I’m Sticking To My Roots!Posted: February 14, 2012
After receiving a rejection letter on a serious horror piece, I couldn’t imagine why it didn’t make it into the anthology. Lately, I’ve been focused on a more light-hearted style of scary. My Young Adult supernatural novels (still unpublished, but I worked hard on editing the manuscript and sending out queries!) have a different feel. A different vibe. What could I have written to break into the anthology? I tried to think of a new, inventive idea that would give people chills.
Supernatural YA (particularly my Forever Gothic series) is where my heart is at now, from writing them to sending off query letters. I’m in the zone. And that’s where I need to be at the moment. As far as delving into the human mind to breathe life into words that would conjure up images of our innermost fears, well, it can wait for a while.
But while I thought of things to write about in the world of fictitious horror, a thought struck me. I’ve lost my roots as a writer. And not because of my focus on YA. I was simply trying to go against my own grain and do something that requires more training on my part. I guess it’s time for me to devour every book I can about writing a good story. How to make your characters *POP*! In some aspects I’ve been able to do that, but when it comes to a more complex style of writing, I’m going to have to study some of the greats. It’s routine. You get used to doing things one way, and when things change, you have to adapt. When I recently wrote a couple of pieces of nonfiction and had to keep editing, I worked hard to give the editors what they wanted. The first time, my pieces were geared more toward story-telling. The next round (or several rounds), I had a better grasp on what they were asking for. And I tried my hardest to come through. And I think I did, since I just signed a contract for one of those pieces.
Writing a piece of fiction that deals with emotion is difficult. The hardest part about nonfiction is that even though the story is right there in front of you, you have to make it presentable. But to invoke a sense of fear, love, hate, or bring someone to tears in writing, is hard when you’re writing a serious piece, even if it is horror. You have to paint pictures and emotions and a whole scene with your words. I feel that my Forever Gothic series captures the lonely feeling many of us have as teenagers. We can all relate to at least one character in the book. But the focus of those stories are not emotionally based. My focus is on the plot. On the characters. It’s less about playing on someone’s emotions and more about creating characters that will stick with you and providing a fun little escape from reality. It’s about writing a story that we could all picture ourselves in, even if you’re beyond your high school years.
BIG DIFFERENCE IN WRITING TECHNIQUE!
But that’s when it dawned on me. The first book I wrote, and the first one I had in print, was horror. It was written under a different name and I think it’s out of print now. Anyway, the thing is, the book wasn’t just horror. It was true horror. I was never a big fan of the fake stuff unless it had an original appeal. Even in second grade, I was laughed at for borrowing a sea monster book (with TRUE ACCOUNTS!) from the school library. By my mid-teens, I was practically unscarable. Until I came across Tom Slemen’s horrifically scary stories. And yep; they were true.
I deviated from a path I so loved, because I was running low on stories! Sometimes I get stories from people, but it’s not enough to work into a piece. Sometimes the stories are too similar. But, what I really would like to hear about is creatures. Sure, I’ve read up enough on them to be entertained, but I absolutely LOVE the real stuff. And finding first-hand accounts of creatures, which is my poison, is quite difficult. However, I came across something equally as interesting to me. Hexes. Are they real? Coincidence? I don’t know. But I think it would make for a great story!
So in order to get back to my roots, I’ve decided to write about hexes and maybe seek out a few more *TRUE* stories. Even if I don’t write about them, I will definitely enjoy listening! I may not believe some of the stories I hear, but if they leave me wondering if any part of them is true, it gives me a little thrill. When someone relays an alleged experience with the supernatural, I can’t help but wonder…What if . . . ? And that’s the part that intrigues me most about the genre of Horror: Nonfiction.