The extremely talented Molly Tanzer has tagged me in something people are calling “The Writing Process Blog Tour”. Process is something that interests me greatly, so this entire tour has been enlightening. I’m hopeful readers of this blog feel the same, and will follow the links backward to see what others have written.
1) What are you working on?
I’m not working on anything specifically at the moment. My last book, the collection BURNT BLACK SUNS, was a difficult one for many reasons, and now that it’s in the world I find myself somewhat in limbo. Which isn’t to say I’m not working, but rather that after a few years of focused work in this one aspect of the weird, I’m pleased to open up the motor a bit and work on different sorts of tales. But rest assured I have plans for where the future will take me.
2) How is your work different from others’ work in the same genre?
When I began, I felt I fit into a very particular niche of the weird genre—so particular in fact I wasn’t really aware of anyone else working there. A mixture of weird fiction and strange fiction that was different from the British-inspired psychological stories and the American visceral stories that were a big part of the genre’s slow resurgence a decade ago. Since then I feel there’s been a tremendous growth of writers with a similar or sympathetic focus, and I’m certainly pleased to see them. That said, I feel my pendulum swings wider than most of these peers in its exploration of this particular intersection. I know a few writers who work with oblique narratives, and a few more with cosmic horror, but I don’t know many that flip between both to the degree I do, especially within the confines of the same story.
3) Why do you write what you do?
The dark strangeness of the world is a topic that holds utter fascination for me. Experiencing that frisson is the closest thing to real magic I’ve ever experienced, and I very much want to communicate that same feeling to others. If I can do so, I’ll consider my time writing in this darkened corner well spent.
4) How does your writing process work?
Every story writes itself in its own way, so my process can vary. For the most part, I find myself stricken by an image or metaphor or juxtaposition, and start writing. Often it’s best for me when that image is the culmination of a tale, and I spend my time working toward it. I rarely pre-plot and instead simply write with that target on the horizon in mind. Once I reach the end, I reassess the story and determine what it actually is, then I chip away what doesn’t belong and rework what’s left. Sometimes I hit the nail right on the head the first time through, and sometimes my first draft bears only a passing resemblance to the end result. I work best in the hours between 10 a.m and 3 p.m, and between 7 p.m and 10 p.m. That said, I don’t often have those times available to me, so I work any chance I get instead.
As per the requirements of this chain-letter, I’m forced to pick two other writers whom I don’t think have been tagged yet and obligate them to endure what’s I’ve just endured. So, I’ll select the well-established Ian Rogers and the soon-to-be well-established Michael Wehunt.