Sunday, April 04, 2010

Universal appeal

For me, the werewolf has always been the Universal werewolf, poor Lawrence Talbot getting bit, turning into a wolf, and finding to his horror that even death wasn’t enough to save him from his curse, the curse of infinite Hollywood sequels. It came as something of a surprise to me to find out that there even was another lore about werewolves, back when I first encountered the novel Xxxx Xxxx by Xxx Xxxxxxx. In that book he presents four other legends, if I recall correctly, none of which had anything to do with bites or full moons. In fact he was rather caustic about Universal and the movies, which kind of annoyed me. I loved the old Universal monsters, even if they were constantly coming back from the dead for no known reason. Van Helsing, rebooting the whole franchise, so to speak, is one of my favorite movies.
So when I got around to writing my own werewolf novel, it was only natural I turn to the Universal model. Instead of lifelong curses or magic belts, it has people, cursed bites, and all the drama-y pathos and angst which I, as a character-driven reader and author, most care about. And in case you’re wondering, I did get around to writing a werewolf novel.

The original idea for St. Martin’s Moon came to me in a bookstore, where I saw a book with the title ‘Blood Moon’, and I thought, “Hey cool, a werewolf attack on a lunar colony!” (I actually did think that, by the way.) Of course it wasn’t, but then I thought, “Hey! I’m a writer. I can do that.” Really.

It wasn’t that easy, though. I don’t write horror, I write people, and for the story to work for me I had to figure out a way to hopefully cure these guys. Until and unless the money rolls in on this one, in which case I’ll have to think of something clever real quick. In any case, I didn’t figure out what was going on with this story until about two weeks after I’d finished writing it. Thank God for word processors.

It is in every other way a classic werewolf story, with a hero who does nothing, werewolves as a victimized underclass, and the most effective person in the story has been dead for four years. And of course it answers the most important question of all: Why the Moon?
No, I’m not going to tell you now.


Helen Ginger said...

You tease! Seriously, it's interesting to read how you came up with the book premise and how it developed (and even continued to develop after you thought you were finished with it).

Straight From Hel

Author Guy said...

I found out afterwards that I can't describe the damn thing at all. The story started out as a horror/mystery, and then I realized that I can't really write horror/mystery. But by then I had all these characters wandering around and doing things, so I just followed them around for a while and saw where they went. The book is really a great collection of mostly independent actions performed by various people, mainly because the hero is there. He does relatively little but provokes a great deal. But try fitting all of those little half-threads into a single paragraph summary for a query, or anything else for that matter.