Control: Teenage Nightmare Chronicles…
I, Dalton Lewis, novelist extraordinaire, wrote a particularly dark and ambitious horror novel — one about a lot of the issues affecting America today. It’s called Teenage Nightmare Chronicles. I put it out Thursday or so and no one has read it. No one! I worked like crazy on it and it has done nothing so far.
The novel’s creation started in 2011 or so. I sat in a friend’s second bedroom where I lived — two living arrangements ago. I decided to write a nasty horror novel with whatever horror elements I could toss into a story. I would write each chapter with a different victim of a slasher killer and develop that character and how and why that character would die.
It didn’t work at first. I didn’t make the dying characters sympathetic enough — I was vicious to them. I included rapists, players, drug addicts, drug dealers, and people who were not liked by the audience. The first character, Mac, was a stud who dated countless women and was killed by a woman as a revenge for all of his conquests. It didn’t work yet — I needed to make him sympathetic.
I rewrote the opening. Mac became a boyfriend in a committed relationship with a girl, Megan, who would show up later in the story. He would try to be a good boyfriend to her instead of just being a creep who sleeps around. The audience cares more about Mac and Megan and their relationship.
How does one write a novel, over and over, and spend eleven years on it? I didn’t write exclusively that book or anything, but I came back to it regularly during the years between 2011 and now. I grew as a writer — learning to develop scenes and characters and build storylines.
That’s the biggest change in the story — it develops character arcs for its characters. A character is framed and replaced and must prove it. Another character has a mental health breakdown and must learn how to tell what is real and what is not. Another character loses friends and has to deal with the regrettable consequences.
I tried to cram everything amazing into one book — sex, violence, wonderful people, difficult problems, everything. I included a teen television show with the young actresses having adventures and living their glamorous lives and contrasting the television reality with the reality of their lives. I wanted their lives to be difficult and dramatic.
Paranoia about getting framed is a core part of who I am in real life — due to the paranoid schizophrenia. Novel writing is a way of expressing that, and I included a scene early on in the book in which someone is framed brutally. I wanted to show a reality in which horrible things actually happen to people — I didn’t want to pull my punches in this book.
I wrote a novel about which I am very proud — and no one will give it a chance. That’s a shame. I want someone to take a chance on it. It’s an interesting book.
Thanks, and take care, friends.