Since I write both movies and books, I find it only appropriate if my blog blurs the line between the two as well. I wrote a short story entitled, “the deepest part of man is his skin“, which I posted under fiction yesterday (if you were following me on twitter, you’d have seen the notification). This blog entry is a DVD commentary, if you will; a look into the writer’s process.
It began, like any good endeavor, out of both necessity and inspiration. I was taking my niece and nephews camping, and figured scary stories might be the order of the day. I started to think, “If only I had a book of campfire tales,” and it wasn’t long before my DIY attitude took over. After all, if I were a carpenter, I wouldn’t buy a birdhouse, would I? So I took to the challenge of writing my own scary story.
At the time, I was reading a collection of HP Lovecraft shorts. Lovecraft, if you don’t know, is as much a founding father of horror as Poe. Stephen King called Lovecraft, “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”
From the first sentence, I heard his voice in my own words. I embraced it. Writing as another author, one whom you admire, can be a great way to expand as a writer. Or, as my friend Damon suggested, many of the greats would type out word-for-word copies of the works of the masters as a way to put another’s genius through their own mind.
I quickly spewed out the first draft, but found it was far too adult for the kiddos (in vernacular, mostly), and so it stayed as an incomplete work for the next few months. This was August 8th.
Cut to four months later, I’m done editing my novel–which I can’t wait to share! Queries to be sent soon (gulp)–and I find myself with some extra writing time as I transition to my next big project. So I pick this one up.
Let me emphasize now the importance of peer review. I showed an early draft of the story to my friend Chris, who’s not a writer; just someone smart and insightful. His suggestion was to make it seem more “real”by having the letter come to me rather than by me (as it was originally written). This one simple suggestion gave it a new spin; like one of those “found footage” horror movies. Lovecraft was fond of spelling the demise of his narrators, and I feel he would approve of such a creative choice.
Overall, I found the exercise to be a success. It was fun to be overly macabre and descriptive, and I think the final product is something new and valuable. I hope you enjoy it.