Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wallowing in Southern Gothic

Broadening my reading spectrum has turned me into a monster! I've come to the realization that I am really enjoying dystopian literature as well as southern gothic tales. Since venturing outside the boundaries of horror, I've found myself perusing the stories of Margaret Atwood, William Faulkner, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, and the list goes on. Certainly these writers are not popular within the horror genre and if you had asked me what I thought of their work only a year and a half ago, I probably would have scoffed and said that I'm not much interested in their type of writing. Ah, how naive we are in the beginning.

Dystopian stories, I can understand liking, but never did I think I would embrace southern gothic. I actually hated Faulkner's As I Lay Dying upon completing it (which I believe I've mentioned in a previous blog). Now look at me, still can't pull my nose out of the southern gothic novels! Next on my reading list is Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road. While I am really enjoying the stories of these southern characters, people whom I'm actually a part of, I find that I'm also doing research.

I've recently begun writing a new novel. A southern gothic tale called Lathem's Legacy, which I also mentioned in a previous blog, so I won't rehash that here. My point is, I never thought I would find myself writing anything remotely close to the genre I'm writing now. Also, I should mention that so far (15,000 words into the story--roughly 65 pages) I haven't experienced any dread at approaching the blank page. This is something of a treat for a writer. With my first book, The Shadow People, there were many days when I sat down to write and found that the words were difficult to muster. It was a real chore to get my thousand words out of my head and onto the page. I'm grateful to say that I haven't experienced this yet with the new novel. Of course, I probably just jinxed myself and now will suffer an extreme case of writer's block.

Yes, fifteen thousand words is still very early in a novel, but I am using a new technique of outlining as I go that seems to be helping me navigate my storyline and giving my fuel for each future writing session. It feels great to be writing a novel again, one that I am eager to stick with above and beyond any other writing projects that happen to pop into my head. And before this becomes something of a nonsensical rant (I feel like I am beginning to babble), I just want to point out again how wonderful it is to read outside of one specific genre and come out with a book idea you never thought you would entertain in a million years. Who knows? This could be my big breakout novel and to think I never would have considered writing it in the not-too-distant past.

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