Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Long Wandering Path

So I was thinking today about the path that brought me to where I am now. As a kid I always enjoyed writing stories in school, but it was at the age of 14 that I decided that I wanted to be a professional writer. I had just read Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Alien and decided to pen my own version. I entitled it SpaceDemon and instead of 7 people trapped on a ship with a murderous alien, I had 12 people (plus one monkey and one wise cracking robot) stuck with one. It sucked, of course, but my English teacher encouraged me to write more.

When high school rolled around I discovered fantasy, reading such things as Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books, Terry Brooks' first three Shannara books and Lord of the Rings, of course. I loved it all and decided that fantasy is what I wanted to write. I read nothing but fantasy for many years afterwards, disdaining everything else. Then at some point in the 90's I began reading more science fiction and horror. By now I thought that I would write both science fiction and fantasy, but actually did very little writing at all. I still thought of myself as a wannabe science fiction author until just recently.

A couple years ago I read several horror books that I really enjoyed and realized that I wanted to tell such tales, too. In fact, once I thought about it, it just seemed so obvious. I love all things horror. I love monsters, any and all kinds of horror movies and was always searching for something to scare me. Why not write horror? This doesn't mean I have abandoned science fiction or fantasy, but I must say, my efforts in horror have paid off far more than anything I did in years past in other genres. Maybe this is my calling.

Then again maybe not.

What paths have others taken to get to where they are now in terms of the subject matter they right about?

As for my feeble efforts, I wrote the followup to The Thing in the Bathroom tonight. I had originally called it The Thing in the Sauna, but may change it to Horror in the Chamber of Steam. Who knows. Right now I need to chop about 250 words from it, but will do that tomorrow. Having achieved my goal of at least 1000 words tonight, I am off to watch some TV.

7 comments:

K.C. Shaw said...

All the titles sound good to me, but then I'm awful at titles so I'm no help.

I always thought I was going to write YA fiction, probably YA fantasy, but the last five years or so and I've dropped YA entirely. I don't know why, really--I still like reading it. Maybe my path will work its way back to YA eventually.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I started off in high school writing horror. Then I got to college and discovered a whole world of children's picture books that were very cool and very unlike what was available when I was younger. then I got out of school and thought YA would be a good way to go. Now I write horror, YA, crime suspense and some literary stuff. I guess I still haven't decided.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

The topics I write about are pretty random. Not pretty random--totally random. I like reading many genres (except romance, although admittedly, I've never tried). I was a fan of King and Barker for a long time, so there's the horror background, but I just don't really think of things in terms of conventional horror...I think the things people can and will do to each other is far scarier than anything that comes out of a grave or swamp, and that informs a lot of my writing, be it horror or general lit or sci fi or fantasy.

Josh Reynolds said...

I started off with really, REALLY bad Lovecraft pastiches, moved on to horror and now I've started writing more sci-fi-ish fantasy/steampunk type stuff. Sometimes.
...
Man, I gotta write me some more Lovecraft pastiches. That's one thing the world needs more of.

Danielle Ferries said...

I like Horror in the Chamber of Steam.

BT said...

Horror in the chamber of steam sounds very pulpy to me. Is that what you're after?

As for how I got here - My title would be the long and winding superhighway, but in the end fellow brothers of wanderlust is what we are.

I read anything and everything at primary school - that's grades 1-7 for those not in Australia. By the time I got to grade 5, I had to go to the local high school because I'd read everything in my school - I shit you not.

As a young teen, I continued to read anything my sister brought home from her work - she worked in a newsagent which sold lots of novels. Then King released Carrie.

I couldn't get enough. I went through John Saul, Peter Straub and Dean Koontz. I started playing D&D and got hooked on LOTR and the Shannara series. I got stuck into fantasy in a big way.

Then I stopped.

I didn't read for many years.

Then back in December 06 a story from the D&D days started buzzing around in my head. I started writing. And couldn't stop.

Since then I've gone through writing: Fantasy - where everything died, sci-fi - where everything died, erotica - where things didn't die, and into dark fiction - where most things die.

Spot a common theme?

I've had non-fiction published, essays, sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica published or accepted for publication. Until late last year, I'd never had anything dark published.

That's now changed. Over the next 6 months or so I've got 4 horror pieces coming out and two erotic pieces coming out - so to speak.

And I'm working on a dark historical fiction novel with some romance in it.

I think I'm pretty dark at heart now...but I'll try anything at least once. ;c)

Natalie L. Sin said...

Law School made me a horror writer ; )