Your story has to be about asking questions, not coming up with the right answer or There’s poop on the floor: Laboratory #3.

This is the catalog for episode three of The Laboratory, part of The Outrider Podcast. If you’re not sure what this is, start here.

Episode 3 began with our discussion of our unique failures in handling the last prompt. Jason wrote a paragraph or so and I wrote over 2,100 words of a still unfinished story. Both of us began with a violent event, but neither of us did anything with the heart of the exercise: shifting perspective. (You can read our prompt responses here.)

I think Jason’s work is DOA. I’m going to finish my story. I may have created a universe I can use all the genre, particularly horror, tropes I love but don’t work with regularly.

Even though listening to my rambling feels painful at times, I noticed that my process for “Widdershins” is probably not unique and made me think of that question: “Where do you get your ideas from?” I started with an image, like I always do. It happened to be from a biography about Skip James. This image combined with part of a Hellboy comic I was reading that was influenced by Manly Wade Wellman. All of this then combined with my interests in religion, folklore, and music. And I even used that dull gem: “Write what you know.” I based the whole story in Alabama.

Ideas to write about don’t come to me in the way images do. I do a lot of connecting of images and ideas and hope that something works.

I mentioned my difficulty with straight narrative too much in the episode. After listening, I realized that it’s likely as simple as Jason and I having different problems to solve in our work. I identify more as a poet and I believe he identifies more as a novelist. We have different questions and problems to work through. Even though I couldn’t say that straightforwardly while recording, it may have taken the discussion for me to realize it. I’m glad Jason’s patient. I guess a novelist has to be.

We almost had a discussion on raw lit theory. In the future, it might be fun to read some theoretical essays or book chapters and discuss them in terms of craft.

Here’s the catalog for episode 3:

I’d Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues: Stephen Calt / Oxford American / Robert Crumb / Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others / John the Balladeer / Silver John / Manly Wade Wellman / John Constantine / Alan Moore / Swamp Thing / Derek Ballard / “The Most Dangerous Game” / Duel (1971)  / Predator (1987) / Jaws (1975) / Bram Stoker / Walt Whitman /  Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method: Gerard Genette / Gustav Freytag / Aristotle / Michael Ondaatje / Marcel Proust / Sophocles / Mythologies: Roland Barthes / “The World of Wrestling” / “Rita Hayworth’s Face” / “Greta Garbo’s Face” / Tzvetan Todorov / Mikhail Bakhtin / On Moral Fiction: John Gardner / The Art of Fiction / On Becoming a Novelist / Stanislaw Lem / Sigmund Freud / The English Patient / Treasure Island / Game of Thrones / Breaking Bad / Ulysses: James Joyce / The Dead Zone: Stephen King / Samuel Beckett / Emily Dickinson / War and Peace / Sanctuary: William Faulkner / Richard Chizmar / Cemetary Dance / The Dead Zone (1983) / The Shining / Carrie / Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief  / The Unbearable Lightness of Being / Henry Miller / Catcher in the Rye / John Updike / Woody Allen / “Outage” / “A&P” / Quick Question: John Ashbery / James Tate / James Schuyler / Elizabeth Bishop / Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi / Inside Amy Schumer / T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism: Hakim Bey / Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury / Hunger Games / Lord of the Flies / Josip Novakovich / Henry James / “Hills Like White Elephants” / Foundation Trilogy: Isaac Asimov / Martian Chronicles / Philip K. Dick / HP Lovecraft / Stranger in a Strange Land: Robert Heinlein / L. Ron Hubbard / George Lucas / Star Wars / To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee / One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Ken Kesey / The Thorn Birds / Sylvia Plath / “Daddy” / At the Mountains of Madness / Moby Dick / The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket: Edgar Allan Poe / “The Raven”

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