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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writing Wibbles

For the last few weeks, I’ve been reading The Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft (link goes to eBook download page). Yeah, that was a slog. I learned a couple things, though:

  • Writing styles have changed a lot in the last 70 years. Lovecraft wouldn’t get much love if he started writing that way today. If dialog was water, I would have died of thirst reading the Complete Works. Perhaps this book isn’t meant to be read cover to cover, so much as used as a reference. Because it’s an eBook, it’s easy to search.
  • Cthulhu was prominently featured only in the story that introduced it, The Call of Cthulhu. After that, it got a few mentions. Amazing, how much fan fiction and the like has been written about one character in one story.

But Cthulhu aside, Lovecraft is one of a few authors that I can think of, where commentary and fanfic have surpassed the size of the original work (shoot, even Stephen King ripped off some of his pantheon… read Crouch End sometime). Other authors in this rarefied club that I can think of might include: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, (perhaps) Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, (probably) Shakespeare, and the Bible.

It’s interesting to note that four of the seven authors are known for writing horror. I wonder what that says about not only readers in general, but literature commentators.

As for my own projects, White Pickups is coming along. I’ve (once again) postponed the launch date, but it’s going to happen before too much longer. The good thing is, since an editor is looking it over, I now plan to launch the paperback (through CreateSpace) around the same time as the eBooks. Before, I planned to get the eBooks in circulation for a few months, then sponsor a typo hunt before updating them and releasing the paperback.

As for the sequel, Pickups and Pestilence, I finally realized what I was missing to wrap up the last part of the story. I’m hoping to get out of Termag and it’s fertile story-soil and finish that up. I don’t think it will take two years to get that one out the door now.

I never did get around to putting Xenocide in the Kindle Select program. I really ought to do that.


  1. Your White Pick ups project sounds like its coming along nicely!

    My husaband liked Lovecraft, I haven't read him but I feel I should. As to how they wrote then and what is more acceptable today, I feel the same way about Dickens - don't get me wrong I love Dicken's work, but he does go off in tangents. Also I love all the Alice in Wonderland etc. books but Lewis Carrol's style may not fit into today's writing expectations.

  2. I was going to mention Dickens too, as another author much derived from. Lewis Carroll is another good one. Also, Jane Austen (although, interestingly, a lot of the recent Jane Austen 'spin-offs' have been horror) and, of course, Arthur Conan Doyle.

    I started reading the complete H.P. (although in three volume trad book form), was really enjoying it but haven't picked it up in a while.

    A lot of the wider mythos was created by a particular group of authors (Brian Lumley being one, I think). I can't remember the publishers, and I think it was a tie in to the roleplaying game, but a decade or so back there were some collections kicking around that had one Lovecraft story and then a handful of stories expanding on that one character/ god/ location.

  3. It is interesting how one person's idea/character/etc. can have such an impact on writers later on.


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