I did it again this weekend. I opened up a blank Word document, got to work on a fresh Lovecraftian piece, and started the same way I always start. By writing the word “I”.
Look, there are plenty of great things about first person, and I’ve written some stories I absolutely love in first person. There’s some great Lovecraftian fiction written from first person out there. But there’s something about when I start a story that way that causes it to fall apart. My problem? It’s so much the style of the original stories that I start wandering down the path of bad habits and bad prose, forgetting that it was the ideas of Lovecraft that have kept him relevant for so long, not the actual style.
I start in with the first person, and after that flows the bizarre adjectives, the purple prose, the over wrought text, that urging temptation to end the story as some sort of final written confessional from a man about to succumb to his own madness. Which means along the way I lose my voice, I lose the character’s voice, and I end up trapped in a world of bad writing.
This is my own personal demon, and I’m aware of that. This post is about me airing the demon out, making myself as aware of it as I can, so that maybe next time I’ll remember before I’ve written a few hundred words that I now hate and will delete to restart in third person when I get home.