Blogs by Joel Arnold
9/20/2011 6:32:02 AM
I wrote the majority of my novel Death Rhythm when I was in my early twenties. It was my first novel, and I didn’t really know at first if I had it in me.
It started with a vivid dream I had of being in an attic and discovering a locked metal box. I opened the box and found a pair of drumsticks and an old medal on a ribbon – an award for a drum competition that someone named Evelyn had won. Also in the box was a small piece of paper with a childish drawing of a snarling face, beneath which was written “Look out for Big Ed.” Though the drawing was simple, it was incredibly frightening. I also knew that the ‘Ed’ in the picture was female – an ‘Edna’. I knew that something bad had happened to Evelyn, and I knew that whatever this bad thing was had occurred at the hands of Edna.
That was my dream, and it stuck with me for a long time. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There was so much mystery contained in it. So I started to write a novel, trying to figure out what had happened.
I wrote it in starts and stops. Scenes came to me:
A guy walking over a narrow trail toward an old graveyard, autumn leaves crunching beneath his feet.
A beheaded cat swinging from a tree.
A teenage girl playing with corpses as if they were dolls.
Gravestones covered in blood.
A giant dream-phallus crushing someone against the ceiling like an insect.
And most importantly; a girl banging on an old field drum to drown out the maniacal ravings of her older sister – of Big Ed.
Yeah, I had a bit of a morbid imagination. I guess I still do.
I’d write a scene, and then maybe a month later, write another. I plotted as I went along, unsure of where the story was taking me. Eventually it started coming together.
I thought of it as a horror novel, but after it was finished and other people read it, they labeled it different things. One reader considered it psychological suspense. Someone else thought it was a mystery. Whatever anyone wants to consider it is fine by me. Hell, I guess you could even say there’s a little romance in it, although if you were to call it a romance, I’d recommend you get counseling.
It’s a short novel, about 65,000 words. I wrote two novels after it that were complete crap and will never see the light of day, and then a few more after that which I do like. But this one is my first born, and I think it has matured rather nicely.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you do like horror (or psychological suspense, or mystery) I hope you’ll give it a chance.
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More Blogs by Joel Arnold
The Sucking Suckathon of Suckiness - Monday, May 21, 2012
Mississippi Pearls and a Car Biding Its Time on the Ice 'til Spring - Thursday, December 29, 2011
One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Racing Minnesota-style! - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This Here Minnesota Horror Author was a Big Old Scaredy-Cat - Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jack the Blob Killer - Monday, December 19, 2011
Death Rhythm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
More Writing What You Know - Monday, September 19, 2011
How I Interpret 'Write What You Know' - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Blessings - or - What I write after having one too many... - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
120 Miles in a Canoe - Monday, June 27, 2011
On Stephen King - Thursday, June 23, 2011
Why Horror? - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Zen & the Art of Swearing - Friday, June 10, 2011
If Coffee Shops were Run by Airlines - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Trying to Figure Out What Scares Me - Monday, March 21, 2011
My Confession - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Going Indie with my novel Northwoods Deep - Friday, March 04, 2011
How I Envision Conflict When Writing - Thursday, March 03, 2011
Wall Drug - why it's one of my favorite places - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Jonesing for a Road Trip - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Snowmapocalyptopalooza - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
How Do You Remember? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
When your parents are librarians... - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The genesis of a novel - the first 6 days - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Searching for Truth - Characterization - Thursday, December 16, 2010
Control - and a little more about Northwoods Deep - Monday, December 13, 2010
Bukowski - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies - Friday, December 03, 2010
Naivete and the Young Writer - Thursday, December 02, 2010
For Writers looking for some Adventure - Wednesday, December 01, 2010
My usual rider for family/friend appearances - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Writing and Me - a dramatization - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day (now with vitamin C!) - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Power of Music - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before - Monday, November 15, 2010
The Care and Feeding of Writers - Sunday, November 14, 2010
Rudiments - Thursday, November 11, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tragedy - now with 50% more pathos! - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Perspective - Monday, November 08, 2010
The Daunting Dauntiness of Tweeting on Twitter - Saturday, November 06, 2010