Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished: Writers Workshop of Horror

I will wholeheartedly admit that I loved this book, and that it is probably going to be my horror writing bible that sits next to my bed from now on. Maybe it's still because I'm studying literature/genre or because I'm an undergrad, but I feel that I learned so much from this book about writing in general, even if we take a step back from the horror scene.  I think the most valuable lesson that I learned was how to understand my characters better, and for that I owe Gary A Braunbeck, because I'll be forever more thinking about how much milk my characters put in their cereal in the morning.. or heck whether or not they are a bagel person.  
Something else that I struggle with is dialogue, and this book really helped me concentrate on when enough is enough, and when I need more.  I got a better chance to learn about POV from people that have become masters on it, and I feel that it has really helped me in my writing a lot, this semester alone.  In fact, I found myself reading certain chapters several times and underlining parts that inspired me, and let me know that I'm not the only one that struggles with this stuff. 
I wish I could say that Maberry's chapter helped me with writing fight scenes, and while it did, I'll admit to still sucking and needing practice, but at the same time, I think after reading his chapter and then reading the Wolfman helped to put things into perspective for me. I'll also be checking out Patient Zero and Rot and Ruin for further reading/researching purposes. However, Jeff Strand's chapter on adding humor to your horror was fantastic and was my AHA! moment in my writing, to be honest.  Sometimes I find myself getting so lost in the dark world that I forget to shed some light for my readers so that don't get too stuck and quit coming back.
I loved the interviews at the end of the book, and after reading Clive Barker's I realize why I feel in love with him in the first place.  His entire interview was so inspirational to me, and I love that he is someone that is literally married to his trade.  He does it as expression and he does it for his self just as much as he does it for his readers.  I also think that it is a bold choice that he doesn't want to collaborate with someone because that would take away the fun for him.  I personally respect that a lot.  
These two quotes stuck with me:
  1. "II have no interest in being present, in interveing between you and the work.  My job is to be as invisible as possible.  My job is to say, 'Hey, I wrote this book and I'm on the cover, bye bye!' 
  2. "So you can't please all the people all the time.  All you can do is what pleases you, and hope that it pleases other people.  I love my readers and I respect my readers, but I'm not going to simplify or echo myself, copy myself, just so the sales will be better."
The above is really important to me because I think it speaks about me as a writer as well.  I, like Barker (primarily because he is a HUGE influence to me) use a lot of sexuality in my horror, and it really bothers some people, i.e. my parents, and at times I can still recall my dad asking me to please take something out because it was going to make people look at me differently.  Fact of the matter is... is that that my name is on the cover and that's it.  I'm not the character and its not my voice your hearing.  I'm not going to simplify my story because there is a chance that it might offend someone because then that's when disbelief comes in and no one will longer believe my work because it is uncharacteristic of me.  Once again, why I love Clive Barker and why he is the master of horror in my eyes (well, if we're not including Poe)!
And something that he wrote really helped me out, because like most of you I'm sure, I'm an avid reader.  I have a book on me 24/7 and if I'm not writing my head is def. in a book.  A lot of people criticize me for this, and say that I spend too much time reading when I should be writing, and for a while I thought that they might be right.  Barker, amongst other writers in this book, say that in order to write, you need to read the masters and you need to read your genre.  So if anything, I need to read more in order to understand how to ha, turns out I've been on the right track after all!

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