Halloween is already in the past, but for me the scares have only begun. Most people will read eerie stories or watch one of the thousand Stephen King adaptations they play on every channel before and after FX - just for one night! To me, this is the time of year during which I wolf down numerous eerie tales. However, as of late, I'm having a hard time finding some good, scary tales. It seems the villains have been watered down. You can save that stuff for the kiddies. If you want a better villain, consider what's next in this entry.
I read this fantastic interview with Andrea Vachss (pronounced fax) on The Cult and you should read it too. Seriously.
What I found most interesting about the review, other than the dissection of Amazon's recent controversy , regarded the notion of experimental fiction and how books today should be read. For the most part, "what they teach you in art school", is that your pen should flow so smoothly on the pages, surrounded by metaphor and the finest of word choices. However, more and more people now are suggesting that they despise "flowery" works of fiction. As for myself, I agree to some extent.
I'll admit that I am an escapist of sorts. In other words, I would rather indulge in a good story which makes me forget that I am reading at all. It's like a good theatrical performance, really. When I worked with the Putnam County Playhouse and the Hendricks County Civic Theatre, one of the goals repeated in the dressing room was "make them forget they are looking at actors on a stage". Likewise, I believe a good book is one that allows the reader to forget they are merely holding ink and paper in their hands (or text on a screen, as the case may now be).
RH: Why do you think the story needed to be told like that, with a mixture of art and prose?
AV: I can't say it needed to be told like that. It's a new genre that Frank and I have been experimenting with before, with these triptych haikus, and they really worked, insanely well. I didn't want to write a comic book. I didn't want word balloons in the book. I didn't even want the same font used throughout, in regards to who was speaking. The best word is, I wanted to have the person who has this book experience the book, not read it.
In The Cult's interview with Vachss, the author mentions he wanted his most recent release to be, not only different and new, but something the reader could fully explore--a story that didn't read like a story. This ideology is one with which I have often agreed. I tend to dislike most stories that read too much like writing. Coming from a writer, the aforementioned notion sounds ludicrous, but I have faith other readers, if not writer's as well, agree.
In summary, my hope here is to encourage writers to create stories that readers read, not only other writers. Writing is a highway for storytelling and should capture a reader's imagination as well as their more rational thoughts the way a movie can completely engross a viewer. From time to time, perhaps we should consider ourselves as entertainers as well as artists and craftsmen.
(For the record, I understand Vachss' publisher, Dark Horse, releases, in large, comics and graphic novels. However, Vachss' book is more of a novel than anything else and his ideas towards reading still remain relevant.)
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.