Being Human by J. Lincoln Fenn
I’d like to welcome J. Lincoln Fenn to my blog today. She’s the author of the excellent Poe, which you can find by clicking the cover
About 50 pages into my novel I realized I was screwed—royally. And I had no one but myself to blame.
I’d pitched a horror novel—evil spirit, demons, gore…galore—which had attracted the attention of a publisher that loved the concept, but when I started writing this wonderfully snarky character emerged that seemed to have a mind of his own. And he wasn’t a hero. Nor did he sparkle. In fact, he could sometimes be a bit of an ass. But he had things to say, funny and occasionally wise things. It wasn’t until about page 40 that I remembered oh yeah, there’s supposed to be some satanic shit and a ghost or…something.
I almost thought about scrapping and starting from page one because I didn’t know how to blend these two seemingly anti-thetical tones—how do you land a joke in one chapter and trigger a shiver in the next? I’d seen it done in film a few rare times—Sean of the Dead, Zombieland—but not so much in novels. Nothing deflates tension as quickly as making light of it, which is probably why It isn’t known for making wisecracks before it teaches kids how to float.
Netflix to the rescue. Desperate for something different to watch, I landed on the BBC’s Being Human and found a workable horror/humor/human model. Being Human made the paranormal…normal, with relatable characters and plots that easily arced between an evil vampire takeover and a werewolf nervous about what to cook for his first date. When scenes were domestic, or funny, or exploring humanity through the eyes of paranormal characters, nothing serious happened. But when lives were at stake (or about to be staked), no jokes were allowed in. I think I watched the entire season three times. Okay, maybe four.
The result was POE, which people have called quirky and sardonic, and likened to the lighter flavor of horror like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural. I’ll take that. But I have to give props where props are due, and I don’t think I would have dared to take a stab at comedic horror without seeing it done as brilliantly as Being Human.
Thanks to J Lincoln Fenn for popping in, you can learn more about her and her work at her blog: HERE.