Single Question Interview: Emma Ennis

Long fiction or make short work of it?

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To be frankly honest, my dear, I don’t usually have much of a choice. ‘Twas about this time last year I was settling in front of a blank page to jot down the outline for a short story which would go towards filling my second short story collection. An entire weekend and two a4 notepads later, and I was still going.

The thing, which started out as a just a snippet of dialogue I’d hastily scribbled down in some long forgotten moment, just exploded. All of a sudden I had a fully fleshed novel on my hands, and 20,000 words later I had the premise for a sequel and a third in the series.

Needless to say, said short story collection got shoved onto the back burner.

The book was completed around November last year, and is right now nearing the top of the ‘to edit’ pile. I plan to at least flesh out and start the sequel before doing anything with the first because it’s a tricky plot with lots of crossovers, connections and a sprinkling of conspiracy, so I don’t want to miss anything.

But as to short or long fiction, for me they both have their merits and faults. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a bulging notepad in front of you with layouts, characters, maps, pictures, all ready to be translated into a story. It’s a huge challenge, stretching ahead towards a glorious finish line. Picture yourself, if you will, standing at the entrance to the Appalachian Trail, a backpack strapped to your back, brimming with everything you’ll need for the long, arduous journey ahead. I’d like to think that feeling is something akin to starting a new book.

Short stories however, are rewarding in the sense of accomplishment they give. An idea gets wrapped up, tied in a bow and filed under ‘done,’ short and sweet, job done, brush off the hands, next one please.

Personally I’ll take any idea, long or short, as they come. Bring it on!

***You can pick up Emma’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: G Elmer Munson

What makes you click with a character?

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For me, that’s both an easy and hard question to answer.  The obvious answer is that the character should be likable.  For a protagonist, I have to like the character enough to be willing to see them through whatever nastiness the story has in store for them.  I have to like them enough to hope they come out alive when the story ends.  If I don’t, why keep them?  I have had the occasion where mid-story I realize that I absolutely hate the main character.  This usually occurs right around the time that I kill them off (it’s a reliable indicator).  Someone else becomes the main character and the story goes on.  In most cases, I soon realize that’s what I should have done in the first place.  The story is better because of it.  Other times?  Well, that’s what a trunk is for…

That was easy, right?  Well, the hard part for me is when I take great pleasure in developing a character that I absolutely hate.  Nasty people are fun to write, but that doesn’t mean they’re as fun to read.  Thankfully I learned long ago that first drafts are like playing in a sandbox.  You can throw whatever you want in there and then just rake the crap out later on.  That, of course, is the hard part.  First drafts are fun.  Editing is hard.  That’s the time to take an asshole character and turn them into someone that’s fun to read.  Either that, or go through countless pages of manuscript deleting them from existence.  Both take time, but in the end you’ve got yourself a character worth reading.  That makes the story worth reading.

Villains are a different story altogether.  With villains, all bets are off…

***You can pick up G Elmer’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Samantha Quick

What are the challenges in writing for young adults?

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I think any time you write a story for a specific audience that you are not part of, it can be a challenge. What we knew was in or popular when we ourselves were younger often isn’t the case for the next generations. Therefore, quite easily, you can find your work dated or perhaps uninteresting to a readership.

I think the best way to combat that is to be observant of your surroundings. If you have children of your own, that can be as simple as paying attention throughout your day. If you don’t, then you may have to resort to people-watching a bit more than usual, studying certain ages and trying to define them in your fiction. And I don’t mean doing that in a creepy way. But if you can gain some insight into their behavior, their wants and needs, simply by being a little nosey, that can go a long way toward improving your fiction.

***You can pick up Samantha’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Lydia Peever

Vampires, extra-crispy or super-sparkly?

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There is nothing wrong with a little vampire sparkle. Blood glinting in the moonlight, the look in their eye when they mesmerize; so long as there is a savage aura about them. Vampires are killers. Period. On the other hand, Count Orlok would be about as crispy as I could stand. He did not have one suave bone in his body though, and the most terrifying killer seduces you into a trap you can’t escape. In answer to the question, if I had to have a vampire to dinner I’d like them mostly crispy. A red raw centre, moist with blood. Slather him in a sparkling sauce. Honey-garlic likely, to keep him under control.

***You can pick up Lydia’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Brad Carter

How is humor used in horror?

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Humor and horror can be best friends. At its most basic, humor is the release valve that allows people to feel a bit of relief amid all the nerve-fraying that often goes along with horror. That’s the accepted wisdom, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. I believe a skillful application of humor in any horror story can actually heighten the realism. Think about it. Life is funny, and it’s often when people are pressed into terrible circumstances that their humor really shines. Combat veterans often tell hilarious stories. ER doctors often have wicked senses of humor. If you add a little humor to your horror, it feels more realistic. And beyond that–and I’m paraphrasing Roger Corman here–if you don’t give your audience something to laugh at, eventually they will start laughing when you don’t want them to.

In my own writing, humor just happens. I’ve been told I’m a smartass (Paul Anderson even committed that observation to print, so it’s there for posterity to read in Torn Realities), so I guess my personality is just bound to make it onto the page. I used to fight it, thinking that horror had to be completely dark and serious, but I just don’t see it that way anymore.

***You can pick up Brad’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Christian A. Larsen

When does a character become too real?

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A character becomes too real only when that character is an actual person, transposed into words. Obvious exceptions include famous people, especially famous dead people. What would happen to fiction if Abraham Lincoln were off limits? Gore Vidal would have had a hard time meeting his word limit in his book about the president. Seth Grahame-Smith? Not so much.
But if the protagonist is a thinly-veiled copy of the author, or the heroine is someone the author carries a torch for, well, that’s just lazy writing, and worse, prevents real creativity. The real person prevents the story from revealing itself. Also, it becomes an exercise in wish-fulfillment, which isn’t nearly as cool to read as it is to write.

***You can find out more about Christian through his  WEBSITE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: David Anderson

Gore horror or slight, with a hint of blood?

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Slight. The imagination makes it so much more gruesome than could ever be shown on screen. Plus, it involved the viewer more.

My mom instilled in me a firm love of Alfred Hitchcock and he used the implied violence better than probably anyone. Though I’m not afraid to get into the gory details with my writing, leaving things to the reader is a great way to suck them into the story. They then become more than just an observer. They become part of the action, horror, or suspense.

Plus, gore for gore’s sake is just lazy storytelling. Why make it simple when it can be beautiful? Find ways to make the disgusting amazing, the horrible intriguing, and the revolting irresistible. Make is all beautiful chaos.

***You can pick up David’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)