Next week I publish a book and it’s been a learning experience.
The whole thing has changed my perspective on what I write and how I write. I used to think I could only write in one genre, this book and another I wrote in April made me rethink what I write.
The book next week is a collection of horror stories, while the book in January is a political thriller.
I denied myself writing a thriller book for years because I felt I shouldn’t write it.
I considered myself a horror writer because I love horror. My favorite books and movies have always been horror. Narrowing myself to only horror limited what I wrote. I didn’t intend for it to do that but it did.
I still love horror but for some reason I’m having a hell of a time writing long form. Short stories happen easily, but long form are a pain in the ass.
I wish I knew why I have this issue.
I loved writing the stories in the collection which comes out next week, they’re all horror of some sort or another.
You can find it on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes & Noble for Nook.
I don’t understand why I have this issue, but I do. I hope you’ll get the book. I enjoyed writing every line of those horror stories.
I took a break from this blog for a while to work on things.
If you follow me on social media, you saw my post. I have been working on this collection for most of the summer and another project that fell apart.
The latter of these things made me realize a few things about myself and my writing. I am really good at writing short horror stories. But when it comes to a longer form of horror, I have trouble. let me explain.
From April 4th to May 4th I wrote the first draft of a 100,000 word novel.
This novel is different from anything I’d written prior, and it is the only novel I’ve followed a beat sheet and outline to the letter.
It is a very strong first draft. Possibly the best first draft of a novel I’ve ever written. I owe that to the set up with the outline and beat sheet.
The book will be coming out in January and it is not horror.
When I was a teenager I read the military and political thrillers that were popular in the late 80’s and 90’s by authors like Tom Clancy.
At the time I wasn’t allowed to read any other books, or at least that’s how it felt. Any time I asked to read something other than those books, my father rebuffed me and it was only in my room where I could read the books I wanted to read; horror, comics, fantasy, and science fiction being my favorites.
When I began to write my own stories I swore I’d never create worlds like Clancy’s. This came about because of the way I feel towards me father(he and I don’t have a relationship).
With the books I felt I had to read it was about control and I have an issue with being controlled, as we all should.
I believe that by allowing the way I was treated to enter into my head, it stopped me from following a path that maybe I should have followed.
The first idea I had for a novel was along the lines of the military/political thriller, but I closed myself off to that because of the trauma I experienced growing up. In other words, I allowed it to stop my creativity because I worried old feelings would come back.
Now it comes back around to the novel I’ll be self-publishing in January. There are other novels I’m currently writing or ideas I’m pondering contained within the same world.
It is a change that maybe I needed to do. I believe by allowing myself to be stopped creatively because of past trauma, I rejected stories which I would have enjoyed as well as ones that would push me.
Today, I’m moving forward with these books because I really enjoy writing them more than anything else. I consider myself a writer who does not limit themselves to one genre. I will write in whichever genre a story comes to me, I only wish I knew why I had such a difficult time with creating outlines for horror novels.
Maybe this is just a learning experience and I need to figure it out at another time, but for now I’ll write these political/military thrillers because they give me a joy that I’ve rarely found in writing.
Here is the link for the short story collection. I hope you enjoy the stories. There are some dark ones in there and I enjoyed writing each of them.
We reach a point in our minds where there are two worlds, the daytime regular everything and the written worlds within our minds.
The surrender of which world we’d like to live in exists somewhere in there. It comes and goes, but its there.
The story drives it and that story pushes the boundaries of whether we consider ourselves sane. It can be all consuming. Taking all of our time, energy, and often, patience.
There are two stories within this.
There is the act of ignoring the story, and may disappear from wherever stories come from, or it may stay. That depends on the writer and how much they love the story.
This idea of love of one’s writing is not something a non-writer will understand, hell, a non-creative won’t understand it. I don’t understand it sometimes.
But there is a love of our stories. It’s why we choose to keep it on our hard drives and not send it into the world.
The second part is fear.
We choose to live in fear of what others will say about our stories because the fear is like a warm blanket. It’s this fear that keeps us writing, but it also inhibits our growth as writers. For if we choose to keep our writing to ourselves we hinder its ability to move people. Which is what we want.
We want what we write to move people either spiritually or emotionally. It’s the reason so many of the top rated books in any genre have moved us to tears.
There is something else to this.
We have to move the way we see ourselves and our writing if we’re to ever do anything with it. Which may lead us to into a place where we’re no longer comfortable.
We must stretch our legs and write things we needed to write. Stories about our childhood that only we will see. Novels that only we will read.
There is a point in our writing where a story comes along, we finish it and have hope for it but after looking at our other work, it doesn’t fit. It’s completely outside our normal range of work.
But in writing that story we’ve exorcised a few demons. We’ve completed a story we don’t see.
We’ve move forward along our timeline in a way that makes us understand that it’s not the story that’s changed, but ourselves.
This topic has come up in my head quite a bit lately and I’m trying to recon with the reasons.
The thought of devotion isn’t only one of religion or spirituality, not even to one’s spouse.
I am devoted to my wife, but I haven’t been devoted to my writing.
Sure I get words on the page, but do they go anywhere? Will anyone eventually read them?
This has been what has been holding me back. I’m devoted to putting words on the page, but not putting those pages in a book.
What is the written word without a book to hold it?
This came up when I watched something the other day.
An author was being interviewed and she said, her first book she did the best she could and published it. There were spelling and grammar errors, but she didn’t care because it was out there.
This has been my blockage, this hasn’t been my devotion.
My devotion has been to write words, not to see them in print. What good is it to write stories that aren’t seen?
I am devoted to improving my writing. I can’t improve without publishing it, no matter the form it takes?
I have written 11 books. Even if they’re shit, why haven’t I published them?
I’m devoted to the act of writing, but live in fear of being published. I have submitted novels, but when those novels come back rejected, I leave them on my hard drive. I don’t do anything else with them.
My devotion has to be two fold. To the writing and to the publishing. I have to want to publish, regardless of the final product. As I’ve said, my wife and I can’t afford an editor. With Covid-19 and my bartending gigs less, we can’t put money into something like that.
What we can do is go over what I’ve written, self-publish it and see where that takes us.
So, I’m going to continue to write stories, but I will write them with a certain collection in mind.
I write horror, it’s what I’m the best at. I will continue to write those stories but now my devotion to them is changed. I will publish this year. I will collect 10-15 stories set with a theme, organize them and publish them.
I have to do that.
I’m devoted to my writing and now to getting things published, no matter what form that takes.
I’ve written 11 novels, close to 100 short stories and I don’t have anything to show for it.
I submitted a novel today, and that’s a good thing, but I’m honestly at the point where submitting has lost its taste and I’m ready to move on to self-publishing.
My wife and I have talked about getting a collection of stories together and publishing those, and I believe that’s probably the best course of action.
I love to write. It’s the only thing I feel I’m good at. I’ve been doing it so long, like with bartending that I don’t know how to do anything else.
I could find a job doing something besides bartending, but I really enjoy it.
As far as my writing goes, I’ve written so many words in the last five years since we moved our kids from Las Vegas to Utah that I’ve made great strides in my writing. I’ve improved so much from the earlier stories after we moved.
The world is different from what it was five years ago, hell five months ago, but I get the feeling that something has to change soon, at least for my writing.
I keep submitting short stories and novels and they keep getting rejected.
I can’t afford an editor, it’s just not in our budget.
My greatest hope is that something I submit gets published but as I lose hope for that, I gain it in publishing it by myself.
Moving forward I’ll probably self-publish a collection of short horror stories. I have a few that I really enjoy and I’m looking for a theme among some of them. I may have one, but I’m still hopeful for my novels, though as I said, that hope is waning.
It’s not about the money, it’s about people enjoying what I write. If I only wrote for money that would be horrible. I can’t see myself doing anything but writing and that I haven’t had a novel picked up feels damaging to myself.
I know I’m wining about things when we’re in a pandemic, all of the racial injustice happening to Black lives, but sometimes I just need to put my feelings down on the page. True feelings.
I hope you’re all well. I will tell you if anything happens with the novel, but I think I’ll be moving forward with finding a throughway with the short story collection. That feels like the best thing to do right now.