On Writing

A mile in their shoes

Beneath the Gathering Storm

I’m an opinionated guy, but I can keep my ego in-check long enough to willingly admit, that like most people, emotion can be the platform from which I jump to conclusions. I do, however, make it a practice to “step outside” myself and rationally and reasonably evaluate those opinions to see if they stand up to logic and facts. I’m not a politician, so I’m allowed to change my opinions from time to time. Unfortunately, as a blogger, many of those “here is how I feel this week” thoughts become immortalized in print. Fortunately, as a blogger, I have the opportunity to retract and revise as required.

I guess it comes as no surprise that my publishing journey reflects the truism so aptly written as, It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. It also seems appropriate that it was from the experience of my first novel that I learned the most about publishing, writing, and sometimes…about myself.

Often I was spot on with my opinion, other times I obviously, for good or bad, I had no idea to that which I spoke. For example…

Zombie writers often don’t understand the genre: I mostly stand by this statement. Maybe not so much a criticism of fiction writers, but definitely movie makers. Zombie stories were never really about zombies. The Father of the genre, Richard Matheson, actually used a vampire apocalypse in his acclaimed novel, I am Legend. His walking dead were transformed by George Romero in the film Night of the Living Dead. Mr. Matheson wrote of an evolution, whereas Romero sought commentary on consumerism and social issues. In future reproductions, both ideas were lost. When I began my short story, U & Me Against the World, my only intention was to stay true to them both and write a story that reflected both the evolutionary vision of Matheson and the character study found in Romero’s version. But what I came to discover was that it is impossible to imitate art without the writer’s own ideas shaping the final outcome. So although I complained that others didn’t stick to the script, I found that neither could I.

I could never write a novel: Yes, I said and believed that until 2010. Short stories I wrote, short stories were manageable, but a novel seemed a daunting task. I had tried with a story called Omission of Truth and it was disastrous. I had no grasp on how to write descriptive text that didn’t bore even me to death. The only reason I wrote You and Me Against the World is because I thought I was writing a very long short story. In the process I discovered that I had been all wrong about novel writing. In my books you find very few lengthy descriptions. What you find is dialogue, plot, and action…and to my surprise…it works.

I’m a pretty good writer so I can self-edit: Umm…no. I am a pretty good writer, who cannot self-edit. Writing isn’t a part-time thing for me. I write every day in a variety of fields. I write every weekend in fiction. Self-editing is a delusion, it can’t be done. Especially when one strings together eighty thousand words.

I’m a horror writer: Okay, this one was a little harder to swallow. I really wanted to be a horror writer. I grew up on the stuff and I love the stuff. But I’ve written four books and only one of them is horror. The Creepers Saga is dystopian, apocalyptic, science fiction (if that’s all a category), so it’s a little hard to hold onto “horror” writer when 75% of the work…is not. But, in case you haven’t heard…I’m a rebel…so I grabbed up the description “Dark Fiction Writer.” That leaves me plenty of room to write anything, as long as it is a bit dark.

I’ll never win one of those “stupid” contests: Yeah, that’s the title of a blog I wrote. I can’t even go back and read it for fear of what I may have written. My writing has won three of those “stupid” contests. I have a Readers’ Favorite, an Indie Fab, and a Wishing Shelf Award and hard as I try, I can’t help but be a little proud of them.

Horror is not just blood and gore: I got that one correct. Some horror writers think so. They rely on blood, gore, and sex to build their stories. I think it’s bad for the genre and a reason many readers say, I don’t read that stuff. “Horror” is just a feeling, but to feel it you first need to feel something for the characters. So to write horror, you first have to give your reader a connection to the characters, the reader has to be invested in the outcome otherwise who really cares what happens. Hmm I guess that’s true of all stories. But what do I know, I don’t write horror, I write dark fiction.

I’ll never use my blog to directly plug my books: Ahh so close. Today I’ll break that rule, and I’ll do it for three reasons:

The first is because I just finished book three of the Creepers Saga so it’s an excellent time for such self-promotion of the series.

More importantly, however, if you are one of the few….hundreds of millions…who haven’t read the series, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Sure it is a zombie-esque infection based story…but in truth, it’s a story about love, loyalty, hope, and sacrifice. It’s a story with great depth that moves at a fast pace. The Creepers Saga is a book that you can’t judge by its covers. And if you don’t love it, I promise, you can have any one of my adult children. They are well-trained, educated, have jobs, and will make a lovely addition to any holiday get together.

But the most important reason I am breaking my rule is because I made this really cool (awesome, rad, dope, phat, far out, wicked, chill, legit—insert generation appropriate term)…Book Trailer and I needed a thousand words to get you to it.

So do me two favors…have a look and share it…and yes I won’t be upset if you buy the books. And you also have my promise that I will, in the future,  refrain from book advertising disguised as blogs. But then again…such opinions are always scheduled to change.

Amazon  Smashwords

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Or watch it here on You Tube

7 replies »

  1. LOL — I remember that “stupid” contest post. Since I haven’t won any of them, I’ll go ahead and still agree with it. I’ll retract when/if necessary.

    I do think “Dark Fiction Writer” fits your work perfectly, and btw, you’ve nailed the character connection (and even your dreaded descriptions). #Truestory

    And WOW that looks like a movie trailer!!!! Love it 🙂

  2. The bit about what horror really is. So many authors and filmmakers think horror is just a monster, some blood and an old house on the hill, and they’ll easily get the next Amityville Horror or Friday the 13th. Puh-leaz! If it were that easy I’d be living in a 3-bedroom house writing several hours every day and going to movies based on my books every other weekend.

  3. I believe you forgot “groovy” in your hip generational descriptions (channel your inner Keith Partridge, please, or Greg Brady).

    As far as how your writing can be classified, I think Dark Fiction is very apt. I remember the first time I read You and Me Against the World and was amazed that I liked a “zombie horror” novel. I realize now that my preconceptions were waaaaay off, but I was so impressed that a novel “like that” was so fascinating and well done. I also remember your concerns when you wrote The Devil’s Hour, because, when writing the Creepers Saga, you’d never had to actually write a novel with a definite ending. You nailed it anyway.

    You deserve every “stupid” award you’ve gotten and then some. Here’s hoping for many more to come!

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