Last month the Short Fiction Writer’s Guild (SFWG) posted a review on their website of my story that won their 2014 flash fiction contest. You can find my winning entry on my website if you would like to read it. Today they posted the interview they did with me. I am honored to be asked about my writing viewpoints and I hope that my answers will help any writers needing encouragement with their own flash fiction.
I learned a lot about myself while answering these questions. I never once considered writing a horror story even though the theme was evil Christmas. It seems that many other writers took that route and that made me question why I don’t equate evil with horror. When I think of evil I think of Voldemort from Harry Potter, The Emperor from Star Wars, and Hydra from the Marvel universe. None of these books and movies are horror stories but yet they prove that evil lurks everywhere, from children’s books to comics.
The one thing I tried and failed to do was write about an evil Santa. And I really tried. No matter what story I started I could not make him evil and have him still be Santa. If he acted evil then he wasn’t acting like Santa so he wasn’t actually Santa. I only had a thousand words and could not really create a believable story about an imposter Santa. But it led me to a new question, do I stereotype my characters?
If I can’t make Santa evil can I make my detective a regular guy with a loving family? Can I make my bad guy so sympathetic that the reader forgives him of his crimes? Can I take any character and make them the opposite of what people expect? I don’t know. I like to think that my characters are original but that is probably not true. There are few truly original characters. All of our favorite fictional people are modeled after someone else, either consciously or unconsciously.
I am plotting out a multi-book series that takes the Avengers and sets them in a King Arthur-like world. They will each have roles fitting for that time but I am not going to hide the plagiarism. What I hope is that even if the similarities are there that the characters will be original for the story and the setting. So in the end it is okay if I can’t make Santa evil. What is important is that I make my characters believable and so intriguing that the reader will have no choice but to keep reading.
“Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It’s a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other.” Eric Burdon