Halfway through March already? Seriously, what the shit, time? It’s been a strange and hectic year so far, for many reasons, but through it all I’m steadfastly, some would say stubbornly, persisting with being a writer. Some might even suggest I was bull-headedly persisting and yes, bull-headedly is most definitely a word.
I’ve been working on several short fiction projects, and I’m cautiously proud of the stories I’ve been turning out. There’s horror, straight fantasy, science fiction and cross-bred mutants of all three happening at the moment. Today I’ll be working on a horror story about a priest facing a small child’s demons. Cliche, you’re thinking? Well, fuck you. Wait till you read it, then you can call it a cliche. Personally, I think I’m playing very cleverly with old tropes. Of course, we always think we’re clever, or we would have given up this fool’s game a long time ago.
Sometimes, though, we get some positive feedback. Take the novella that I’m collaborating on with David Wood. It’s called Dark Rite, it’s a kind of horror/thriller mashup and we’re really quite proud of it. It’s around 40,000 words, which is right at the top end of the novella range, almost into short novel territory, so it’s a meaty read. We’re pretty close to a final draft and are currently waiting on some feedback from some very generous early readers. And we’re lucky, because those early readers are some luminary figures in the world of thrillers and horror. I’ll reveal more when we get all the feedback and make the final tweaks before putting the book up for publication. But so far, the feedback has been very encouraging. It’s been called “fantastic” and “very Stephen King” by one person whose opinion I really respect. You can imagine the little happy dance I did when I read that. As a horror writer, is there much higher praise than being compared to Stephen King?
So while we continually pound our aching head against the wall of literary recognition, trying to get better, trying to get published, it’s nice to get that kind of feedback from time to time. It helps to ease the self-inflicted wounds. Balm for the weeping gashes of self-doubt that stripe our soul. And all that bollocks.
I’m also still working on the next two novels. One is out in the world looking for a home, the next is finished in early drafts. Once this last short story is polished up, redrafting that book will be my primary focus. Never any rest here at the Warrior Scribe Word Mills. And that’s the only way to succeed – keep doing it, keep getting better.
No Retreat, No Surrender!
(1986 Van Damme martial arts movie reference FTW!)