Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Only You - Wrath James White - Biggest Aha! Moments in Writing

Write the story that only you could have written.

Many moons ago, when I was asked to compile my first short story collection, I recall going through my stories and noticing a distinct difference in styles. I had my psycho-sexual gore-soaked stories and my more socio-political philosophical stories. I could not decide which ones I wanted to showcase. In truth, I was proud of them both. So, I took a calculated risk and decided to combine both styles into one volume. The Book Of A Thousand Sins. The results were overwhelming. The collection sold remarkably well.

I learned something from this, or rather, relearned something. What I had done with that collection was create something uniquely me. It was sexual, visceral, and thought-provoking. That was something that only my unique blend of experiences would have produced. Thus far, I had been fragmenting myself, writing one style for one type of publication and another for a different one. I had been holding back. What finally worked, was finding out who I was as an artist and putting that, all of it, into my writing. That "Truth" is what readers responded to and what continues to bring them back to my writing. It is what they do and should expect from writers. They want you, all of you.

I remembered some great advice I had received in my first and only correspondence with the late, great, Richard Laymon. I shall attempt to paraphrase it. "No one wants to read another serial killer novel or ghost story or vampire novel. But they do want to read the serial killer novel, ghost story, or vampire novel that only you could have written." What I realized was that what made me special, different, unique, was being lost. I needed to write the stories that only I could have written. And that meant showing all facets of my unique personality, my distinct perspective on the world, in each story. That moment, that realization, is when I matured as a writer and found my voice. As a former fighter, poet, philosophy student, and kickboxer, raised on the streets of Philadelphia, I have some very unique experiences and I wasn't fully utilizing them in my writing. So, in my subsequent stories, novels, and novellas, I integrated my various perspectives. That's not to say that they all contain sex and gore, but they all contain my social and philosophical views, even the ones that are loaded with sex and violence. Finding what is uniquely you and putting that into your writing is the best thing you will ever do for yourself as an artist. Second is taking as many grammar refresher courses as you can stand and finding a good editor, but that's a tale for another day.

WRATH JAMES WHITE is a former World Class Heavyweight Kickboxer, a professional Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts trainer, distance runner, performance artist, and former street brawler, who is now known for creating some of the most disturbing works of fiction in print.

Wrath's two most recent novels are THE RESURRECTIONIST and YACCUB'S CURSE. He is also the author of SUCCULENT PREY, EVERYONE DIES FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN, THE BOOK OF A THOUSAND SINS, HIS PAIN and POPULATION ZERO. He is the co-author of TERATOLOGIST co-written with the king of extreme horror, Edward Lee, ORGY OF SOULS co-written with Maurice Broaddus, HERO co-written with J.F. Gonzalez, and POISONING EROS co-written with Monica J. O'Rourke.

Wrath lives and works in Austin, Texas with his two daughters, Isis and Nala, his son Sultan and his wife Christie.

No comments: