A while ago I wrote a piece on finding old stories in my computer files.
It was a situation I am sure many of you have experienced. It is amazing all of the things we find and those that survive.
The story that I found was supposed to be a scary old thing. At the time I was convinced I would be a horror writer.
I had just finished back to back Stephen King books – Salem’s Lot and IT. So it was natural in my thinking that I would follow his path.
An Unexpected Twist
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the genre picked me, not the other way around. I don’t know about you but having the genre do the choosing feels natural as if there’s no other way.
But something strange happened last year that puzzled me. I submitted a horror short story to my writer’s group that I wrote at the same time I was writing my romantic/comedy novel.
To my pleasant surprise it scared some of the members of my group. Come to think of it, it kind of scared me to. Especially after our meeting when I walked across a dark and lonely parking lot.
I was advised to enter it in contests, especially during the Halloween season. I finally did and I hope to enter it in a few more.
This leads me to a question: Why are all of my short stories horror driven while my novels are not?
Do I scare ‘em or not…..
I have given up trying to understand how we come up with our ideas. I have also given up why we pick the genres, or in my case, the genre picking me.
I could never write a horror novel. It might have to do with empathy towards the characters or maybe I hate to scare people. Especially in those empty parking lots.
But if you give me a short story something happens. My goal is to put a fright in you that’s so bad you’ll never dangle your feet over the bed again. I’ll guarantee every light in your house will be on.
But if you ask me to write a novel I’ll have you laughing and crying at the same time. My goal is to make you smile.
Does this apply to others? Can some of you turn a switch and immediately become a different writer? How many of us are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde via pen and paper?
Something Lurking behind the Screen Door
It’s becoming clear this path I took is a mysterious one. There will be places along that path where funny moments and happy endings welcome every step.
But if I turn a corner and take a sharp right I’ll be your worst nightmare.
A part of me says I should drop short stories but another suggests I continue with a different name. A secret identity if you will.
This Jekyll and Hyde thing is becoming more and more real.
Whatever happens I do know this: The creative mind is full of mysteries where many of the answers will never be found. And you know what? I’m glad.
Sometimes we don’t need to know everything.