Monday, August 1, 2011

What's THAT story you really want to write?

Short post, today.  Been busy with lots of "work for hire" - the kind of writing that brings in money and isn't anything I'd want to share with anyone.  Someday, I may actually be busy with fiction guidelines.  Hopefully.  Anyway, been so tied up with that, haven't had a chance to blog much, lately.

Now, this is going to be one of those "Q & A" blogs.  Maybe that'll pull some more comments out of the ether, maybe not.  Anyway, here it goes....

All authors have THAT story they want to write.  Their magnum opus, the one they've always wanted to write.   Some folks - like Stephen King - end up not only writing that story, but turning it into a mini-empire (The Dark Tower).   Sometimes - also like King - it takes them nearly 13 years to write (It).  Sometimes - also, once more like King - that novel gets shoved in a trunk because of fears of failure, only to be released later (Blaze).

Others end up writing something that defines them purely by happenstance or fate, like Paul Wilson and Repairman Jack, who he'd never originally intended to stretch out into a 15 book series that arced over into several other stories.  Other authors, like Rio Youers, never end up sharing those novels because they're early efforts deemed by the author to be too derivative of their favorite novels.

And that last one is probably the stumbling block for many authors, as is it is for me.  THAT novel I've always wanted to write is the "evil carnival that comes to town to suck the souls of all the unwitting townspeople".  Of course, it's already been done, so many times.  Best by Ray Bradbury in Something Wicked This Way Comes.  And of course, I want that novel to take place in October, just like Bradbury's did.  Heck, I've even got a title, if I can get permission to use it: "The Autumn People."

I've held off writing that novel.  Mostly, because I know there's no way I can put a fresh, new spin on it, or come close to what Bradbury did with it.  Someday, maybe.   

Another TYPE of novel I've always wanted to write is the "group of boys face down/suffer a terrible evil in their youths that marks them for life, and they return as adults to finally face it."  Basically It, Salem's Lot, The Body (Stand By Me), Dreamcatcher... (anyone sensing a common thread, here?) and also, Dan Simmons' Summer of Night.

I got halfway through that novel.  Re-wrote it for six years, before putting it aside.  It's been done.  What more can I add to that narrative?

Then, I got the bright idea that it would be SO cool to write these connected novels and novellas and short stories that all occurred in ONE town, referencing each other but able to be read in any order.....

And then I discovered Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill cycle.  Charles Grant's Oxrun Station and Hawthorne Street stories.  Read more deeply into Lovecraft's work.

Sigh.  

Anyway, that's part of the reason why I've almost...taken on a MISSION with my reading.  I want to read as much as I can, as many different TYPES of stories as I can, to create my own vision.  Of course, it won't be totally unique - so many stories have already been told - but my hope and  desire is to get some God-Almighty brew bubbling in my head, see what type of concoction I can come up with.

So, here's the question - what's THAT story you've always wanted to write, and either haven't yet....or are afraid to?