So after lunch today I lit a pumpkin spice candle (mmm) and dusted off the two pages of a would-be horror story, ready to go to work. I figured it would be a piece of cake to work on something that already has some sort of foundation to it. But, as I sit here staring at the tiny manuscript I’m becoming as overwhelmed as I would be starting from scratch.
And why is that? Because it sucks. It really does. It sat in a dark drawer for two years and with good reason. But, deep down, I do believe there is some potential here. A professor of mine referred to the piece as having a sort of pulp-fiction feel, which I didn’t realize it had at the time.
But it certainly needs a ton of work. There’s no real story here. My main character turns into a praying mantis and eats her lovers. Why? Sometimes, in my opinion, the reasoning can go left unsaid, and a great story can still be produced. But in my case, I feel as though it needs some sort of explanation. And maybe more dialogue? Dialogue never was an easy task for me.
The piece starts off a bit slow:
“A thin ray of light kissed the wall, displaying the outline that formed between the arch of her back and the curve of his stomach. Black hair swept his knees and she dug her nails into his fleshy thighs. He gasped, a puff of air escaping between thin lips as she drove him to heaven.”
That is the opening of two years ago. While I will say I appreciate the seediness I created, I think it feels too forced. A quick clean-up today gave me this:
“A ray of light scraped the wall and threw their outlines on display. Her black hair swept against his knees as she dug her nails into his fleshy thighs. He gasped then, as she drove him to heaven and a puff of air escaped between his thin lips.”
“Drove him to heaven” may seem a bit much, but it reminds me of a Quentin Tarantino film and works with the mood I’m trying to create.
However, a few paragraphs down digs right into the “good” stuff:
“She lifted herself from him, the suction-cup sound of parting flesh lost among groans and cries. The white walls were decorated in a contemporary splash of red as she raked at his face and chest.”
So, I was thinking, maybe diving head first into the action is a better idea. Draw the reader in from the beginning, so they don’t have time to wonder what the hell is going on. Catch ’em off guard! Eh? It’s something to consider. It won’t be her first victim, after all. There will plenty of other opportunities to explain.
It’s a welcomed break from banging my head against the wall whilst novel writing. So instead I’ll bang my head against the wall over this piece.
I’ll post something a bit lengthier once I feel confident enough to do so. This baby needs a lot of work! Any suggestions would be much appreciated.