Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stephen Kuhn Discusses Run Dext Run

Run Dext Run is offers both free and subscription-based zombie fiction. The site was created by Stephen Kuhn, Jr.  Run Dext Run was featured on this blog January 2nd, 2013. 

How It Started

http://rundextrun.com/I started writing the story in January of 2012.

I wanted to do something that captured the story of a regular guy in the apocalypse and not some big, bad hero type like many stories that came before. Enter Dext.

I just felt the need to explore how it would be for a flawed and introspective man to be thrust into not only the do or die situations of a zombie apocalypse, but also individual situations that challenged things like his religious perspectives, his thoughts on racial stereotypes, and his own cowardice at times.

I showed the drafts of the first few entries to some friends and posted a on a forum that I frequented. In a matter of days I was getting flooded with emails and messages from people I didn't even know and they were rabid for more material.

That's when I knew I was onto a good thing. I made the website and started writing entries regularly about three weeks after the initial concept was introduced. It was a fast development.

The Creative Team

CUTTY
By Seth Rotto
My character artist and concept designer, Seth Rotto, has been a huge help in recent months as has my wife Mandie. 

Seth started doing our character art almost immediately after I decided to publish in print and I even made a character for him loosely based on his real life counterpart. He definitely fuels the creative fire by allowing me to bounce ideas and plot lines off of him before they hit paper or the site. His enthusiasm keeps me motivated when I'm in a rut or when I'm second guessing the choices I've made for the characters. 

My wife, Mandie, has a knack for seeing the bigger picture and how an overall arc should culminate. Other times she's good at just calling bullshit on me when I do something that doesn't fit with a character or when the story needs a shot in the arm. She's always been able to tell me what the story needs more/less of. I couldn't do this thing without my support crew.
FANART
LILLY
 by Esquivel
Lilly was discovered by the crew as an orphaned child. She started out as a life-threatening thorn in everyone's side because she was little, at only age five or six, and useless. The humanity of the group told them they must keep her alive because it's the "right" thing to do, ya know? Protect the child at all costs.

It was JC, an abrasive and relatively unlikable character that decided to begin training her and teaching her how to survive in the new world. JC caught hell from the group for teaching Lilly, a small child, how to use weapons, scavenge, and kill if necessary to keep herself and her friends safe. As the story progressed, more and more situations cropped up that showed that JC was right and if Lilly was going to survive she had to lose her childhood and become a machine.

FANART
LILLY, ALL GROWN UP 
by Esquivel
Still, they made every attempt to teach her morals and values and that family matters. It's a very tricky line to walk when compassion can get her killed and total desensitization can rob her of the human experience. And, frankly, if you can't be "human" or feel deep emotions with others then what good is living at all???

In the sequel, Run Lilly Run, we fast forward ten years and get to see just what Lilly has become. Run Dext Run set her on her path and really developed her base, but Run Lilly Run is where we get to see the consequences of all the choices the group made for her come to fruition.  That presents its own set of challenges.  

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