April 1, 2010 | By: Tracy

Brad Pitt Helped Me Become a Better Writer

One of the things I've learned in writing --  just because you love to read a certain genre, does not mean you were meant to write it! 


I grew up reading Stephen King. A LOT of Stephen King. Why? Because when that man is on his game he can write scenarios so eerie it makes your skin want to crawl into your body to hide. And I was that strange kid who liked being scared by movies, ghost stories, and such. "Nightmare on Elm Street" was one of my favorite movies growing up (though I always cried over what happened to Johnny Depp)  So, naturally, when I first started writing I kept trying to steer my stories towards the "horror" realm. 


Only I quickly discovered a problem -- I SUCK at writing horror stories! Truly. My horror was never scary, so much as melodramatic. Stephen King, even in his nicest moments, would have laughed 'til he had tears in his eyes if he read my early attempts at manuscripts. (This level of suckitude is probably why I never made it to the end of a story before) 

Then, thanks to massive crush on Brad Pitt in the mid-nineties (who am I kidding, I still have a pretty big crush), I can't tell you the number of times I watched "Interview With The Vampire". I worked at a movie theater in those days, so I could see any movie I wanted without paying a penny. Perks!   Although, what started out as an appreciation for Brad's pretty face, turned into a huge fascination with the portrayal of the vampire world Anne Rice had created. I bought all the books in the Vampire Chronicles and devoured them. (To this day Lestat is still my all-time favorite fictional character)


Anyway, what that taught me (smooches for you, Brad) is that while horror was something I really enjoyed reading . . .  paranormal/ fantasy stories, with a bit of a dark edge to them, were the type of ideas my mind could conjure and create without trying to force it -- hence the melodrama disappeared from my writing.  This is the genre that I was MEANT to write in, at least for this stage in my life.


So I'm curious for you all ... What genre do you typically write? And have you always written those types of stories, or did you make a switch as well?


7 witty remarks:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

When I submitted the first draft of my novel for a critique, I was told my style fell into an unknown foggy area that they couldn't put their finger on. Basically they thought there wouldn't be a place on the shelves for it.

They advised me however to work more towards making it women's fiction. They thought I had the right voice for it.

But not without a fight. I wanted it to sway more towards literary, but my writing apparently wasn't good enough for literary, nor simple enough for women's. I tried to make it literary, but I kept slipping into women's by accident - that's when I gave in. I guess it was just meant to be. Now I'm completely comfortable with it.

Tracy said...

That sounds exactly how I felt about realizing my story straddles the fence into romance. I had intended for it to be paranormal, but the high quotient of romance factor I didn't even really see, until some of my betas pointed it out to me.

I give you props, I can't stay high-brow long enough to even attempt literary.

lexcade said...

i started out as purely a fantasy writer. i basically live in other worlds as it is, so i figured putting them on paper would be a good idea.

then suddenly, i drifted into science fiction, with a lot of science involved. i fell in love with the premise of The Island of Dr. Moreau, and i wanted to explore what it'd be like to have one of the experiments tell the story. and then dirge of the desert was born... SF with romantic elements. that's my story. no dragons, no magic, no mystical realms. just phoenix, arizona about 150 yrs from now. and i've never even been to phoenix.

Shannon said...

I started out trying to write chiclit and landed in YA. Go figure. :)

Elliot Grace said...

Hello Tracy...gotta tell ya, no matter what my subject matter may be, or the characters involved, regardless of how I spin it, shrink it, slice it, or re-start it, my work always speaks with a YA voice. Always has...apparently always will:)

SAMUEL PARK said...

My "Brad Pitt" was Brooke Adams in the miniseries LACE. It made me want to tell stories. About her character! I understand what you mean about being inspired by an actor--I often borrow an actor's "voice" when I'm writing. One artist to another, I guess. Thanks for sharing this. Great post.

Mary McDonald said...

I never really thought about what genre I was writing. I had a story I wanted to tell and wrote it. It wasn't until it was almost done that my beta called it a suspense/thriller. I'm still not sure of the genre, but I'm querying as a thriller.

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