Joanna Penn, from the Creative Penn, interviewed Martin Lastrapes, author of Inside the Outside, about writing Literary Horror, Cannibals, and Vampires.
There is so much about this interview that I just adore. The earliest topic that captured my attention was Lastrapes’ thoughts on where his novel, Inside the Outside, resides in the categorization of fiction: Literature or Genre. His pain point is one of my very own, which I wrote about on the Sarcastic Muse in a post titled Fiction is not Black and White. The writing style of Lestrapes’ debute novel would be considered Literary, but the content is that of Genre (horror to be specific). What a conundrum to be in! However, Lestrapes seemlessly wraps up the discussion by stating that today you can easily “take a crazy, far out story, but you can present it in a literary fashion”. Thus, the categorization of fiction today falls well within that murky gray scale.
While watching this video, I sort of began to feel like Lastrapes was a male clone of myself (or would I be a female clone of him?). His thoughts and fears of self-censorship and becoming inoculated to your story’s content are two of my biggest fears with my own work. Lastrapes echoed the words that continually run through my mind, “if I write this, people that read it will know that I think these things”. Self-censorship is a hard obstacle to overcome, but if one doesn’t, the writer will hinder his or her own work. I have taken up the latest stance that if I really fear what people think goes on in my head, then I should be writing under a pseudonym — to which I am not. I am knee deep in the realm of writing about cannibalism as well. Hope you all have strong stomachs…
The conclusion to this interview is my favorite part. I am not going to give away spoilers, but Penn basically asks Lastrapes the reason behind why nice people write about such dark material. His answer was Earth-shaking, and not one concept that I had previously thought about for myself.
This interview can very well change, and potentially better, your self-perception of being an author in the realm of Dark Fiction.
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