Monday, June 23, 2014

Writing process blog tour

I was tagged for this blog tour by the wonderful Aaron Gudmunson, who put up his post last Monday. You can read it here. And if you haven't read his debut novel, Snow Globe, I suggest you check it out. Not only is the cover scary enough to induce nightmares, the story itself is one of the best I've read this year. And I read a whole heck of a lot!

For the tour  I'm required to answer four questions and then pass on the torch. So here goes~

1.) What am I working on?

Currently I'm working on my novella, "The Night Air", which will be released in February 2015 by Ragnarok Publications in a four novella anthology--Grimm Mistresses. I'm sharing book space with some extremely talented female authors: CW LaSart, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Allison M. Dickson. The stories are all modern takes on Grimm fairy tales. My story idea came from a half dream/half lucid incident a few years back when my son had pneumonia and spins a new take on "The Pied Piper."

I'm also working on several anthologies I'm editing that should be releasing in the next few months: Fairly Wicked Tales, in which familiar fairy tales are told from the villain's point of view. The scifi/horror blend No Place Like Home: Tales From a Fractured Future whose tales envision what happens when the government controls too much. And the anticipated Demon Rum and Other Evil Spirits anthology, co-edited with Clint Collins. All the stories have alcohol as the central theme.

And a few short stories I'm writing. :)

2.) How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I'm not sure it does differ much. I will say (and probably should not admit it) I don't write deep stories, layered with hidden meaning. I don't write stories that leave you confused and bewildered or wondering if you missed something everyone else got. I think, when in the hands of the right authors, those stories have their place. But others just leave me shaking my head when I finish reading and that bites. So I write stories I would want to read, stories that entertain, and hopefully, scare the reader. I've always said my sole goal is to make someone leave the bedside light on. That's when I'll know I've succeeded. I want the reader to walk away from my story satisfied with what they've read and saying, "Wow. I didn't see that coming." I want them to still be thinking about it the next day. To me, those are the stories we should be writing.

3.) Why do I write what I do?

Mainly, because that's where my mind goes. I've tried to write other genres, but something horrible always seems to happen to my main characters. I wrote a blog post about the making of a horror writer, which you can read here, but long story short I was raised on a steady diet of horror shows, books, and spooky pranks. It's in my DNA. And I think horror serves a purpose in our lives. I mean, let's face it, things happen all the time in the world we live in that are far more horrific than anything I might write. So writing and reading horror give us a chance to escape the real world horror and allow some of that fear to come out, sort of like letting off a little steam before the pot boils over.

4.) How does my writing process work?

Usually a story will pop into my head through either a scene or a significant line from the story I've yet to write. Then I build the idea from there, mostly through a process I call "what if?" Where I walk around thinking and occasionally asking people "What if you were a pioneer and your family member died in the winter and the ground was too frozen to bury them? Where would you keep the body? How creepy would that be?" Or something of that nature, until the idea is a little more formed. Then I figure out where I'd like to see the story go. How does it end? And eventually I start writing. But I don't have a specific word count or anything, although I do like to at least finish the scene, or chapter, I'm working on. But I write while the words are flowing well. If I have to stop to think too much, I stop. Then I'll do some mindless task like dishes, mowing, laundry, taking a shower and the idea will keep tumbling around in my head until I get the next bit. Then I go back the next day, read what I've written and get the next bit out. I'm slow. Seriously slow. It can take me two weeks to write a short story. Then I have to go back and edit, send it to a friend, make changes based on their suggestions, read it aloud to my family, and finally it might be ready to submit.

Or, if I'm lucky the whole damn thing bursts out of me in five or so hours. :)

And there you have it. At least I hope you're still with me. I'm passing the tour to the lovely, talented Mercedes M. Yardley. Her post will be up next Monday, June 30th, but be sure to check out her blog before then. If you haven't read any of her work, you should. You will not be disappointed! I'm interested to see her answers to these questions. How writers write has always been fascinating to me.

Thanks for stopping by, don't be a stranger (though I hear strangers have the best candy...)!
♥ Stacey