay lover. It seems the other person was trying to blackmail the high school kid, and the football star retaliated by stabbing the guy repeatedly outside his house.

This is eerily reminiscent of some of the details of my novel, which surprised the hell outta me. Full details here on the Huffington Post:


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