I’m going to write about a short story I’ve just submitted for consideration for publication.
It’s set in a supernatural world, with the ‘creatures’ in that world being fairly classical ones.
There’s always the chance people will think I’ve jumped on the bandwagon merely because the genre is popular, but I promise I’ve not just seen a crowded market place, and decided to yell out “Me too!”
Although I much prefer science fiction to either fantasy or supernatural as a default, there is a lot of fiction that’s well written in both of those genres.They all tend to be grouped together, as they tend to be stories of larger than life adventures, and each tends to deal with fears and moral issues in an abstract way.
I spent a large amount of my youth watching the Buffy and the X-Files (which is generally more supernatural than sci-fi, despite the presence of the over-arching alien plotline) love Being Human, Dracula (the novel rather than any adaptation) and enjoy what I’ve seen of Supernatural.
Though the ‘supernatural’ genre isn’t my favourite, I have a relatively strong familiarity with it.
Any genre will develop problems over time, problems which become part of it’s mainstream – part of the appeal to some, part of the problem to others. To me, a major problem of the supernatural genre is that once terrifying creatures have been made safer through familiarity and irony, with heroes quipping as they cockily fight monsters weaker than themselves.
It makes sense that, when constructing a fictional society, not all of those with monstrous abilities will be scary, and some will be quite pathetic, even humorously so. (I’m thinking in particular of the vampires Willy in Buffy, and Regus in Being Human – you may have to look up those names to remember them.)
It’s not really an outright criticism, particularly as Being Human is probably more of a sitcom than it is a drama, but it undermines vampires in the communal imagination.
I’ve tried to create an intensity to the characters that should hopefully restore the familiar and comfortable creatures to something similar to the impact they originally had (and the impact they’d have in real life).
When a genre is as well-developed and mainstream as the supernatural genre currently is, a load of tropes will be used in a variety of ways.
Having a character, or characters, strike back against the creatures, hunting them down, is a common idea. The tradition goes back from the Winchester brothers, Buffy, Mulder and Scully, even as far back as van Helsing. It gives the story a sense of agency, that the characters have the possibility of overcoming.
Two partners, hunting supernatural creatures is a pretty common set-up – it leads to the possibilities of debate and interpersonal conflict, while still giving the sense of being relatively alone against the beasts.
The motivation to write, way back at the start of March, was an idea that popped into my head – what if one of these sets of creatures were to hunt another, to consider themselves superior, less dangerous, while the other must be destroyed, for the benefit of all forms of Humanity?
The rest flowed relatively easily from there (at least, easily by my standards) with the sense of moral ambiguity and tension coming about quite naturally as I wrote.
That is, in essence, my motives and inspiration as I wrote the short story, which I’ve now completed, and have today sent off to a magazine to be considered for publication.
I think my story has an interesting set of protagonists, a strong conflict, and a sense of humour that doesn’t undermine the terror of the two types of creature.
I’ve also decided on a title, which I couldn’t settle on until a few days after I’d finished writing – The Eternal Hunt. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I’m relatively confident of it being published somewhere eventually – any news I receive will be updated here on the blog.