Starting a dark novel… Conquering demons… The irony of inspiration…

This is my first post in nearly three years. In December last year, I quit a fun, quirky job as the editor of a popular book, a job that didn’t really allow me to keep a blog for “company profile reasons”.

There were a myriad of reasons for departing that crazy-but-frustrating role, but my primary motive was because I wanted some time off to focus on my own creative fiction, just because it was something I’ve always wanted to do and because, well, a rare, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take such a plunge had presented itself. Exciting huh? But if only I could just conquer my personal demons and make the most of that opportunity, dammit…

I’ve had the same idea for my novel or novella for the last two years. A good thing, I think. It’s had time to develop and evolve, and the fact that I’ve stuck with it must mean it has legs, yes? The problem is I’m terrified to actually start writing it properly!

People keep asking me what my novel (or novella) is about. It’s a question I hate being asked and one that usually leaves me blank and clicking my tongue. It’s not that I don’t know what it’s about (of course I do), it’s just hard to describe and categorise, and I tend not to like sharing embryonic ideas, especially when the concept is quite deep.

But to cut it shot, I think my story is a dark, contemporary thriller/drama/satire that has little elements of Fight Club, Crash and American Psycho about it. Which is massively ironic because, as it suddenly occurred to me this morning, those are three novels that I’ve tried reading but just couldn’t finish or even get into.

Now don’t get me wrong – Chuck Palahniuk, JG Ballard and Bret Easton Ellis are three fucking amazing writers well beyond my meagre aspirational hopes. I love each and every one of them, and have read many of their works and enjoyed them thoroughly. They are heroes of mine.

However, I just found Crash to be incredibly dense and felt it read like one big gratuitous piss-take; I found American Psycho to be monotonous and controversially, too boring to stick with (I know, I know, it’s supremely clever and I didn’t get to the good parts), and Fight Club…well, actually Fight Club I loved to be honest. I’d just read so much Palahniuk by that point that I really need a long, extended break from his idiosyncratic style.

So yeah, my novel(la) will share minor thematic traits with three genius novels that I never finished. I just hope that I can actually finish MY novel – because then that would be real irony!



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The anthropomorphic alter-ego of former Bizarre Magazine features editor Stephen Kitten. A decadent 18th Century feline, enjoying the stranger, darker things in life...

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