Get ready, folks. It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any of my writing on this blog, and this particular story’s not for the faint of heart. This is Pretty Birds, a semi-literary horror/crime story that I completed as a final year university creative writing assignment. It later got published in the 2014 edition of a Melbourne based anthology called [Untitled] and was depicted in the cover artwork. As of April 1st, the rights I sold to [Untitled] have lapsed back to me and, with that happy news, it’s time to grant this story its well-deserved place on the blog alongside everything else I’ve written.
First, some background:
Pretty Birds is pretty much the only significant piece of writing I did in 2013 aside from working on my second novel and, given that it was a university assignment, it’s probably the most outwardly literary, symbolic thing I’ve written. Oddly enough, it’s the only thing I’ve ever written that followed a plan and went through more than three drafts. Due to its sensitive subject matter (it’s attempting to depict the stereotypical horror movie serial killer in a serious, sympathetic manner) it proved more difficult to write than the straight genre fiction I usually occupy myself with. First and foremost, though, it’s still a horror story, and — just like much of my other writing — it’s main purpose is to shock and disturb you.
When I wrote Pretty Birds, I was trying to prove to my university lecturer that horror can be subtle and literary, and doesn’t always have to be about gore. The “horror” in this story is designed to be of the “slow burn” variety, only dawning upon the reader at the very end. It’s not a style I usually play with, but I think in this case it worked out well.
Download the PDF of Pretty Birds here.