S.G. Browne

Anatomy of a Writer

When I first started writing more than twenty years ago, I was reading a steady diet of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, F. Paul Wilson, and Peter Straub. So most of what I wrote from 1990-2002 was supernatural horror. Alternate realities. Things that went bump in the night.

And Stephen King is the reason I wanted to become a writer.

That thirteen year period from 1990-2002 produced three novels and about four dozen short stories, several of which were more dark comedy and social satire than supernatural horror and written in the first person point-of-view.

In 2001, I wrote the last of those darkly comedic stories, “A Zombie’s Lament.” The following year, while rewriting two of my supernatural horror novels, I realized I didn’t like what I was writing. Worse, I didn’t enjoy the process. Writing had become tedious rather than joyful. So after several months of this, I stopped writing.

Nearly a year later, in 2003, after reading Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, I was inspired to take “A Zombie’s Lament” and do something more with it. That something more became Breathers. With Breathers I found a voice and a style that resonated with me and made writing enjoyable again and also allowed me to maintain some of my roots in the supernatural and the fantastic.

In addition to King and Palahniuk, I’ve been inspired by authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, and Douglas Adams. I’m also inspired by films like Being John Malkovich, The Big Lebowski, Fight Club, and I Heart Huckabees.

I write social satire because I enjoy poking fun at human beings. There’s a lot to poke fun at. Including myself. And I write dark comedy because that’s just my sense of humor. Plus I have a lot more fun trying to make myself laugh than trying to make myself wonder what’s lurking in the shadows.

Admittedly my main protagonists aren’t your classic heroes. They’re not imbued with a sense of honor or altruistic motives. They’re not someone you would necessarily want to bring home to meet your mother.

They’re selfish.
They’re cynical.
They’re decomposing corpses.

In other words, they’re flawed. But even if they’re zombies, incarnations of fate, or genetic mutants who have the ability to steal luck, they’re very much human. And my challenge is to find a way to make the reader want to root for them or be their friend in spite of their shortcomings.

Filed under: Breathers,Fiction,The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 9:12 am

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