April was definitely not a good month for goals. Too much life, too little writing.
I didn’t have a new short story in development, but I did work on revision of a story that was rejected with the comment: “the characters seem awfully mean-spirited.” Yikes! Not the intent, for sure. The story centers on several men in a neighborhood who are good friends and like to bust each other’s chops. One of the friends is dealing with the supernatural (of course), and his friends give him some (what I thought was) good-natured ribbing about it. Apparently that’s not how it came across, lol, so I’m trying to adjust their tone a bit. Nobody wants the reader to hate the (non-villain) characters!
Though I didn’t get new writing done, I did manage to get some reading done. I read The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24. My favorites stories were:
“The Curtain,” by Thana Niveau; I think this one got me on a reptile-brain level because I have a love/hate relationship with water. Not only have I never learned to swim, but that whole “throw them in and they’ll automatically learn” myth? Nope, not true. I’m not sure what age I was when it happened, but I was younger than three. I fell out of one of those floaty-rings in the deep end of a busy Florida pool. Nobody saw me, and I had to walk across the bottom of the pool to the shallow end. Do you know how long that walk is for the stubby legs of a less-than-three-year-old? Been scared to death of being *in* water ever since, but I enjoy being near water (on dry land).
“Between Four Yews,” by Reggie Oliver; You’d almost think this one was written by Lovecraft himself. I love that there are authors keeping more than the just the mythos alive, but that are also keeping the voice/style alive.
“Celebrity Frankenstein,” by Stephen Volk; This was the story I enjoyed the most. It’s clever and a new take on the Frankenstein’s monster trope, and it is a pertinent and funny allegory for our current social media society and celebrities who are famous for the sake of being famous. I loved it.
For my English class this semester, we read “Sweet Tooth,” by Ian McEwan. The novel is NOT my cup of tea at all, but I did enjoy learning about one of the topics of the novel: the CIA once sought out creative writing programs and authors. Their intent was not to tell writers what to write, but to make sure the “right” writers were published and promoted and got their stories out to the public. That was certainly interesting to learn. Below is a link to an article about the program:
The CIA is supposedly still involved in this sort of thing, through a program called Operation Earnest Voice. Of course, now the program focuses on social media and “social media influencers.” This program is still in the realm of conspiracy theory (it’s unproven), but given the CIA’s past involvement with creative writing AND the current modern phenom of things like Russian troll farms on Facebook, I believe it’s plausible that the CIA is still working the propaganda machine on social media.
Hey! Maybe that’s where I will find my next new story?!
Okay, I’m off to finalize edits and get to work on something new.
Until next month, Carpe corpus!