THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY HOSTED ON SUBSTACK
Welcome to the Newsletter!
This one will be a little different than what I have planned going forward, but thanks for checking it out.
Why a Newsletter? (and why now?)
Author newsletters are the lit world’s standard, and Substack makes that process a lot easier than running a traditional email listserv. So instead of running a listserv, I’m going to try out running a monthly (as it is currently planned anyway) newsletter here.
As far as why now: I’m early in my writing career, having just had my first short story accepted for publication. I’m hoping that this space can become an accountability tool as much as a genuine place for delivering updates and other tidbits. Writing often and in many different ways is a key way to hone the craft, so that’s part of what I hope to do here.
So here is the first edition of my newsletter! I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for reading.
- In October my short story “Key to the Heart” won the Author Shoppe’s Scary Story Contest. You can read the story here: https://billyloperhistory.com/short-stories/a-short-story-key-to-the-heart/
- In December my short story “Anatomy of a Waterfall” was awarded 3rd place in the Tishomingo Arts Council’s 2022 Fall Writing Competition. It was then selected to for publication in the 2023 Edition of THE VIEW FROM WOODALL.
I’m currently working my way through an edit of my current manuscript, a sci-fantasy series focused around a library. I’m planning to get it to a copyeditor by mid January.
Outside of that, I’m also working on a horror novella and a sci-fi story unrelated to my other manuscript. Those are both on pause until January.
Lately I’ve been working my way through THE FAR MERIDIAN, a magical realism audio drama focused on mental health and trauma. (Check it out here: https://www.whisperforge.org/thefarmeridian). It’s a fantastic show that is as thought provoking as it is genuinely charming. For me, audio dramas are hit and miss as a format, but this one has been an absolute hit. But it, combined with my read throughs of Stephen King’s THE INSTITUTE and a friend’s manuscript, has me thinking about theme in the context of different genres.
THE FAR MERIDIAN is a deeply introspective and emotionally powerful story, while THE INSTITUTE is a thriller mostly focused on fast paced action and shocking revelations (a standard for most King stories, to be sure), and my friends manuscript (which I will be providing no plot details for out of respect for him) is an absurdist comedy. Yet all three of these works focus a lot on repressed trauma in one form or another. The different genres of these stories lend themselves to different explorations of this topic, each does it with the reverence and respect it deserves.
Far Meridian focuses on the ways that unexplored trauma can fester in unexpected and unseen ways. Kings’ Institute spends most of its page count exploring the institutional exacerbation of trauma and oppressive unforeseen forces. My friend’s manuscript explores generational expectations and the trauma it imposes. Each of these stories are different from one another in almost every way except the underlying theme of trauma and what it means to the characters. Genre does not, after all, define theming.
I don’t know how I ended up going through three stories with a similar theme at the same time, but it has ended up topical to my own writing as I work through one of my own characters with PTSD. I’m a discovery writer, so as of now I have no real idea where this character will head in the coming sequels to my current project, but I know their past and their trauma will play a major role. All of these works have shown me that, regardless of the direction in style and tone the sequels of this project take, there will be a way to tackle this trauma in a respectful and accurate way.
There’s not much detail I can go into here beyond that (I don’t like to reveal details about my stories until they refinished and settled). I can say that all of those stories handle the theme well, and I hope to do the same.
Check out THE FAR MERIDIAN and THE INSTITUTE. They’re both worth your time.
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter.
Check out my website: billyloperhistory.com
Check me out on Twitter at: PineyWoodsHIS
Check me out on Facebook at: Billy Don Loper-Fiction