Night Visions 7

Night Visions 7
Night Visions 7 (Dark Harvest, 1989)

Every volume of the Night Visions series from Dark Harvest allowed a different editor to ask three writers to come up with 30,000 words each. Stan Wiater recruited Dick Laymon, Gary Brandner, and me for the seventh volume. I wrote a novella ( The Confessions of St. James), a short story, “Blue Notes,” and a tiny short-short with a really long title (“Assurances of the Self-Extinction of Man”), so I really spanned word lengths.

The Confessions of St. James, which was nominated for a Stoker Award, was great fun to write, the tale of a cannibalistic clergyman who takes the concept of Holy Communion a bit too seriously. His fictional church was based on Donegal Presbyterian Church near my home. It has a marvelous old cemetery with graves & tombs dating back to the Revolutionary War.

I think the novella is my favorite length of story when I wrote horror. It really allows you to expand ideas and characterization without necessitating subplots and extra characters that can often make novel-length works lose that intense focus which is so imperative to a mood of terror. It’s too bad there are so few markets for that length of tale…

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