I want something easy and fun. My usual writing project involves a lot of research, planning, and work. Not this time. This time, I want something fun.
I pulled down a bunch of books that I had fun reading and looked fun to write. I also wanted t do an obvious pastiche. Something that would be recognizable as “Oh, John is doing that.” I don’t intend this to be a very serious novel, but something that could be read over a weekend.
As examples of what I wanted to write, I took a few books off my shelf and had them in front of me. I had Richard Stark, H.P. Lovecraft, and Tanith Lee. These were the big contenders.
For Stark, writing something dark, gritty and full of pulp seemed the choice. That alone would be fun, but how to make it distinctly mine? I’ve had an idea for a long time on this one: writing a Richard Stark novel in a sword & sorcery setting. Not fantasy, but sword and fuckin’ sorcery. Elric without the whining. Conan with brains. Something along those lines. The Parker character is so much fun to read and, I’m told, a helluva lot of fun to write. Creating a Parker-esque character in that kind of setting would be so different than anything else I see on the market right now. It would be about 50,000 words (the right word count) and just wicked and mean. A sword & sorcery caper. Yeah, that would rock.
For Lovecraft, I’d be trying to add something to the mythos that was distinctly me. And distinctly modern. One of the problems I find with a lot of the modern Lovecraftians is that they’re still hooked on “the universe is big” being scary. It isn’t scary anymore. It was in the ’20’s, but not anymore. We know the universe is big. Not scary. Lovecraft’s intention wasn’t to demonstrate that the universe is big, cold, and uncaring. That wasn’t his intention. The horror comes from coming to the understanding that we are very, very small. Hitting his reader with that particular hammer was Lovecraft’s intention. So, how to do that to a modern audience? That’s the rub. If I tackle this project, I have a plan to do it.
For Tanith Lee, I’d want to write a pillow book. A collection of very scary and very erotic stories that link together like Arabian Nights. I’ve dabbled in this particular course before, but this one would take the most work. I can write con men and I can write Cthulhu, but writing erotica is damn challenging. Like horror, erotica straddles a line. Go too far and it’s just silly. Don’t go far enough, and the reader just gets bored. And so, if I choose this course of action, it’ll be the most challenging… which is a temptation all in itself.
Those are the three I’m debating right now. I have a favorite, but I’m keeping that to myself for the moment.