Trap? The trap is called the Kevin Smith trap, and what inspired me to write this piece is Kevin’s body horror film called Tusk. Basically, it’s about a guy anatomically turning another guy into a walrus. Are you disgusted yet? Good.
How does this relate to writing? Well, I can imagine that once you become a successful writer, you become bored and you want to diversify. It happens to directors, it happens to actors, it happens to authors. Challenge yourself. Expand your horizons. Which is why it’s not uncommon to see authors suddenly branch into new areas and domains of writing, exploring new possibilities. I know I’ve already done some of that, not that I’m famous or successful. Well, I’m playing the humble card here, so.
After writing some classic, magic-salted grimdark fantasy, I decided to try a fresh new spin. No magic, gunpowder, tons of humor. Then, I veered into the zombie space, writing in first person, something that I never do. Lastly, just a few weeks ago, I completed a book taking place in the Biblical times, with dragons and whatnot. Diversify, keep yourself entertained and challenged.
But then, you exhaust your pool of normal, socially acceptable topics, and you start considering all the crazy, morbid, ugly stuff you dread or dislike, and you wonder if you’re man enough – or a woman – to attempt writing about something you detest, to see if you can create another Thomas Covenant. The only question is, is the price worth it? What happens to your audience? What happens to you?
If you ask me, every author should have their red line, their arch-nemesis, their one topic they must never grapple. It keeps them in check, it keeps them sharp, and it keeps them focused. Once you cross that gap, nothing good ever comes out. Don’t get too cocky. The words are infinite and immortal, and you, as an author, are not. Avoid the trap, save the walrus, don’t write your own Tusk.