I’ve been happily blathering on about Night Shall Overtake (which is available here and here if you haven’t gotten your copy yet) and will continue to do so, but it’s been written and new stories must be told. One of which is actually nearing something that resembles a final rough draft. It’s a piece that has held a number of challenges for me the biggest of which is switching gears. NSO was all about monster’s and dark places that you don’t wanna go at night. This new one is pretty much the opposite.
Switching gears is a challenge all in of itself. The majority of my work has been dark fiction, whether it be horror or not. It is usually genred in one way or another. So writing my second novel has been something akin to actual work. It’s involved more research than I usually put into my writing and something new for me: creative discipline. Instead of letting my warped little mind just throw out ideas and going with it, I have actually had to keep my self on message. Instead of a monster suddenly popping out from the shadows, or suddenly a gratuitous sex scene, or suddenly a monster popping out into a gratuitous sex scene, I’ve had to say “No weird stuff this time.”
It’s also the first time I’ve really wanted to say something. Instead of subtly interjecting little points here and there, it’s out in the forefront. Two teenagers, living in a small-ish religious community are turned out of their homes for the simple fact that they are not straight. These two best friends, boys-not-quite-men, have to do what it takes to survive. And despite Mark and Trevor’s best efforts it changes them. But it’s not just the world that they have to try and gain some acceptance from but each other. Both are outed as gay, but Mark is also coming to terms with the fact that he is bisexual, which causes a strain on their friendship.
See, I can write serious stuff too.
Other challenges I have are avoiding cliches and finger pointing. Just because they are kicked out of their home doesn’t mean they turned to hustling on the street or one of them winds up dead in a street gutter. Kids come out and have a rough time of it from those they counted on to support them. This happens. A lot. But every story is different and it doesn’t always end up with prostitution or an O.D..
I’m trying to avoid finger pointing because the whole ‘us vs. them’ thing just pisses me off. We’re all in this together and we need to come to peace with that. In fact that’s one of the main points I’m trying to make. It shouldn’t be religion vs. gay, or straight vs. gay, or even bisexual vs. monosexual. Unfortunately that’s usually what the majority of these situations boil down to and it’s fucking retarded. Such a small thing rips apart families and communities. What’s the point?
Never fear, I have a scary monster-filled ghost story in the wings and am excited to finally dig fully into it. I have to do this first, though. Something important, then back to the weird.
Remember kids: stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and read Night Shall Overtake.