Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Death Rhythm

I wrote the majority of my novel Death Rhythm when I was in my early twenties. It was my first novel, and I didn’t really know at first if I had it in me.

It started with a vivid dream I had of being in an attic and discovering a locked metal box. I opened the box and found a pair of drumsticks and an old medal on a ribbon – an award for a drum competition that someone named Evelyn had won. Also in the box was a small piece of paper with a childish drawing of a snarling face, beneath which was written “Look out for Big Ed.” Though the drawing was simple, it was incredibly frightening. I also knew that the ‘Ed’ in the picture was female – an ‘Edna’. I knew that something bad had happened to Evelyn, and I knew that whatever this bad thing was had occurred at the hands of Edna.

That was my dream, and it stuck with me for a long time. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There was so much mystery contained in it. So I started to write a novel, trying to figure out what had happened.

I wrote it in starts and stops. Scenes came to me:

            A guy walking over a narrow trail toward an old graveyard, autumn leaves crunching beneath his feet.
            A beheaded cat swinging from a tree.
            A teenage girl playing with corpses as if they were dolls.
            Gravestones covered in blood.
            A giant dream-phallus crushing someone against the ceiling like an insect.
          
And most importantly; a girl banging on an old field drum to drown out the maniacal ravings of her older sister – of Big Ed.

Yeah, I had a bit of a morbid imagination. I guess I still do.

I’d write a scene, and then maybe a month later, write another. I plotted as I went along, unsure of where the story was taking me. Eventually it started coming together.

I thought of it as a horror novel, but after it was finished and other people read it, they labeled it different things. One reader considered it psychological suspense. Someone else thought it was a mystery. Whatever anyone wants to consider it is fine by me. Hell, I guess you could even say there’s a little romance in it, although if you were to call it a romance, I’d recommend you get counseling.

It’s a short novel, about 65,000 words. I wrote two novels after it that were complete crap and will never see the light of day, and then a few more after that which I do like. But this one is my first born, and I think it has matured rather nicely.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you do like horror (or psychological suspense, or mystery) I hope you’ll give it a chance.

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