Thirty-six hours, more or less, to the end of 2016, and as the accumulated fatigue of a very hard year is on the brink of crashing on my back and squash me, I’m busy doing something Man was not meant to do, to wit, writing a humorous story with a Lovecraftian theme, and a 36 hours deadline, with the sole support of abundant hot tea and a tin box of butter cookies.
What can I say – I like humor, I like Lovecraftian stories, and the money is good.
The money would be good, actually, because I have to finish my story first, and then the editor has to accept it.
It’s a gamble, but a fun one1.
And really, crashing through the second half of 2016 to land on this New Year’s Eve, the spirit is pretty crumpled, and I’m having a hard time being humorous, or funny.
But work ethic and professionalism and all that.
What I am trying to do (I’m one third through my story right now) is a screwball comedy sort of thing.
I have a solid couple as leads – basically modeled on Dick and Dora Charleston, as portrayed by David Niven and Maggie Smith in Murder by Death.
And yes, those were a spoof of Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man we mentioned two days back2, and the basic concept has already been adapted to the horror/comedy genre with Frank & Sadie Doyle, from the Beyond Belief segments in Thrilling Adventure Hour.
So I’m not doing anything original here – I’m basically fulfilling my desire to write something like Beyond Belief, and make it pay.
But I’m tweaking things a bit.
Is it possible to do comedy in a truly Lovecraftian universe?
Is it possible to make the thing both comedic and scary?
Is it possible to do horror, and comedy, and still show healthy, compassionate characters that know they are living in a vastly indifferent universe?
These are the buttons I’m trying to push while writing what hopefully could be the first outing of Steve & Lavinia Throckmorton (there’s an Elizabethan angle, you see), a.k.a. Throck and Vinny.
The story is set on the English/Welsh border, in an old mansion, on Winter Solstice night, 1932.
I’m trying to have the dialogue carry the story, and I have three set-pieces with two interludes and a climax, for a total of roughly 6000 words.
The story is tentatively called Unspeakably Indifferent, and it’s hard going, but fun.
One way or another, it will be finished by tonight at midnight, and I’ll revise and send it tomorrow morning.
Wish me luck.