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Follow your bliss

Just watched William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe.” Super intense, violent, disturbing, award winning play lovingly translated into even more up-in-your-face movie. Incredible perfomances by all the cast. Riviting. Dark on par with Blue Velvet.

But the real reason I am writing about this film is the making-of short where the actors and William Friedkin talk about the damn-the-torpedos, do what you really want to do attitude that allowed them to explore this twisted little story with such depth. I found it positively liberating.

Not that I am recommending we all go out and write about oversexed murderers. But I often find myself worrying that I am going to go down some dark path with a story that will lose my audience, that there is a line beyond which is going too far, even if it is exactly right for the story. To hear a master director like Friedkin say each story deserves whatever it takes, that his job is not just to “interest” you but to “surprise” you, I found a breath of fresh air.

I recommend the film and the short to any writer who ever worries about going over the line.

My doubts are of course based on not really knowing who my audience is or will be. I am after all just starting a writing career. I have always felt I owe it to my characters to let them go wherever they need in order to deal with what I have thrown at them. Reviewers have commented that I have crossed the line a few times. But I’m not going to let that worry me anymore. I write thrillers and horror. If it doesn’t disturb you at least a little, then I’m probably not doing my job.

Categories: Writing
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