(Psst... If you haven't read it, please check out yesterday's post to understand what I'm talking about today.)
So, here's the good news. I've rewritten the first 2+ chapters of Real Stakes. Somehow, despite massive overhauls and deltion of humongo passages, I've ended up at 15.5K words, which is within 500 words of where I was before the rennovation began. Not what I expected.
Another day I'll talk about the translation of the work into first person, because there's actually quite a bit to see about that process. I learned a bunch, and while I encountered a few definite obstacles, I think over all the writing is much, much stronger now.
But here's the other thing I did: I dialed up the scary crap.
I talked a while back about the realization that I don't write procedurals or traditional mysteries well. I worked at removing those elements, and still wasn't quite "feeling it," as the kids say. So I've been really thinking about what I do write well.
This led me to comments I get here and elsewhere about my writing. One word kept coming up in relation to my strengths: horror.
Egads. I'm not a horror writer. At least, I don't think I am. And I don't want to be. I think. But the word has a lot of negative connotations for me that I'm sure I understand quite yet. I certainly do admire character-driven horror. Stephen King's Carrie is an obvious stand-out in that way. Just the same, I'm always worked hard to distance my own writing from that tag.
I really don't know.
As a genre, I'm still not sure I fit in there. There are a lot of things I just plain don't do that are common in the genre, and I won't belabor them here. I think psychological suspense is still my best market niche at this stage. But I'm trying to embrace my inner horror-writer a little more.
The moment I did, I've gotta admit that Real Stakes started and flowing and clicking. I knew what to do to punch up the dry sections, I knew how to get rid of the last traces of procedure, and I knew how to make it a good story. So I'm going with this for now.
If you have any insights into my I might be having this struggle, or any perspective on the horror genre that might help me understand better what I do and don't have in common, I'd leave to hear from you. Also, please do keep the reading recommendations coming. I'm not arrogant enough to think I'm the first person to write the kind of stuff I write. I am, however, arrogant enough to think that other people who write the kind of stuff I write have been previously published so I can check out how they did it...