Dawn over at Tales from the Motherland has passed the torch on to me. I am honored that she found me worthy enough. (Cue the Wayne and Garth “We’re not worthy” clip.) I’m also wondering if maybe she’s a bit loopy to have chosen me. She’d have to be, right? I just throw some words together, change those words half a dozen times, and call it a story. I almost can’t comprehend the idea that some people like the things I write. It’s both weird and unnatural to me. I’m not the kind who accepts praise openly. I’m more a keep my nose to the grindstone and go unnoticed kind of guy–which incidentally is a terrible thing for a writer to be, especially a writer trying to get noticed and get his name out there.
Also, Dawn is awesome. Go check out her answers HERE. I have no doubt that mine will pale in comparison.
Question #1: What am I working on?
The short answer is: a lot. But you didn’t come here for the short answer, did you? Nay, you want this man of few words to be verbose. Not my strong suit, but I’ll bite the bullet and give it a try.
#1. 100 tiny tales of terror
Technically I’m no longer working on this. I just finished it so I’m going to give it a plug. This is a collection of 100 stories, each 100 words. As the name implies, terror is involved in some way in each of the stories. Some are more-lighthearted while others smack you across the face with a bloody limb torn from some unfortunate soul walking down the wrong path during a full moon.
It’s available in both Kindle and print format. Pick up a copy HERE. I’d love to know your thoughts. The kindle version is actually FREE for the next couple days so you’ve got nothing to lose.
#2. Sins of a Father
When it boils down to it, this is the story of a father’s love for his daughter and the extreme lengths to which he’d go for her. This novella is “finished” and I’m still awaiting reply from Nouvella on whether or not they want to publish it. I’m exactly five months to the day into a “four to six” month wait and I’m getting very anxious to know one way or the other. If they don’t want it, I’ll be self publishing it after one final run through to make sure I didn’t miss anything. No harm, no foul. Less publicity though, but I absolutely love this story and I won’t allow it to not be published one way or another. Honestly, this is probably some of my best work to date, but I may be too close to the thing to accurately judge that. This one was born from my very first Friday Fictioneers story and I’m happy I ended up expanding on it. This was definitely a story worth telling.
#3. The Trials and Tribulations of Cherokee Johnson
This one’s been in the makings almost as long as Sins of a Father and has made it through the second draft, a trial and tribulation in itself. This one fought me tooth and nail the whole time. Here’s the kicker: after all of that work, I now realize that the second half of the story is complete garbage and needs to be dropped entirely. Let me repeat… THE ENTIRE SECOND HALF IS SCHEDULED FOR INCINERATION. The real end of this particular zombie infested tale is actually in the middle of its current state. Everything after that could be another story, if it were worthy of love, but it isn’t. It’s complete crap and will be treated as such. Let’s give it a goldfish funeral–say a few words, then… flush. Also, the first half is in need of a complete overhaul with some new bits added in here and there and the current bits ripped apart by rabid wolverines and reassembled by a team of strung out, cocaine addicted elephant seals. Let’s all collectively scream “arrrgh” to give it the emphasis it really deserves. I’m collecting donations to support the elephant seals’ habit as payment for their services. Anyone want to chip in?
#4. Starship Dreamers
This one is currently in the planning phase. This one revolves around the life of an adolescent who has run away from home. There may or may not be aliens involved. If said aliens are in fact in the story, they may or may not be friendly. We’ll leave it at that for now.
#5. There Will Be Blood
This one is a collection of three short stories, and yes, there will most certainly be blood. This one has at least one, probably two more edits to go through. It’s likely to be the next thing to hit the digital shelves with my name on it, for better or worse.
#6. Currently Untitled
This one is actually the one taking up most of my time right now. I was experiencing one of those times when all of my ideas felt like crap, so I needed something new and fresh to get my mind off of the other stories for awhile. This one deals with a cryptid creature of my own creation (as far as I know anyway–I’ve heard of many cryptids, but never any quite like this one), a teenager, a bunch of jerk-wad crows, and a whole shit ton of evil.
I could go on, there are a handful of others in the works. Some of the stuff I’m working on may never see completion (including some of the ones listed above), but I’m sure it goes that way with a lot of writers. Sometimes a story just doesn’t work no matter how much you try to polish that turd.
Question #2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Honestly, I don’t really know how to answer that. First off, I’m not even entirely sure what genre most of my work qualifies as. It’s usually dark, but it’s not all horror, not exactly anyway. I really don’t know what to call some of it. Maybe some obscure subgenre of horror.
Second, I don’t write to be different or to be the same. I write to tell the stories that lurk in the deepest recesses of my brain. Those cobwebby corners that sane people like to avoid–where their skeletons collect the dust that hides them away forever–that’s where my writing comes from. Whether or not I’m different or similar doesn’t matter in the least to me. Perhaps that’s a bad thing. I’m not “finding my niche” by not actively trying to separate myself from the crowd. For now, I’m okay with that. For now, not knowing is knowing enough.
Question #3: Why do I write what I do?
This seems a bit of a silly question.
I’m not good at selling myself. I am an admittedly horrid marketer; don’t know the first thing about it actually. Even if I did understand the whole magic of marketing, I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. That probably comes from spending my life being overly shy and a bit backward. I’m still that way if you’re curious, but not nearly as bad as I used to be. So, obviously, I’m not in it for the money.
The truth of the matter is far more simplistic and far more interesting in my opinion.
I write to stay sane.
The stories inside are on a constant quest to get out. They grow claws and teeth and rip and tear and generally destroy everything that is worth protecting inside my head. I write what I write because those are the stories fighting the hardest to get out. They are the ones with the sharpest claws and the pointiest teeth. They are the ones who demand release.
Question #4: How does your writing process work?
My stories start with an idea that flickers to life in one of those deep dark corners I already mentioned. Sometimes that idea is a phrase, sometimes an image, sometimes as little as a title, and sometimes just a single word.
I write down that idea in a little notebook where most of my ideas go to die, not because I don’t like them, but because I’ll never have enough time to get to them all. Sad, but true. Sometimes I look at what I wrote and wonder what the hell it means. I don’t remember some of the ideas I wrote down or why I wrote them down. One time I wrote down a time: 6:07. That’s the only thing on that page. I have no idea what it means, but maybe someday it’ll come back to me. Obviously something happens at that time, but I’ll be damned if I know what. For the most part though, most of the ideas stick with me once I write them down.
Once I’ve written it down I go back to work on whatever else I’m working on until the seed takes hold and ravages my every waking moment, taking memories hostage and threatening to destroy them if I don’t comply with the demand to let it out of my head. Side note: I attribute my poor memory to these dastardly little pricks mass murdering my less than cherished memories when I’m otherwise preoccupied and can’t give them the attention they want. Perhaps that’s where the story of 6:07 went–murdered by a sibling. What a way to go.
I could feed you a line of crap about how I sit down and outline every little detail, but I don’t. I occasionally make an outline, but my story never ends up following it, so I generally don’t even bother anymore. Sometimes I still do the outline, then never look at it again while I’m writing. I can’t make myself work by an outline. I’ve tried many times and failed many times. For me the first draft is more about figuring out the story as I go. Every word I write influences the ones that come after. How can I possibly outline a story that will change with every single keystroke?
In reality, the first draft for me ends up sort of being the outline. The second draft almost always ends up at least double the length of the first and makes for a far better story. The third draft begins the fine tuning and the fourth is usually considered final, unless I stumble onto some major mistakes.
This is how it goes for everything I write, whether it be a 100 word story, a 5000 word story, or a 300,000 word story (the last of which I’ve never written but I’ve no doubt doing so wouldn’t change my process).
I despise editing. That’s why I work on so many things at once. Between drafts of one story I work on one or two other stories. It kind of feels like I never get anything done, but the truth is there are usually just as many near completion as there are in the beginning stages.
These lovely minions are up next week, so be sure to check them out.
K.Z. Morano writes anything from romance and erotica to horror and SF, F and WTF. Her stories have appeared in various publications over the past few months. Her first horror story collection, “100 Nightmares” will be released this April.
I read my first horror novel in 7th grade- Pet Sematary by Stephen King and never looked back.
The dark and macabre, the strange and unknown has always captivated me. Why? Well, I believe there is very little separating us all from shadow and light, sanity and lunacy. And since those malevolent little thoughts constantly haunt my mind, I decided to explore them because they won’t allow me to subdue them. And although my stories may be a little disturbing, I assure you, I am not- (My husband disagrees).
My debut horror anthology “This Way Darkness” will be available May 2014.
Anja is a woman who lives on an island who is inspired to write, draw, and paint.