As a writer and story teller, description is life. You can say that “Tom walked into the bar” or you can say “Tom staggered drunkenly into the tavern looking for another pint to satisfy the alcohol fueled odyssey he’d embarked upon.” One gives a very basic idea of some dude walking into the bar while the other paints a little more of a picture. Brevity is the soul of wit and maybe the shorter, more succinct statement is how your story needs to begin. That’s why story telling is an art. As for myself, I’ve been described a few ways over the years. My writing style and narrative voice have been called “elegant horror” while my personal style and appearance is often seen as “redneck goth.”
I’ve written dozens of unique and interesting characters over the last fifteen years. From some who ended up being flat and one dimensional to others who feel to me like a living, breathing person just like anyone else I know. The fact that I’m able to create a character, to write a person into existence that previously had never been got me wondering about the way I describe myself. Most of the author blurbs in the ‘zines and sites that have published me all ask for a few lines about the author. You’d think I could come up with something gripping, something that grabs the reader’s attention just as much as the first few lines of one of my stories. Instead, what I come up with usually looks like this:
Dan Lee is an author and horror fan living in a small, Nashville adjacent town.
Really, Dan?! That’s the best you can do?!
Meeting me, knowing me personally in some face-to-face setting, I’m boisterous with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, and usually a wealth of strange, interesting facts that can turn any party into a par-tay! if you know what I mean. But ask me to write a sentence about myself and I come across as the most boring, flat, and uninteresting person who ever walked the earth. I mean, honestly, I’ve seen cuts of meat in a deli flier described with more zest and passion than I write about myself and I think it’s all because Tom went to the fucking bar. I write my stories and share my characters with people because I love these creatures I’ve created. To me, they’re as real as anyone else you could ever meet. As a person, though, I’m very much the type who just wants a quiet night at home with a few friends. That’s my comfort level. I try to make the focus of my writing my writing and not the author. I’d love to see my name in print, to see it up on a best seller list or in the credits of a movie under the words inspired by the stories of. I want my stories to have that sort of huge, incredible life of their own.
As for me, I’d like to sit back and enjoy them just as I have since I was a teenager with a borrowed typewriter making terrible fan fiction and sci-fi.
Still, I’m working on a better personal description for the next time I’m published. Something that feels a little more like cool horror nerd and less like wet cardboard.
Somewhere in between walking into the bar and embarking on a drunken odyssey.
A better brief description of me.