The new Current Story, The Golden Oracle, is the sort of thing that a writing chap could get in a variety of troubles over. At the back of it are a couple of authors whose works I quite enjoy.
The first burden I’m giving myself, and the one I’m content to shoulder, is one of vocabulary. When I decided to pursue this story in the general way I did, I seemed to me that the style should match the setting, as far as I was able to make it. Since I don’t have a publisher to please, I didn’t need to suppress that urge. I don’t think “blatant attempt to pretend to 19th century writing style” is a trigger warning yet, but I suppose there are some who will appreciate a warning all the same.
There is another burden I look with distaste at and will attempt to leave where it lies. I am known by some to be a fan of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, and if that’s news to you, I don’t deny it. The problem with this admission is that it brings with it a question of whether I also admire some of his less amiable qualities. The way I phrase that should give a clue, but let me be clear; Lovecraft’s racism saddens me deeply, and I do not share it. I bring this up because I’m setting a story in early 19th century England, and trying to write in the style of that time, and I’m presenting the reactions of people of that time and place to foreigners. I try to go no farther than I absolutely have to, but people do like to impute a writer’s attitudes by holding up characters as an example.
On a final note, I’ll admit to there being an element of hubris at work here as well. The initial inspiration for this story was a bit in the middle of Sheridan le Fanu’s The Room at the Dragon Volant which is marvelously weird on its face… but for one who spent a childhood in the 1970s getting very angry with Scooby Doo’s approach to the supernatural, it felt like a big fat cheat when the truth of it was unveiled. I wrote this story in part to get the taste of that out of my mouth.
I will still bow to le Fanu, generally. I know my place.
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