Lee Mather is a horror author from the UK and a fellow Damnation Books scribe. His first short story for DB, The Green Man was released in December, but I’ll let him take it from here:
Exploring My Dark Side.
This Christmas, my brother bought me The Making of the Empire Strikes Back book by J.W Rinzler and Ridley Scott. It’s a beautifully packaged insight into the mechanics of bringing together one of my all time favourite films, with anecdotes of the story’s origins, photo diaries and details of how the plot and key scenes were constructed. I would certainly recommend it as a collector piece for fans of the Star Wars films.
Reading the source material for Empire certainly takes me back. I’ve always found the winter holidays provide the ideal opportunity for some reflection, and this year has been no different. Maybe this is a tad indulgent, and it could be linked to the symbolism associated with the turn of the year, or perhaps the nostalgia associated with Christmas and some of my fondest childhood memories. In truth it might simply be the luxury of having a few days off work and some breathing space from my normal routine.
As an aspiring writer, 2010 has provided me with a boost in what I hope to be the fledgling stage of a much longer career. The Green Man, my first standalone publication with Damnation Books, hit the online stores in December and I approach 2011 with fire in my belly and momentum on my side. This holiday, writing has been foremost in my mind. Notably, in considering the main question I’ve faced recently—“Why do you write?”
Over the years this is something I’ve tried to rationalise, particularly in light of the dark genres I feel comfortable with. The writing itself is what I enjoy most, and the joy of shaping an idea into something worthwhile, of overcoming the challenge of evolving my tangle of thoughts into an actual story, is incomparable. I think this sentiment is deep-rooted, something bizarrely child-like when juxtaposed against the themes I pursue.
So where does this enjoyment come from?
The Empire book reminded me of one my earliest Christmas memories, and I remember my family getting an advance copy of the film on Betamax. A whole bunch of us gathered together on Boxing Day to watch it, none with wider eyes than me. I was a massive Star Wars fan as a kid, a wannabe Luke Skywalker, even to the extent that when my Dad used to flash cars with his headlights we’d pretend we were firing lasers from the Millenium Falcon at them. It didn’t end there for me. I’d collect the toys, relive the films, and then make up my own stories. Sequels to rival the prequels, perhaps? I loved the adventure, the aspirational characters, the heart-in-the mouth pacing. I cared about the outcome.
This love of a good story never left me. The boy playing with his Star Wars toys became the man stealing himself the odd hour or two to wile away at his laptop. Writing is not some tortured escape for me, even though I produce tomes of death and doom and despair. The more I consider it, the more I think writing fiction, for me, is just that same small boy, peeking out into the adult world, looking for the next adventure.
Writing can feel like hard work. It isn’t just about putting words on a page. There are re-writes and submissions and reviews and marketing. It never ends.
I guess my point is that sometimes it’s important to step back and understand why we do what we do. The one thing clear from Rinzler’s book on Empire is that bringing the film to life was more than just work for those involved. It was a labour of love.
Selling stories is functional; a job for many. Writing stories is something else.
The Green Man is available now from Damnation Books and to download for Kindle from Amazon.com.
Find out more about the writing of Lee Mather at http://www.leemather.org.uk or follow his blog at http:\\leemather.livejournal.com.