I have been putting together the bare bones of a new story. As I was mind-mapping in prep of an outline(writing down anything that comes to mind when thinking about the story), I saw an old pattern creep in. It’s kind of disturbing, really, but I adore evil characters. And not the evil kind who physically hurt people,(although some of them do inflict lots of pain) no… I like the psychologically evil ones. The ones who get into your mind and terrorize your soul. LOVE THEM!
I read a lot of mysteries, thrillers, fantasies, Sci-fi and the occasional
porn …I mean romantic erotica so when I write, I guess I just write what I like. But it’s the question of why I like that kind of stuff that is amazing to me.
I grew up on a farm in Kentucky. A quiet community, no really bad shit happened other than the normal stolen tractor or a farm equipment mishap sometimes resulting in hospitalization or a lost finger or two. So how come I became so interested in writing and reading stories about the psychos of the world? The first books I can truly remember making a deep impression on me were, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings trilogy”. The character or Sarron intrigued me. What made him dark, unlike Gandolf. I was mad for fantasy. Mad, I tell you! After those, I read as much in the genre I could. Then my tastes gravitated to Sci-fi. OH, Good God. I was nuts for anything Sci-fi. “The Outer Limits”, The Twilight Zone and then all the Startrek shows. I was wild about them. And then….I read “Carrie”. My fate was sealed. I devoured anything King produced. Still do, to this day. Now he is an author who gets me. Really gets me. You know that game where you pick three historical figures to sit down and have supper with? Not me man. I want to break bread with Stephen King. Tip back a few, too. To meet the man who came up with “The Stand” would be nirvana for me. His evil characters aren’t just bad, they are evil to infinity and beyond. And I love to hate them. I can just imagine the supper. I’d fix something that goes well with fave beans; a nice rare steak, perhaps… and copious amounts of red wine.
It took me a while to figure out why all his bad-guy characters get to me on such a visceral level but I figured it out. It’s that they are people, just like you and me, for the most part. But something in them gets twisted…sometimes by normal circumstance even, and the twisting creates the evil. That is bad-ass stuff. The stuff I want to read. And Write.
I hate it when people ask me what kind of stories I write and assume I will say “romance”. Probably because I’m a woman, a grandmother, and in a wheelchair, blah, blah. blah. Fuck em. Give me a good psychological thriller any day of the week an I’m a happy camper. And if I do write romance, it’s not the happy kind. It’s going to be the kind where somebody is going to be very , very disappointed with love. And usually somebody will die. Horribly. Or at least end up in a mental ward. I do not like Happily Ever after stories. They’re stagnant and not real because HEA does not really exist in life. Or at least it never last, because we are human and flawed. Some of us more than others. Happy For the Moment-So You Better Enjoy It, is what I like. That can be manipulated and interesting. And deviously full of terror.
I had a friend who “came back” from death. In that, I mean he had a heart attack at a very young age and his heart stopped cold. He was revived and lived. During the revival stage, he saw the light and the whole nine yards. He was also a writer and wrote about monsters and blood and gore and all that. We met in a “near death experience survival group”. I only went twice. It was too touchy-feely for me and even though I had also had the whole dead-backagain-followed-the-light-but-was-sent-back experience after a car accident (died on operating table twice and was brought back), I just didn’t feel right about being in a group with only that in common. It was too personal for me and I wanted to keep it that way. Anyway, the best thing to come out of those meetings was getting to know Tim. He had much the same attitude I did about the experience. He wasn’t really a “sharer” either. So the two of us left the group and ,long story short, became “special friends”. And shared many, MANY bottles of wine during our time together. Being drunk was the only time Tim ever talked about the death thing to me. When he was buzzed, that’s ALL he wanted to talk about…hence the short relationship. But I will never forget his take on it.
“I think it has to do with not being allowed to die,” he’d say. “The way I see it, I should never have survived and when I was brought back, I think a bit of something wicked or warped…the part that wanted me to stay dead… came back with me. I used to write stories that ended with hope, now, none of them do. That’s why I write this way. I have that inside me now.”
Tim had an interesting outlook. Tim also died from cancer two and a half years after I met him. Given his way of thinking, it seemed an appropriate fate.
I think I’ll add that to my list of conversation starters for my supper with Stephen.