S.G. Browne

L is for Lullaby

Back in the spring of 2002, I was working on the re-writes of my second and third novels for submission to a couple of small press publishers in the horror community.  Each of the publishers had expressed enthusiastic interest for my novels and it looked like, after more than a decade of writing with the hopes of become a published novelist, I was finally going to realize my dreams.

But then a funny thing happened.  I started to hate what I was writing.

Both novels were of the supernatural horror variety, influenced by a steady diet of King, Straub, Koontz, and McCammon that I’d fed on as a teenager and young adult.  And although I was proud of both novels, the more time I spent re-writing them, the more I realized that I was growing to hate them.

What had once been fun had now become tedious, painful work.

So after struggling with the rewrites for several months, I told the two small presses that I wouldn’t be submitting the manuscripts and I kissed my opportunity to become a published novelist goodbye.

Then I stopped writing.

For the next year and a half I played a lot of golf and spent more time reading and playing with my dog.  I wrote a best man’s speech based on Hamlet (“To wed or not to wed, that is the question…”) and a 40th birthday poem for my wife based on The Raven (“Once upon a birthday dreary…”), but that was about it.

Sometime in the middle of all of this, I read Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.

Although I’d seen Fight Club (one of my favorite all time films), I’d never read the novel or any of Palahniuk’s other books.  But for some reason, this novel resonated with me on a level I hadn’t previously experienced.  And when I was done, I had an “a-ha” moment.

While my three novels and four dozen short stories had all predominantly been influenced by my love of horror, I’d written a few short stories that were dark comedy with a supernatural edge to them.  But I’d never thought about writing anything other than straight horror novels.

Lullaby changed all that.

After finishing Lullaby, I began to think about turning a short story of mine into a full-length novel.  The story, “A Zombie’s Lament,” dealt with a group of zombies who attend Undead Anonymous meetings and yearn for civil rights.  About a year later, I wrote the opening scene for Breathers.

(Next entry:  M is for Maggots)

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 1:14 pm

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