Saturday, October 30, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Well, it's not quite Halloween. But I do have a party to go to tonight, so it might as well be. I wish it wasn't so blasted HOT though. What kind of Halloween is hot and muggy?

So, the fact that I have watched so much horror this week it isn't even funny (including some horror movie-related shows as well as true-life horror stories), I thought it would be a good time to revisit my senior seminar project in college (for literature).

For the final project, my paper was on horror as the ultimate misunderstood, underestimated genre in literature. This is an idea I still adhere to, to this day. Anyway, what I filled those 10-15 pages with is a little foggy now, but I recall just believing that a genre that explores so well what scares us has got to have serious meaning and serious truth about the human condition, not to mention particular phases in history.

The accompanying part of my project was a vampire story I had written. Which my professor LOVED, believe it or not. He said that that story proved to him what I was capable of as a writer. (It also landed me an A in a class I hardly ever attended -- that was the year I switched nights and days around, and was hard pressed to get to classes, even 6 o'clock pm classes.) Reviews from friends ran the gamut from, "I couldn't sleep after I read it," to another rather unique review, "At times I thought it was comedy, or porn." (Actually, in a little pice of trivia, that last comment was uttered -- probably around 1991 -- by the individual who is putting on the party tonight.)

As for that story's fate, it never got published. I tried it with both straight-up horror zines as well as literary magazines (it got a personal rejection from Richard Peabody over at Gargoyle, of course this was years and years ago. He turned me onto Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls in that rejection, though).

I haven't tried to market that story in a long time. It probably IS a bit over-written, judging by the last time I looked at it, but I still think it had some really good elements. (To my dismay, I spotted some of its elements in vampire movies years after, which kind of sucks when you feel like you did it first.) Meanwhile, though, I kind of think it also didn't have any clear sense of whether it was a piece of literature or a horror story, which made it I think difficult to place.

Although a lot of my work is dark, and occasionally has supernatural or surreal elements, most of it isn't straight-up horror, with the exception of one story that is currently in submission circulation. However, I'm starting to think maybe horror might be my choice for NaNoWriMo.

Happy Halloween, everybody!



Blogger Hebdomeros said...

I've never understood why lit teachers hold writers like Poe and Bierce on such a pedestal and yet scoff at others like Barker, Straub or even Lovecraft. There's this odd stigma against horror that I just don't fully get. Straub's Lost Boy/Lost Girl, for example, was probably the 2nd best thing I read over this past year (the best being Murakami's Wind Up Bird Chronicle).

Not having read your story, I can't make specific suggestions. Especially since I have a lot of the same problems (lit mags telling me a story is too fantasy, fantasy mags telling me it's too literary). But take a took at Ralan's site (link's on my blog), particularly at the anthology markets. The Borderlands Anthology might work for you; they have a long history with work that's horror, but that takes some bigger risks than your typical horror. There might be one or two more there as well.

Good luck with the novel!

1:29 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...


You know, I really liked Lovecraft a lot. Even though Lovecraft was very creepy. (Actually, I haven't read his stuff in a long, long time, but I definitely went through a phase when I devoured it.) As I recall, Barker really scared the crap out of me. And I know I've raved plenty about Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls -- it was just amazingly written. You're right though, at least they do cut Poe some slack, considering his subject matter.

I will definitely check Ralan's out. I have been slacking off a bit on the market side of things and need to get back to it. (All things will come in good time, especially with NaNoWriMo upon us -- but right now I have 3 stories that I need to find markets for.)

And when it comes to Ralan's, I might even dust off that old vampire story again. :)

Good luck with your writing too! :)

11:48 PM  
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Blogger Connor Wilson said...

Every year my son Dylan and I have been building our Halloween animatronic display. This year we added 12 new figures and my wife had been making the clothes etc. but then I clued in that Halloween Costumes were the ideal solution - ya, ok I'm slow but...This year is really cool because we've done an HP Lovecraft display that I'm sure he'd appreciate but I'm not so sure he'd approve of this - The Necronomicon - Is it just me or is that just plain goofy ? Anyway, everybody is doing their own Haunted House thing now but hey - it's fun and if you've got kids I really suggest you try it yourself if you haven't already. It's a nice change from the usual Christmas Lights routine and a lot of scaaarrry fun. Happy Halloween everybody.

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