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My Movie-Buff Literary Stalker

Guest Post for GetWordy on the Literary Stalker Blog Tour. Thanks to Laura James for hosting.


 

When I constructed my literary stalker, Nick Chatterton, I tried to make him unlike myself in many ways – ‘…so people won’t think he’s me’ – as Nick says about his own fictional creation, Jago Farrar. I made Nick thirty-eight, gay, unemployed, with a full head of long hair, borderline personality disorder and a criminal record – none of which apply to myself. I also gave him a different profile as a writer to my own, though there are some similarities (we both wrote horror short stories for small press magazines). But in one particular area I fashioned Nick very much in my own image – I gave him my taste in movies and made him a movie buff.

My own background is art college, film school, and work in broadcast TV and video production as an editor and director; and later I added film and DVD reviewing and feature writing to the skill set. I’ve loved ‘the movies’ since childhood, when I saw films such as Jason and the Argonauts and The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, way back in the early 1960s. Since then my tastes have developed along certain lines, and I’m known as an aficionado of the weird, surreal and offbeat in cinema, a tendency which touches upon art movies, horror and crime, science fiction and metafiction. I also love film noir and intelligent gangster and dark transgressive movies generally. So I bequeathed these interests to Nick, and thus I was able to add another layer to Literary Stalker, where the films Nick uses in his plots and references in his daily life become adjuncts to the storytelling, bouncing the ideas around the text as though in a hall of mirrors…

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Roger Keen on Metacrime and Metahorror

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

My colleagues at Darkness Visible have conducted this with interview with me, concentrating on the metafictional aspects of Literary Stalker and also touching on the broader aspects of ‘self-knowing’ fictionality in film and literature, citing some of my favourite examples:


 

Roger’s new novel Literary Stalker is a psychological crime thriller with horror overtones, but it’s also metafictional – that is, it has self-awareness about its fictionality – and Roger has used the terms ‘metacrime’ and ‘metahorror’ to describe this tendency within the genres the novel occupies. So, we thought we’d ask him explain a little bit more deeply about what he means, and give us some other examples.

Darkness Visible: Literary Stalker involves Nick, a writer who is composing a novel about revenge murders. Is it this layering of novels-within-novels that gives rise to the meta dimension you talk about? And how is this different from a novel taking place in the real world, as oppose to a fantasy, for example?

Roger: Yes, the layering is part of it, certainly, but only one aspect. And Nick indeed does inhabit the ‘real world’, but that ‘reality’ is constantly being called into question by what he does and thinks. As an ‘unreliable narrator’ Nick is in a league of his own! He’s writing his novel – The Facebook Murders – where the characters are effectively his real enemies (he even keeps the same names for the purposes of a first draft), and he gets his alter ego narrator, Jago, to murder them in stylised ways, as in the movie Theatre of Blood.

So his novel is a projection of his wishes, a realisation of the revenge he desires in real life. And as the story progresses, the lines blur, fiction and reality interchange, as Nick is progressively ‘taken over’ by his novel. Which is a very ‘horror’ idea, but because it’s ‘psychological’ rather than ‘supernatural’, it still retains ‘real world’ integrity – at least for most of the time. But throughout there are these ‘nudge-wink’ moments, and towards the end the metafictional undermining and rug-pulling gets stronger, till the twists at the climax which leave you wondering what exactly is ‘real’ and what isn’t.

Read more on Medium.

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