December 12th, 2006


ON WRITING HORROR Gets Reviewed -- Five Knives!

Dread Central has stepped up to the plate with the first review of On Writing Horror (or at least the first I've seen). Here's a snippet:

On Writing Horror is the best how-to book of the lot for anyone even thinking about becoming a horror writer, or even a writer in general. Its no-nonsense approach to the art and craft of writing assures its place as the dog-eared, well-read bible among horror-writing novices and professionals alike.

It's a five-star review. (Well, not stars. Knives, actually, but that's kind of embarrassing to say. What are you going to call it, a five-knife review? "Hey, agent, the book got a five-knife review! Hello? Hello? Are you still there?") So what are you waiting for? Go buy yourself a copy already!

That's What Three Years Gets Ya

I spent much of this afternoon transcribing a short story into an MSWord file from hardcopy. I'd lost the original file in the Great Computer Cockup of 2005, when I lost quite a few story files, but like the others I still had hardcopy. However, I needed an electronic copy to email people who requested it for Stoker consideration, so I had no choice but to retype the whole damn thing. Luckily, it's pretty short, under 3500 words.

With the pages held up on the plastic paper-holder thingy next to my computer and me touch-typing as fast as I could, glancing quickly between paper and monitor, the whole thing felt very 1950s secretary. All I was missing was a poodle skirt and beehive.

What I didn't count on, though, was having to constantly fight the urge to change things. The story was originally written in 2003 and sold in 2004, but it wasn't published until this year. Because of the objective distance three years can give you, a lot of the prose looked awful to me. I saw so many moments of unrealized potential, so much dialogue I wanted to change so the characters sounded less like automatons, so many actions I wish I'd made clearer or more subtle, I had to resist the temptation to clean it up. Some grammatical choices made me wince too. Apparently, I was semi-colon happy in 2003.

Anyway, that's today's excitement. Enjoy!