Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I Love Lovecraft, and John J. Miller is Pretty Swell Too

Great article by John J. Miller about H. P. Lovecraft on OpinionJournal .com. I had already liked him for writing about Dungeons & Dragons, Iron Maiden, and being from Michigan (I do quible with his characterization of Joyce Carl Oates. She has written some horror. I remember a short story by her that was particularly gripping, at least at the time). Now he's taken it to a whole new level by writing about Lovecraft. Lovecraft is one of horrors greatest - a true master. I found reading "The Colour Out of Space" to be one of the most unexpected, uneasy experiences that I've had as a consumer of fiction.

At the same time, Lovecraft is a trap. His hypnotic style can sway horror-loving new writers to believing that that is how they should write. Not so. His style, which to be fair is very difficult to actually emulate, tends to lead to what editors call "overwriting" or "purple prose." I know. I've been there. If you have the Lovecraft writing disease, the only known cure is a red pen and a cold soul. You must be ready to cut. Seriously, though, Lovecraft is to be cherished, and I love Miller for pointing that out, but beware of using his work for anything other than enjoyable reading.


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