On Before the Cult

On Before The Cult : Influences

It’s been four weeks since the release of Before the Cult. I feel it has been enough time for you guys to read it and ponder on it. This a first post of many posts on Before the Cult which will be released in the next weeks, preferably on every Friday. I will be posting on various subjects related to the novel – everything from influences, characterization and themes. My hope is that these posts will help you appreciate the book a whole lot better and fuel some conversation. I will also tackle some of the questions in the back in a way I believe the novel intended portray. This does not mean your interpretations are invalid or my word is absolute. As far as I am concerned every interpretation works as long as it does not contradict itself or the whole, this is a piece of art so it should allow for some freedom. I am also looking forward to learning from you in all of this. Some posts might actually spoil the story for you if you haven’t read the book, on posts that I believe there is a higher possibility of the story being spoiled I will warn you. Now, I believe we are good, let’s jump into the first post.

Origins of Before the Cult

There are there distinct moments in writing Before the Cult that shaped what the book would be and what the book would be doing. Moments of inspiration perhaps? I don’t know but I can trace a lot of what Before the Cult has become from those moments. I’ll make this post short because already the introduction was long.

Moment One

My first year at university I took English Literature as one of my subjects. One of the things we did was study some post-modernist literature. I remember that morning when I walked out of the last lecture on Paul Auster’s City of Glass, I told my friend that I was going to write a novel, that something about that lecture had inspired me. I didn’t tell him what but I will tell you now. Before then my writing had always followed a tight formula or structure : you had in your stories a beginning, conflict, climax, resolution, and the end all tied together by one premise or another (in simple terms a beginning, middle and end). A lot of work went into each step, it required its own work and further elements to be tweaked and dealt with – you should have seen my graphs and the multiple sheets that I scattered on my table each time I had to write, ahh…it’s harrowing (I get the shakes from just thinking about it). It was so engraved in my mind that it made my writing process and the experience of it frigid and rigid. I even got to a point that the whole process drained my juices. That lecture made me realize that you didn’t have to follow a rigid path or formula and you would still be able to put your message through. This new sense of freedom, led to a lot of experimentation and tweaking with how I wrote and how I dealt with my premises. I began writing to create a piece of art that breathed and flourished into what it wanted to be, from then my stories began taking a form and a life of their own (as far as I was concerned all the chiseling I was doing before was overboard and seeped the live and color out of everything I wrote). For the first time in a couple in years I was inspired to write something honest, something that gave an experience and something that would be its own. It was that sense of freedom that gave me a primitive idea of what Before the Cult would be. Thinking of it now, the idea is quite different to what the book turned out being.

In the next posts I will speak of a second influence/origin, this time it will be dark and revealing. Expect to learn a lot about the ghastly conditions that gave Before the Cult a purpose.

Thank you for reading.
Sandy Masia.

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