Monday, 20 September 2010


I was making the point at the YLG conference that stories - good ones anyway - are rarely about one thing. Being boxed into a genre can give the impression that the work is just 'romance' or 'thriller' - or 'horror'. But horror, like crime, is a genre that actually allows the writer to talk about anything they like. In fact, the more compelling the situation, the scarier the denouement will be.

Piroska is as much about romance and longing as it is about horror. I'm not sure where it came from. I suppose I may have just brainstormed on the theme of the sea and the idea of emigrants just popped into my head. I know that I wanted to create an atmosphere of lethargy and melancholy. Most stories pick up speed towards their conclusion. This story does the opposite.

Right up until the end.

Thinking of ideas for stories can be a strange business. If you try too hard the ideas feel forced, but with a deadline ahead, waiting for an idea to appear isn't really an option. I tend to just hit an image or a situation (like emigrants on a ship bound for a new life) and move sideways through that seam until I (hopefully) hit gold.

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