This was not my month. Januarys usually aren’t. Still, I kept myself busy, maintaining my routine while giving myself permission to take things slowly. It isn’t easy doing so. Being productive is one of the great joys in my life. Relaxing in front of the TV to watch a bad movie when I should be writing makes me feel guilty. But when I’m feeling as awful as I did, there is only so much I can do. Hence the reason why I didn’t post here much this month.
Enough self-pity! On with the Writing Update!
What Type of Writer Am I?
This is a question that’s plagued me these past couple months. I don’t know where to take my writing. I’m pulled in three different directions:
- Bizarro fiction
- Experimental lit/surrealism
For me, each has its merits. Of course, there are multiple ways to combine the above, but I would like to have a singular focus, something I could hone.
Horror is my go-to genre these days, and honestly, it’s the most fun to read and write. As I mentioned in an essay a while back, I’m a recent convert to the genre. But I never saw myself as a “horror writer.” These aren’t the stories I’ve always wanted to tell. I like the preposterous, the bizarre, the downright bananas. And while surreal horror is a large subgenre, it doesn’t usually take me far enough.
Bizarro fiction is one of my great loves. Its community is made up of some of my favorite people on the planet. My current WIP novella is squarely bizarro and stands as one of the most promising things I’ve written. This chains me to the genre, makes me think that this is the path I should take. But I don’t know. I’ve read very little bizarro these past six months and feel a little distant from the genre.
Experimental and surrealist lit are the two most fascinating genres for me. However, they both involve talent currently beyond my own. That’s not to say I don’t like a challenge. With time and effort, I think I could contribute to these genres, but while intellectually stimulating, the actual pleasure I experience from writing is far less than the ones above.
So, should I go for fun? For community? For pushing my boundaries? I can’t decide. But for now, I’m sticking with horror. It’s the most cathartic for me, and considering how I’ve been doing lately, that’s what I need.
I spent half the month editing my way through two more drafts of Generica. I wanted it to be as polished as possible before I sent it off to my editor (in a way like cleaning the house before the maid arrives). I took my time with each sentence, reading it aloud to make sure everything flowed right. While I said above that it’s my most promising novella, self-doubt still makes its appearance. The best thing I can do is stick with it. In my experience, perseverance is everything.
Short Stories and More
With Generica off to the editor, I’m returning to short fiction. I wrote a flash fiction piece a couple days ago, entitled “The Mirror,” a short but disturbing tale of body horror. I doubt I’ll do anything with it. It was mostly a way to stretch my writing muscles.
I’m also working my way through Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark, an amazing text on writing horror that I can’t recommend enough. I treat the exercises like school assignments, giving myself deadlines and not cutting corners. That discipline is essential given my current mood.
Now that the miserable month of January is winding down, I hope to have more to share with you in February.
See you soon,