Evolving as a Writer (Update)

For me, there is no greater feeling than seeing my name in print. I received that honor a few days ago when my copy of It Calls From Below arrived in the mail, containing my story “The Installation”. I’m eager to see what my fellow contributors wrote.

Now that I have three stories published, I’ve added a bibliography page to this site. It’s a bit pitiful compared to authors with 50+ stories, but I’ve been wanting to add that page for years now.

Exploring New Methods

I seem to teetertotter when it comes to my short story method. Pantser or plotter? It’s constantly fluctuating. These last four months I’ve written with only a slight premise and a character or two. But it’s always been a bit of a gamble, trusting my subconscious not to lead me astray.

After my last several stories were duds, I decided to return to outlines—but not my usual method. H.P. Lovecraft wrote an essay entitled “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction” (which can be found here). As I’m focusing solely on the Weird these days, it seemed perfect.

The essay prescribes a method of brainstorming, outlining, writing, and editing, chock-full of invaluable advice. I’m following Lovecraft to a tee in every aspect but one. He states that the brainstorming should be purely mental, but with my bad memory, I’m writing it out.

Lovecraft stresses atmosphere and mood, stating: “Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction.” I hope that by following this method, I can achieve that aura of terror I’ve always sought.

Short Stories

Experimenting with the above method, I’m writing a short story entitled “The Sorcerers of J’hyd”, which I’m hoping to submit to Cosmic Horror Monthly at the end of next month. It is Lovecraftian but does not fit into the Cthulhu Mythos.

So far, this method works well. I’m a bit rusty working off an outline, but I love the sense of control it gives me. I feel like a conductor leading an orchestra made up of all the elements of my story. The outline is my sheet music. Going forward, I plan to write my horror and weird fiction stories this way.

Update: Stories from the Infinite City

Via Wikimedia Commons

My momentum has waned on this collection for a variety of reasons. One being my difficulty balancing the writing and editing of two different projects. But the main reason is that I don’t feel it meets my standards. I rushed it and I’m paying the consequences. If only I had discovered Lovecraft’s method earlier…

While I love many of the premises and the setting, the collection needs more work than I have the stamina to provide right now. I’m becoming notorious for giving up on writing projects, but I’d hate to give up on this one. Still, I’ll keep at it, editing it enough that I can send it to a beta reader and see if it’s worth my time and energy.

I’m hoping to grow that bibliography, if only to get that high of seeing my name in print. It seems as good a motive as any.


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