C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

'Salem? Short for Jerusalem? Mind blown.

On Reading:

Until I read Wolves of the Calla, (or was it Song of Susannah?) I had no idea that 'Salem's Lot was about vampires. Seriously, I thought it was about witches in Salem Massachusetts. I had a blind spot in my vision for the little comma at the beginning of the freaking title, and clearly in my minds eye as well. How surprised was I that: A. It was a vampire story, and B. It took place in Maine.

But I've always been somewhat of a picky reader when it comes to Stephen King. And I won't say that I intentionally avoided reading his horror books. I was just more interested in novels like the Dark Tower series (fantasy with a post-apocalyptic slant), The Stand, (ok, maybe it's a horror book and maybe I did have nightmares when I read it in high school. But The Stand is Science Fiction meets the ultimate battle of good vs. evil). The Green Mile and Different Seasons were very good stories, but scary, no.

I didn't find The Shining all that scary either. Maybe it's me? Maybe I'm a sociopath?

Then again, maybe not. Because 'Salem's Lot scared the crap out of me.

These days, the vampire genre has grown to insufferable levels, choking the masses, flooding book shelves and TV channels and we're all just sick and tired of it until one day you finally just wish that Flanders was dead.

I'm sure in 1975, 'Salem's Lot was new and exciting and far from glitter, and male models, and all the vampires flocking to Louisianan.

But I think what make this story such a great read and more than just a novelty for its time, had more to do with the development of the characters and less to do with the vampires. Don't get me wrong: there were lots of vampire madness and some really creepy, bloody, and unexpected scenes. But what hooked me was that by the time the shit started hitting the fan, I was emotionally invested in the story. I'd been hanging out with these people in this small town in Maine. It felt like a real place. The story and its inhabitants felt real. I cared about what happened to them. I cared about what happened to the town.

If you've never read anything by Stephen King, this would be a good place to start.

One Writing:

I 'd been binge-writing for a good part of the summer. It's a lot like binge-drinking, only the hangover doesn't hit until you take your notebook full of scribbles and try to make sense of it while typing it all into the computer. I have a lot of content. It's now a matter of finding places to put it.

As far as story progression goes, I'm somewhat at a standstill at the beginning of Part 2. However the development of the characters has gotten a lot better. I feel like they're finally coming into their own. This had been an issue, as I was having a lot of trouble relating to one of the main characters. I think she's now a lot less two-dimensional from where she was during the 1st Draft. So I guess that's progress.