The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

21 May 2013

A touch of darkness

Blogging again? I know. Two years and now bam! You can tell I'm twiddling my thumbs while querying and completely unable to work on my next manuscript because my whole future is in limbo...but that's another issue.

One useful thing I've done is a survey all of the story ideas and half-completed or full draft manuscripts lying around on my hard drive. There's some awful stuff--and some really great stuff! I'm NOT telling you my blockbuster action movie idea because in Hollywood it's all about the concept, but I am so working on that some time. And you know? The manuscript I completed five years ago has some cool points to it as well as intense thriller scenes. All I have to do is rewrite the whole thing and there's something there.

One thing I have noticed is that either my ideas are comedies or something with an edge of darkness (is this a sign of split personality or just a Robyn Willams or Tom Hanks-esque comedy/tragedy thing? I've noticed that the best comedians make the best dramatists but that's a post for another day).

Actually, even the comedies have a touch of darkness. Dark happenings, cruel parents, ominous portents, vile baddies...I think it's me. A while ago, I caught some co-workers telling scary stories of hearing my laugh late at night...sure I've made people tremble and stammer and fear me, but not intentionally. I'm a sweetheart really! Sure I can quote all Darth Vader's lines in the original and Maleficent was my favourite character in Sleeping Beauty, but that's not all there is to me. I think it's my voice. I actually have a voice! Yay! But it's a slightly creepy one.

I've tried to smother it and that doesn't work. The goody-two-shoes characters sound so artificial. It's my villains that shine, and my heroes only shine when I give them a touch of darkness (but working on the side of good) that makes the bad guys tremble. I've realized I have to be true to my voice and embrace what makes my stories mine. Being creepy worked well for Stephen King. But is the horror genre dead? With all the romance/supernatural stories out there does anyone remember what it's like to be afraid of a vampire's fingernails scratching at your window (i.e. Salem's Lot)? Does anyone remember the delicious chill of true fear?

Maybe it's time to get writing again and remind them.

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