A return to blogging, and lengths of fiction

Yes, I’m returning to blogging. Slowly, easing back into it. moving away from the FarceBox. That Facebork. That evil empire machinery that treats the citizens (netizens) as commerce cattle and spills out their intimate details to the highest bidder. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t. Instead, let’s talk about reading and writing and all of that junk.

Right now my mind is filled with a million ideas. Boom, boom, boom. I’m working on a novel, but I’ve also got my hand in all sorts of other things. Short stories, etc. I’m trying to force myself to read more fiction, I’ve become way too lax about this sort of thing. I’d been reading tons of interesting non-fiction, doing loads of research and diving down into interesting rabbit-holes. But in doing so, I’ve neglected my fiction reading, and I feel like I need to delve into it more and more and more so.

Mostly because I adore reading fiction. I go into books all gonzo and passionate and devour them in large gulps. I miss that feeling, and I miss doing it. Certainly, I’ve been doing it with my own writing, but it’s not exactly the same. There is something missing there.

So, anyway. That’s the plan. To read a bit more fiction. I’ve got a few Best Of’s from last year and this year I need to peel through. I’m on a big short story (reading) kick lately, and it’s nice going back into the shorter form. Short stories were my first reader love as a kid growing up. It was the gateway drug into horror, and sometimes I think that maybe the short form is the perfect form for horror. Or weird fiction, or ghost stories.

Because it limits things, and drills them down, and it becomes claustrophobic in the amount of space it takes up on the page itself. The limitation in size creates a walls closing in effect, and when used correctly the very sentences themselves can create a labyrinth of words. Just by leaving out much more than they put in.

Because really, with a short story the economy of words and paragraphs are paramount. There is a deliberate choice to almost everything. You have to have that level of control, in order to ratchet suspense, and have care for and understand the characters in such little space. Creating that feeling of dread, of loss, of neo-gothic atmosphere is one that requires a complete control over the language.

Novellas, too, are also good lengths for these sorts of things. It’s stretched to the point of almost breaking. But once you move past that to novel and then to NOVEL (big brick of a thing) you have the risk of losing momentum. Of losing that claustrophobia, that sense of loss and intimate power. It can still be done, but too many writers lose that sense about halfway through BIG GIANT NOVELS. They turn around, become something else.

The tenseness is gone. The same thing can be said for weird fiction, which I believe the horror genre is actually a subset of, and not the other way around. The key point to weird fiction is the uncanniness of the text, the disruption of the real. Surreal and magical realist works also have this issue, where after a certain point the fluidity of the real can become a hinderance, not a benefit. It’s not impossible, mind you. But it’s tricky, and can easily devolve into something that’s just nonsense.

Anyway. I’m back! I’m blogging. Yar. And I’ll be talking about my upcoming novel Close Your Eyes. And all the stuff I’ll be reading. And who knows, I might start podcasting, too. Dunno yet. Depends on how I’m feeling about this whole thing.


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