Avoiding the Research Paper

Hi.

Sorry about the delay in posts. This is the last week of school, and of course I’m working almost 50 hours this week. Add in a little personal drama (don’t you fret), and I’m am up to my earlobes in all kinds of time consuming things.

I’m still making steady progress with Red Sails Under Red Skies, but will probably have to read Stardust between the two Gentleman Bastard books. I just couldn’t devote quite enough time to them. Follow my progress on Goodreads!

But, for school I’m researching a pretty awesome topic. I have to write a paper about a literary topic of my choosing. My topic of choice? Mephistopheles as a Modern Archetype.

I haven’t been this excited about a research paper in pretty much my entire life. I’ve checked out about a dozen books about the Devil, the Trickster Archetype, Norse Mythology, and a couple comic books. All to arm myself with the argument that Goethe’s Mephistopheles is ready for a revamp. I think telling the Faust legend from his perspective would be wildly successful.

Anyway, I’ve basically been holed up in my favorite breweries/taphouses studying for days. I’m anxious to finally sit down and commit the words to paper.

Outside of school, it’s one of my best friend’s birthdays today. I’m balancing social interactions and academic responsibilities like a boss. Unfortunately that means my own writing endeavors have fallen a bit behind.

The good news is that the new issue of Fab Fables, in which I make my first appearance as Editor, is out now! You can buy it here for the low price of just £1.25!
FabFables4

So, what else is up?

Basically, I’m just busting ass until school is done. I just have to get through this weekend, and then I’m off for the summer. Work will be easy enough to balance from there. My plan is to really commit to my writing, and reading, over the summer break.

And, sometime next week I am going to finish the rough draft of Fight of the Best. I’m still quite infatuated with the story and feel that it’s a much stronger first draft than A Stranger in the Mists was. The current story falls comfortably between Hunting Storm and A Stranger in the Mists, which leaves me feeling confident about what Leah and I can do to it. Between the two of us, we’ll polish it up nice.

What else?

I’m generally exhausted, as of this writing. But, I’ve been up since 6:45, and it’s a quarter after midnight. I have to be back up at 6am tomorrow. You know, the usual.

Anyway, I’m here. I’m thinking about you guys, and reading your posts. If my paper goes well, I’ll post it here after I’ve received a grade for it.

Also, if you haven’t visited my reading page, or my about page, keep an eye out for some updates!

I’ll talk at you all soon!

BZ

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Torrid Literature’s Hall of Fame 2014!

As long time readers may know, my short story ‘Fallen Star’ was published by Torrid Literature earlier this summer. It was a very exciting time, and the first time one of my stories was published in print.

Each year Torrid asks its readers to vote for the stories and poems they liked best to be put in their Hall of Fame. How it works is that one poet and one fiction writer are selected from each issue.

There were only 3 short stories in Issue VII: Breakthrough, including mine. So, readers, I need your help. Please click here to head to Torrid’s website and cast your votes.

The other issues should be available to read for free online, so read on and cast your votes! Help the literary community, and help my story find its way into the Torrid Hall of Fame!

Thank you, Blogland!

 

In Response to the Jimmy John’s Delivery Guy

I’m about to take y’all on a trip. Follow along, if you dare!

So, I’m working on a horror piece about a portrait that moves and takes on a consciousness of its own. I don’t read a lot of Horror. At least, not since I started reading fiction with a writer’s eye. In high school I read Anne Rice with fervor, and I’ve always loved King’s shorter works, though I’ve yet to read a full-length novel from the man.

So yesterday, I’m sitting in my Starbucks with my nose stuck in King’s ‘Everything’s Eventual’ after a losing battle with the free WiFi. So, I’m reading and underlining, and taking all sorts of mental notes because the story I was reading was ‘The Road Virus Heads North’, which is a story about a painting that moves.

One of my regulars comes in, a nice guy who I know due to his job at my local gourmet sub delivery joint. They happen to have Freaky Fast Delivery, and I order from them far too often.

Anyway, he sees me underlining and taking notes and asks, “Book report time?”

On a side note, I find it irritating that just because I read a lot and type away on a computer I must be a college student. It’s frustrating to keep answering the same questions over and over. Anyway.

I tell him that I’m doing a different kind of study for a horror piece I’m writing. To which he responds:

“Why write Horror? Isn’t the world dark enough?”

This rocked me. Not because I thought it was rude, or unwelcome, but because it’s a valid question. It immediately sent my mind spinning. I could tell that, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I had an answer. But I needed time to research and compose myself.

I think he noticed my sudden pensiveness, and he felt bad. He looked at me, “I’m sorry, Brittany. I didn’t mean to be discouraging.”

I laughed. I laughed and told him that he wasn’t discouraging at all. “I’m a writer,” I said. “I’m a special brand of discouragement, all my own.”

But, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t shake the question. And not just in terms of myself, but on a much larger scale. Why do we write horror? Why do we like being scared?

So, Mr. Delivery Man, I’ve thought up a response. It’s not quite Horror Lit & Film Essay worthy, but there are some nuggets of truth in it.

So, let’s start with the idea that Art Imitates Life. Some people might have a hard time agreeing with this sentiment when it comes to genre fiction, but think about it. Ultimately, you like a story because you can relate to characters and scenarios. A mixture of the familiar and the strange, to quote Brandon Sanderson. So, we like horror because it hints at what we’re capable of, and we write horror for the same reason. An idea has struck us, and we want to illicit a physical response in people, whether our characters or our readers.

But, this is the weakest argument I have for writing Horror.

“Isn’t the world dark enough?”

Yes, it is. And honestly, it’s too dark. So many atrocious things happen on a daily basis. Things that, if you let yourself stop and think about it, shake you to your core. The Sandy Hook shooting did this to me. I felt physically ill if I thought about it too long. Outraged. Heartbroken.

I think Horror fiction helps us cope. We can read about how other people react to horrible things that happen around them. And it allows us to experience fear and pain from the safety of a book.

There will always be Horror junkies. The kids who read Lovecraft and Moorcock, with their long hair and Megadeath shirts, who worship the Evil Dead. But, horror, just like any other literature, is a reaction to the world around us. A side effect of the internalization of the things we see, eat, breathe, and understand in our daily lives.

So, why write horror?

Because, a long time ago, I read stories that scared me. I had physical reactions, and my imagination knew no bounds. Anything is possible in a King story. Anything at all. And one day, a few years ago, I had an idea for a story that startled me. Shook me. And I’ve been waiting to write it all these years.

For more great insight into this topic, check out Author Sarah Langan’s essay on HarperCollin’s website.

Thanks for reading, Blogland.

 

BZ