Remember the time I told you about the girl I killed and buried so that another one could emerge in her place? One who looked and sounded like her, but was disdainful of all of the things the first one believed in?
Writing horror/gore comes easily to me not because I’m never scared, but the opposite. That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always scared; there’s always a boogeyman under my bed. It’s easy to write about the familiar.
I have participated in the A to Z Challenge once before, in 2014. Afterwards, I was so drained that I swore, Never again! and quit writing for a month or so. And yet, here I am. For me, this year the challenge is not just about coming up with 26 different posts for each day of the month. It is about something else as well. The more challenging “unfamiliar territory”, if you will.
Last year, when I read around 80 books (which is the highest number for any single year that I’ve been reading) I read a lot of romance. One that stands out, and will definitely stand out for a long time, is The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. When I read it, it seemed like a simple enough story of someone who had loved and lost. The events do not occur chronologically. The chapters are written in alphabetical order.
Later I realized I was wrong in much of my review. The more I thought about it, the cleverer the book seemed. It gives us glimpses of a relationship. These glimpses actually allow us to construct this relationship for ourselves. There is heartbreak, yes. The story is told from a single heartbroken point of view, also yes, but that is enough. The story is so beautiful. We’re given so little to work with and we end up creating and interpreting the rest.
All through these years, I’ve maintained that I cannot write romance. That it’s the most difficult genre for me to write. Romance isn’t easy to write because our emotions cannot always be captured in words. Which is why this minimalist technique (that looks deceptively simple, in spite of being complex) works in making the reader feel what isn’t expressed in words. In this case, the book definitely owes much to Levithan’s skill.
For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m going to attempt something similar in the genre that I have stayed away from ever since I buried the girl with the notebook. And I’m going to employ the technique that Levithan used in his book – of giving you brief snippets from the story with events occurring at random.
Wait, I’m not done. What’s the other thing that I like as much as I like books? Music. The posts will be named after alternative/indie/progressive rock songs – songs I’ve loved, liked, sang in the shower, cried to, being comforted by (and two classic rock songs that I hate (but they fit)). Because no story is complete without a good background score!
So here’s my theme: Minimalist Fiction (shall we add On the Rocks to that?)