Sunday, 2 September 2012

More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence

With a second short story collection under way, I thought this was a good opportunity to say a little about the stories in the previous one: More Stories About Drugs Sex & Violence.
The collection comprises thirteen stories written over a sixteen year period that covers almost every aspect of my writing.  I’ve tried to provide some insight into them below without giving too much away for those who have yet to read them.

The use of the second person in the narrative is a direct homage to those old adventure games books that originated in the eighties, where you navigated through the book by turning to various numbered sections.  Depending on your choices, you either won or died!
In line with the choice of the second person was the decision to write in as gender neutral a voice as possible.  Despite being the oldest story in the collection, having been written in 1996, it holds up remarkably well.

The Dog Trainer
The setting and much of the early dialogue relating to dog psychology are lifted directly from a session I had with a dog trainer after re-homing a dog that turned out to be aggressive.  Somewhere during the process I started to wonder what would happen if you applied the same process to a human.  I suspect I have rather too many thoughts like this.

The concept behind this story started as something of a joke, someone setting out to commit every specific type of murder, and swiftly turned far more serious.  Is it too fantastical?

Death & Taxes
A reproduction of the composition piece I wrote for my English O Grade.  Proof, were it needed, that my humour has always been black.  For those that may be interested, I received a B.

Charlie Says
For want of better term, a more literary examination of the concept behind White Vampyre.  I later attempted to turn it into a novel with no success.  Some of the material from that failed attempt was then used in a second failed attempt to turn Tracks, another story in this collection, into a novel.  One of these days I will complete a novel about Aberdeen lowlifes based on my time in the city.  Honest.

One of several pieces in this collection originally written for a competition.  In this instance the brief was a modern updating of a myth.  I chose Leda and the swan from Greek mythology.  Didn’t win.

Inspired by an advert for a company offering to turn human cremation ashes into diamond via an industrial process.  The character of Wayne swiftly took on a life of his own, becoming far more unpleasant than anything I’d first imagined.  Had a different twist when I first conceived it.  You’ll have to take my word for it that his one works better.

Two Minutes
Another competition piece and the only flash fiction in this collection - 500 words on the subject of time.  I suspect the racist language at the beginning may have queered this with the judges.  I considered removing it for the submission but it is entirely justified for the character and self-censorship is a slippery slope for any writer.

The Mythographer
This one arrived out of nowhere, starting with the title which sounds like something J G Ballard might have used.  Any resemblance to an ex member of The Libertines is entirely coincidental.

Down The Rabbit Hole
The most light-hearted story in the collection.  Besides the obvious references to Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz and 70’s British Children’s television, there are a number of references to Tori Amos lyrics in the text.  I do this sort of thing far too often for my own good.

Another story that seemed to arrive almost fully formed.  This one manages to feature all three on the collections title themes along with a generous helping of black humour.  I like to think it attempts to make some serious points along the way.

Another Nail In My Coffin
In large part inspired by the excellent charity anthology Off The Record, where each story was inspired by a classic song.  The title comes from Nail In My Coffin from The Kills Blood Pressures album.  The two, however, have little else in common.

The Killing Of Joe Fly
Competition - the body in the library.  Hard boiled detective fiction with a twist.  Also didn’t win.

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