George Straatman's Blog - Posts Tagged "super-natural-thriller"

With the release of Abjection along the Road to Apotheosis, I can now concentrate on my next project. The second segment of the Journey Series is slowly making its way to the various e-book retailers and will hopefully be available for all platforms in the next week. Here is a link to its Barnes and Noble page:

As I’ve mention in previous updates, I’ve decided to return to my horror roots for my next novel. In the Circle of the Witch is a unique offering for me as it represents a rather extreme departure from my customary creative process. The previous five novels in my catalogue were written in one continuous process, each over a span of a year or so. The opening chapters of In the Circle of the Witch were first penned in the spring of 1990 and I have added to those chapters, in intermittent spurts, on several occasions over the last twenty-two years. Distractions from other projects kept compelling me to set the novel aside (though always with a strong sense of regret and yes, even a measure of guilt). Recently, however, I decided to take a break between completing Abjection and the concluding volume of the fantasy epic, A Fallible Goddess and the Enduring Sorrow. To fill my time, I further decided that it was well past time to put paid to a lingering obligation and finish In the Circle of the Witch, and I have been devoting myself to exactly that over the last few months.

The creative process really is a subjective and in many ways, mystical mechanism. I am what would best be described as an intuitive writer…and this might well account for my preference of eschewing all the many technological marvels that are available to writers, and writing the entire first draft with a pen and paper. My characters speak to me most clearly through this medium and I always trust the deeper instinct that provides me with the many course adjustments that my novels take while making their way from my creative well spring to paper. Very often, I sit down with no clear notion where I want a segment to go, but as I begin to write, I find myself moving in a very specific direction. On other occasions, I’ll begin a session with a clear sense of direction, but that inner voice will urge me in an entirely (sometimes diametrically opposite) direction. For those who are not creative by nature, I’m sure this must seem like so much nattering blather. For those who have been formally schooled in creative writing and subscribed to the rigid dogma of character outlines, chapter outlines and detailed story outlines before the first word of a novel is committed to paper, this might also sound like nonsense…and a prescription for a poorly written, rambling, if not incoherent, mess of a novel.

If so, so be it. As the old adage goes…there are many ways to skin a cat (a rather sick adage, really). My stories tell themselves and I merely provide services as a scribe.

I’ve always held to the notion that a truly great horror story requires a fully-realized, three dimensional antagonist; someone (or something) whose motives and objectives are clearly defined. In the case of Amathera (Circle’s antagonist, though that label may be something of a misnomer), I had come to understand her purpose…but never her motivations. Through the many stops and starts in this novel’s genesis, Amathera remained a nebulous, elusive figure and that caused me no small degree of consternation, believing, as I do, in the need for a knowable antagonist.

Every novel…indeed, every story, regardless of the medium through which it is told, has a critical moment…that chapter that can potentially make or break the story…that defines the novel’s viability. I realized that I was approaching this critical moment when I sat down to write the pivotal chapter that would expose Amathera and bring her, kicking and screaming, into the light. To demonstrate just how intuitive this type of creative process is, I really had no idea that this character would be named Amathera. Through the first 450 pages of the novel, she carries a very different name…one very appropriate for the character she has evolved to become. As this pivotal chapter unfurled, I began to see that this antagonist was not, in truth, a villain in the traditional sense, but rather a character, whose actions were ostensibly villainous, but whose motivations were…less easily condemned. In Divining Amathera, and travelling her revelatory road, I discovered the disturbing seeds of manifesto…her driving motivations were extreme incarnations of my own notions and perspectives. An unsettling thought to be sure, given what she is attempting to do in the novel…this is a novel about end of the world cultism, after all.
The creature revealed at the conclusion of this critical chapter was the polar opposite of what I had first envisioned her to be, when I first started writing this horror tale twenty-two years ago. Succumbing completely to this intuitive process of allowing this character develop without forethought or predisposed intent, I followed Amathera from her birthplace in Pella, Macedonia, during the era of Alexander, to the small, fictitious town of Quinsett, Washington…where she would attempt to engineer the extinction of humanity. The character’s transition (and the catalyst for this shocking transformation) seemed to materialize out of thin air as the words marched purposefully across the page. For me, this is the true beauty and mystery of creative writing. I suspect this is also the way that characters are transformed from mere story constructs to meaningful, tangible beings (each endowed with their own individual scope and personality) for the writers who create them.

Hopefully, readers, who enjoy In the Circle of the Witch, will come to perceive Amathera in the same light.
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Published on August 10, 2012 06:06 • 91 views • Tags: george-straatman, new-horror, super-natural-thriller, the-creative-process