Monday 25 June 2012

Who Said That? Writing With More Than One Voice

Oh my word. This book is just so great: On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association. editor Mort Castle.

It's a series of short essays from the 'masters' of horror. But I reckon many of the chapters are applicable to a short story writer in any genre. 

I had a writer's epiphany when reading Bruce Holland Roger's essay, 'The Dark Enchantment of Style'. I've been wondering about voice for a while, you know the stylistic elements that makes an accomplished author's promise recognisable.

I'm sure I have more than one voice, I'd think. After all I write horror, science fiction and fantasy. One voice doesn't suit them all.

And sure enough, that's exactly what BHR says in his essay. That voice or style should be flexible and suit the needs of the story. Exactly! I should have listened to my own voice on that one. Still it was great to have that niggle crossed off my list.

So seeing as he was so smart about that. I thought I'd given the second part of his advice a try: Slow Down. That's absolutely counter-intuitive to me, because I'm so slow anyway. He advises that you re-write your passages from your favourite stories, and try to imitate them, slowly on a word by word and sentence by sentence level.

'Read slowly. Take time to analyze. Imitate slowly with care. When you compose, slow down.'

I'm going to give it a go. Not in my usual writing time, but in the time I devote to improvement.

What about you, readers. Do you write with more than one voice. Have you ever tried deliberately analysing, and imitating?

Monday 18 June 2012

I'm Good At ...

I always love hearing about the different ways writers go about their craft. I've come up with an idea for a series of blog posts, all in the 'I'm Good At ...' series. Outlining what you're good at, and how you do it. You know, the little tricks picked up along the way.

The twist in the tale, is that this series is written by my readers. Yes, I'm delegating my blog. Genius.

If you'd like to guest post in the series, drop me a comment. I don't really care about format or length. Whatever suits.

ideas might be: I'm Good At World Building, or Characterisation, or Plotting, or Flash, or Novelling, or Anything Else, just so long as it's related to writing.

Guest posts restricted to one per applicant-- only kidding. You're welcome to write as many as you like. It saves me a job. And don't think that you're not good enough to do it, everyone's got something they can share.

Anyhoo, this idea might fall on it's face, so don't be afraid to write one out of pity for me.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Horror Reprints--Best Market Ever

Well, it's a good day when you discover your favourite anthology series is open to unsolicited reprints. Enter, Stephen Jones' The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

I love this series. I've been reading it for years, and would highly recommend it.

I've included the 1985 cover in this post, because it's my favourite. You've got to admire those colours. This cover it makes me smile, because it's not (in my opinion) indicative of the contents. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror is thoughtful horror, meaningful and elegant. It's the type of horror I aspire to write. But what a cover! Outrageously pulpy. I mean you don't see many green vampire monsters do you?

Here are the guidelines:  (slightly edited).

I am now considering stories and novellas FIRST PUBLISHED between January 2012 and December 2012 for the twenty-fourth annual edition of the multiple award-winning THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR series. 
Do not assume that I have seen the book, magazine or website that your work appears in. If you think you have had a story published of exceptional quality (and I am only interested in seeing your very best work, no matter where it originally appeared), then send a copy to the address below.
I am also interested in seeing novels, collections, anthologies, magazines, art books, graphic adaptations, DVDs and anything else connected with the horror field that I can mention in the comprehensive overview of the year in horror. I will also list your contact information in the list of useful addresses.
Please send all material (sorry, no electronic submissions), with details of first publication and all contact details, to:
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #24
c/o 130 Park View
Middx HA9 6JU

The deadline for receiving material is JANUARY 2013 --STEPHEN JONES
Editor, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror series

Thursday 7 June 2012

Mentors for Horror Writers

I was interested to find out that the Horror Writers Association (HWA) run a mentoring programme. I found about it from a interview with JG Faherty on the Horror on the Installment Plan blog. (You might have to register to view the interview).

And, by the way, Horror on the Installment Plan is  still looking for horror short stories for their themed issues and paying professional rates.

Edmund R. Schubert interviews Steve Savile about the HWA programme. Basically an experienced writer teams up with a less experienced,  affiliate HWA member.

Affiliate membership requirements are sale in horror/dark fantasy of one of the following:
  • Sell one short story of at least 500 words, for payment of at least $25.
  • Sell one non-fiction article, role-playing supplement, comic book script, computer gaming script, or theatrical play for payment of at least $50.
  • Sell one book-length manuscript (40,000 words or more) for payment of at least $200.
  • Sell a screenplay or an option on your existing screenplay for payment of at least $200.
  • Sell three poems for total payment of at least $15.

I'm very tempted. I reckon I qualify for membership. I wonder how much it is? I've always fancied having a mentor.

Has anyone had experience being mentored by another writer?

edited. Here's the membership page for HWA. If you join after July, for half a year, it's only $25.