So, writing first.
I’m outlining a new middle grade horror manuscript. For now it’s called SOON but I expect that will change over time. It’s about a kid trapped (alone…?) inside his creepy new-old house because there’s something out his front door that is both invisible and ominous. I mean, he’s safe indoors, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Because it’s hard to guard against a threat you can’t see and don’t understand.
Did I start this idea before the COVID-19 scare? Yes, yes I did.
Is it at risk of tuning into a commentary on current events? Yes, yes it is.
Can I avoid that entirely? Probably not. I’m of the opinion most writers cannot entirely divorce themselves and their writing from the world around them. Reality creeps in even when it’s not been invited. Which, if you’re keeping track, makes reality less considerate than vampires.
I’m curious to see how many quarantine-inspired books are released in the next couple years. Will this be the Next Big Thing, or will publishers avoid it like the – ahem – plague? (Sorry about that…)
In the meantime, I’m going to keep plotting this story as much as a by-the-seat-of-her-pants writer like me plots anything. I have no intention for the story to be an allegory but I have no control over how it will be read and received. And we’ll see how much of that self-entitled and unsolicited reality sneaks past security.
All that said, I like the idea a lot. It appeals to my love of haunted houses, feisty kids, and impending doom. And my main character, Wyatt, has done that obnoxious thing good characters inevitably do – he’s become a fully formed person in my head. So I suppose I’m bound to see where this thing goes, because Wyatt will never give me any peace if I don’t – he’s the kind of kid who’ll go down yelling and swinging.
Ok, as for that book recommendation.
Kurt Kirchmeier wrote a brilliant middle grade horror, The Absence of Sparrows. It’s about a kid dealing with a pandemic that only affects adults…so, basically, Kurt was way ahead of the curve. It’s strange and haunting and lovely. I recommend this book all the time anyway, but as it’s particularly timely here I am recommending it yet again.
Pick up The Absence of Sparrows and see how Ben and his brother Pete – and their community – deal with a plague they can’t escape and don’t have an antidote for.
It was one of my favorite books last year, and I’ll wager you’d enjoy it as well. Because if you’re here, you have at least a passing interest in dark and twisty books.
If you’re writing, I hope your words are flowing.
If you’re reading, support your local bookstores. They sure need it right now.
I’d love to hear about what you’re working on. And, of course, I want all your book recommendations.
And seriously, go wash your hands. Right now. I mean, you have no idea where this blog has been.