From the back of the desk drawer

When I was at university studying journalism in the late 90’s I enrolled in Literary Theory as an elective. After the first lecture I questioned whether I should drop out of the course. What I really hoped to get out of the course was to learn the art of writing (as if it had a recipe). How wrong I was. The course was all about pulling apart a story, looking for hidden meaning; to examine what the story was saying about the author. I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed.
Until I found The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe in one of the textbooks. Given my own dark musings, I fell in love with that story and its author and my desire to write horror professionally was kicked into first gear.
Thankfully my final assignment for the course was to write a short story and of course I wrote what was essentially my first horror tale.
Entitled Lamentation, the story concerns a young woman who discovers she is carrying the child of her narcissistic lover – a child that is the reincarnated soul of a man her lover supposedly killed a year before.
While searching my old CDs I found this story and gave it a re-read. It certainly wasn’t the best story in the world, but it was my first after all. My initial thought was to put the CD and the story back in the drawer, but then I wondered if I could improve it, by giving it a rewrite. I’m still in process of doing that and maybe it will see the light of day soon.
This also got me thinking about another story lying neglected in my drawer – a thriller novel entitled The Passion Play, which I wrote before I went to university. As the name suggests, the book is about a serial killer who  forces his victims to relive the last moments of Christ. It might be a little bit too religious, but I wonder if it might be worth revisiting as well. A professional manuscript appraisal thought the story would be worth the revision so why not?
I guess that begs the question – what unpublished stories do you have lying in your drawer and would you ever consider bringing them out of the dark for the world to see?

About darkscrybe

Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia. Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications). He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013. He is also the current President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association. Greg lives in Rockhampton with his wife and their two daughters. * Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)
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2 Responses to From the back of the desk drawer

  1. I've never actually “given up” on any of my stories, so any I've written are just in a transition stage. They will end up being reworked someday, because I still like many elements within them. 🙂

    So go ahead and tear apart your old works, salvage what you can from that first draft, and make it awesome!


  2. Greg Chapman says:

    I think you're right Ashlee, they are simply in transition, waiting for me to grow more as a writer. Again it would be much worse to simply throw it away.

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