The other day, my partner told me that everything I write seems to have a dark, murderous twist in it – basically, everyone and everything dies. Without trying to sound too morbid, it’s true. She receives everything I write, whether it be from a short story competition submission to my full manuscripts, to my 100 Words or Less. There’s always some sort of unexpected turn to it.
That got me thinking…why is it like that? Why do I write such crazy, barbaric things?
And the answer to that is more complex than I first thought.
I’m sure someone would be able to do some sort of deep Freudian analysis on it
. But nobody has the time for that really, do they? No, but in some ways, it does revert back to my childhood. As a child, I used to read Darren Shan books which contained monsters and demons from other worlds, a fantastical element I simply adored. Then, around the age of about 13/14, I read The Shining. Obviously, as anyone may expect at that tender and impressionable age, the book had a lasting effect on me. Concepts and words I’d never come across before were in my face as I read…quite literally!
In addition to all of the above, my mum and dad were – and still are – obsessed with crime programmes like CSI, NCIS, Spooks. From early on I would try and watch it after they’d told me to go to bed – the old adage of wanting something we’re told we can’t have even more after we’re told we can’t have it – but they never let me. But sometimes when they thought I wasn’t paying attention then I’d sneak in a few glimpses.
So I’ve been subjected to all that sort of stuff since I was young. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I like it; it gives me a special voice, makes me fit into a genre of writing etc.
I think there’s also a human flaw that makes all of us like crime and what not. Crime as a genre, whether it be in print or on screen is everywhere and is a massive hit around the world, and I think this is due to some sort of flaw in our psyches that likes to see other people suffer. It’s a bold statement, I know, but it’s just my opinion.
There’s also an element of surprise in it all. And everyone loves a surprise, don’t they?
Take the programme Inside No. 9, for instance. Recently, it has become one of my favourite TV programmes. I once binge-watched the whole three seasons of it on Netflix when I had free time (when I wasn’t writing, and blogging etc) and became engrossed. I then, admittedly, watched my favourites again afterwards.
For those of you who don’t know what Inside No. 9 is, it’s a series of individual episodes, where there’s always some sort of sadistic, dark, humorous, macabre, metaphorical twist at the end. Each episode features something going inside house Number 9. I could talk about it for a while, but I wouldn’t want to bore you – the best way is for you to watch it yourself and find out. It’s also incredibly well written, but that’s enough fangirling for one day.
The reason I am mentioning this is that each episode has me hooked, from start to finish I’m trying to figure out what the ending is or who the suspect is. It’s gripping, and the same effect can be emulated with novels. Which is what I hope to recreate with my work, with the twist-endings and exciting turns in plot.
I’d say that pretty much sums up my writing style, and if I think of anything I will be sure to update you all!
What influences your writing style, I’d love to hear from you.
(NB. – I’ve just noticed how much the Inside No. 9 image above looks similar to the iconic scene of The Shining… If you’re not familiar with that either, then see below.)
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.