Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Blog: Good idea or bizarre miscalculation?


This blog started out being about book blogs and then it morphed into something slightly different. Is this post the better or the worse for it? I'll let you, kind reader, be the judge.

Book blogs. I've considered starting a book blog on and off for some time. As far as I understand it, a book blog contains bits of a work in progress. Not posts about a work in progress, the work itself.

I think I would name the blog, "The Naked Writer," after Jamie Oliver's show "The Naked Chef" where the idea was to "strip food down to its bare essentials"[1]. I guarantee you the blog would be PG, no nudity except the intellectual kind.

To test the waters, I've been thinking about writing a blog post containing the rough draft of a horror story I've been working on for the past few days. I know, I know, horror isn't my genre, I'm urban fantasy gal, but I wanted to challenge myself to do something different, something I've never tried before.

I've got the story more or less plotted out and have even started writing it but I feel like an extra little bit of motivation might be just what I need.


I want to skip out of the flow of this post for a moment (I told you about this!) to mention an incredible moment of ... what? synchronicity? Basically something happened that I think is pretty darn cool. Sneak peek: it involves Stephen King.

A few minutes ago I got up to get a cup of coffee and (it's a habit!) checked my email when I sat back down at my desk. One way I get content for my Twitter feed and this blog is though a bunch of Google Alters on a great many topics including Stephen King.

The latest Alert (I imagine them as spiders on a great web scuttling to and fro, juicy morsels of information grasped in their shiny chitinous jaws) contained a link to an interview. The article, "Stephen King: One of the best writers of all time?" was about King's collaboration on Scott Snyder's graphic novel series "American Vampire".

Okay, bla, bla, bla, here's what I've been leading up to. At one point in the interview Snyder is asked:
Q: Horror plays a big role in your books. Where did you get this wild imagination?
Synder's answer is great, and I'd encourage you folks to read it in its entirety, but here's the part of Snyder's answer that made me catch my breath:
... for me, really, really good horror is a character being challenged by their greatest fear as it manifests itself in the form of either a monster or just a challenge. It really cuts to the heart of what that character is afraid of. The story matters in that way, especially in comics, where you are taking these characters that are so heroic and have so many amazing qualities, and then going for something that you think is a great quality but also going for the weak side of that thing.
Q: Can you give us some examples from the superhero world?
For Superman, it’s almost like the fact that he’s a god, or almost a god, in terms of his limitless power can also be something that you could write a story about in a way that really frightens him about being completely alienated and lonely and turned upon by everyone. Or, for Batman, his knowledge of Gotham, his pathological and obsessive needs to not have connections to people and just be the best there is. You could easily do a story where that’s thrown in his face by somebody like the Joker who’s calling him crazy and saying, “You should live in the Asylum with us.” At that point the Bat-world is like Stephen King; it puts you in a situation where you face your fears, where there are terrible things you did … or the things that you don’t want to tell anyone about, but that you’re frightened of that are coming from life and coming for you in some way. In that way, I’ve always been a big fan of psychological horror. Or, it might just be that I watched too many of those slasher films in the ’80s.
Wow! The horror writer puts you, the reader, in a situation where you face your fears, where the terrible things things you did, the things you didn't want to tell anyone about, the things you're afraid will come to life, those things are coming for you.

As a writer, that's inspiring. I can see the ending for my short story. Gotta go write!

[1] From http://www.jamieoliver.com/tv-books/the-naked/chef

4 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post Karen! Recently, I have gone through a series of moments like this too. I do believe things happen for a reason, and this synchronicity sparks our creative imagination. The result, we all hope, is the birth of a new piece of art, with flowing words, breath taking plots and a plethora of characters we care about.

    Your idea of trying a new genre is...yeah! You know I'm trying it too for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). I grew up with Science Fiction and Fantasy, but you introduced me to Urban Fantasy with your novel, Until Death. Now, I'm going into the city...not of the future, but into the Fantastic. A city occupied by those same exact things you wrote about in your post.

    For your idea about doing a horror story and posting it for all to see...go for it. You can't lose because this will be a learning experience not just for you but for all the folks who follow your blog...like me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jeffrey! Your words of encouragement were just what I needed! It's great that we're both exploring new genres. I'm looking forward to reading your short story.

    I'm excited about NaNoWriMo, this will be my first year. I should look at the rules, I'm wondering if I should do a rough outline first ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. That would be a great idea! That's what I'm doing, trying to get all the skeletal components together, so on November 1, I can actually start putting the flesh on. Boy, that sounds kinda gruesome doesn't it...yeah, I like it. ;)

    Rules seem to state that you can do anything you want, other than actually writing the novel. I'm trying to arm myself with as much stuff as I can so I won't have to do any research during the month of November.

    I kinda feel like Peter Graves after he heard the tape at the beginning of each episode of "Mission Impossible." BTW, "Yes, I accept the assignment." :P

    Happy Research and all, Karen!

    ReplyDelete
  4. lol I can hear the Mission Impossible theme song now. Oh no, I'm not going to be able to get it out of my head! Thanks, and you too! :)

    ReplyDelete

Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies to anyone this inconveniences, I wish I didn't have to do it. I do appreciate each and every comment.