This moment of introspection came when I was about halfway through my mentor program with the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009. My mentor was acclaimed Melbourne horror author Brett McBean.
It was quite frightening how it all happened; I started thinking about inspiration and somehow the mentor program became something almost metaphysical. Looking back now, I believe the program actually inspired the story.
The Noctuary centres on a man named Simon Ryan, a down and out non-fiction writer. He’s the product of a dysfunctional family, but somehow he managed to discover a talent for writing, which fortunately has supported his future.
But his life takes a strange turn when one night he is visited by one of the Dark Muses, a band of creatures from Hell, whose sole purpose is to torment humanity. Simon is destined to become the scribe for the muses, whether he likes it or not.
The Noctuary is Simon’s account of his journey to becoming that scribe.
While The Noctuary is by no means autobiographical (there are a few connections that I might reveal another time), it’s interesting that I’ve adopted many of the themes from the book as my writing persona.
“Darkscribe” and “Darkscrybe” are the titles I use for my author website and blog. I chose these tags because I feel it makes me easy to identify as a horror author on the web, whether it be on Facebook or Twitter or in forums.
All this brings me back to the concept of inspiration, which is really the backbone of the story in The Noctuary. The main protagonist, Simon is slowly inspired to darkness; he’s inspired by the chance to rewrite his past, not really understanding that the act might just cost him his soul.
By looking within myself, I managed to create a very dark horror tale, not just about inspiration, but also the supposed power of words and their consequences, albeit in a fantastical way.
So where do all my ideas come from – where do I get my inspiration? We all have dark thoughts and dark thoughts are bread and butter for horror writers. I think horror authors are more attuned to hear the darkness inside them and getting those thoughts down on paper is a sort of cathartic release.
In the end it’s all just imagination and mine is just a little darker than most.
Greg Chapman is an author of dark fiction from Australia. His latest horror novella The Noctuary was published by Damnation Books on December 1; his debut novella, Torment was published in March. He’s also had short stories published in The Absent Willow Review, Trembles Magazine, Morpheus Tales and Eclectism E-Zine. His home on the web is www.darkscrybe.blogspot.com. For more information on The Noctuary visit www.wix.com/darkscribe/thenoctuary