Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Concerning Variety

Posted by Luther D. Powell on May 24, 2012

Good horror is difficult to write.

This is a painful reality I’m just now figuring out. I am not saying it’s particularly easy to write any other genre. Drama or romance fiction may come a bit more naturally to some authors because it usually deals with, well, normal people doing fairly normal things, right? Horror doesn’t even have to deal with not-normal topics to be scary, but its driving factor is fear. To write horror, you have to know how to scare people. To scare people, you have to know what people consider scary.

I may have said in a previous blog, I write horror for a number of reasons, a few of them being, I like spooky stuff and horror comes most naturally for me. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I don’t run out of ideas once in a while. I’m working on a ghost story for the time being, and it has occurred to me that aside from the conventions of ghost-horror that I’ve seen done over and over already, I don’t really know what makes a ghost story scary these days.

I told Lisa a month ago or so that I feel it would be a wise move to try writing a little outside of the horror genre, but I’m not sure where else I could go. Most will agree that Stephen King is THEE horror guy, but his dramas like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are just as highly-acclaimed as any of his horror novels, so could I pull off variety as well? The other story/stories I have in mind that aren’t horror could be considered speculative fiction, supernatural drama, maybe? Got some action, humor, romance, but maintaining the sort of dark roots that my horror stories would stem from.

I also have a possible sci-fi-comedy in the works, sort of like Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but it’s still very, VERY premature.

I guess I’m saying all this to get feedback on the notion of variety as a writer, whether or not you as readers might think it smart to cross into different genres every now and then, or if sticking to one is a wiser choice.

I’ve been told that genre-hopping as an artist is a bit counterproductive, because after so long, people will expect to see a certain kind of artwork from you which will be placed within the constraints of a specific “art world,” so to speak. An instructor told me this past semester that I won’t necessarily be best at creating artwork that I like looking at, and that it’s good to have a signature style that everyone will recognize. I’ll always think certain art styles or topic matter is cool, but if I’m best at something different, I shouldn’t deviate too far.

So far, writing blogs feels kind of similar. I apologize if I seem a bit uneducated in some of the subjects I’ve chosen to write about. I admit I should do more homework before deciding on beefy bloppicks. I’m writing as a student, but I want to be the teacher, and it helps if I know the material. This is a case where variety is a more iffy choice, and it might be best for me to write only about personal opinions and experiences, not involving hefty, arguable matters.

Whether writing books or blogs, I want to glorify God and encourage people to see Him in new ways. I want to reach out to as many people as I can. With that in mind, would it be best to write mostly what I enjoy writing and what comes naturally, or would I be just as effective as an author writing something that readers won’t quite expect from me?

Thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

3 Responses to “Concerning Variety”

  1. totally agree, as a total lover of horro, i would love to be able to write my own horror story, but as a writer.. i know my lane.

  2. The more comfortable you are in your writing, the better it will show in the final product. Some authors are so productive they can write in several genres, and some just go and write in a pseudonym. Like you said, it works for Stephen King; John Grisham, not so much. Then again, other authors have been so popular, they’ve been group/ghost-written long after their career or lives ended: Clive Cussler, Tony Hillerman, Anne McCaffrey. Funny.

  3. Mom said

    I’m thinking it’s kind of like exercise. The best exercise for you? Something you will stick with. Perhaps when choosing what to write, you should ask yourself: What will I stick with and finish?

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