Friday, April 30, 2010

Dealing with writers block

The one thing that has constantly plagued me through every single story I have ever written is writers block. And the funny thing is I always think I have all my creative ducks in a row before it hits me. It never fails.
Writers block can make a story that is supposed to be finished within a few weeks, take a few months. And while there is no cure (at least I think there isn't, anyway), I believe there are a few methods for getting through it.
One method that usually works for me is consistent mental and physical stimulation. Reading, watching a classic horror film, listening to metal music, athletics, chess. Something that reasonably eradicates boredom. I think boredom is root of all procrastination which, for a writer, should be avoided at all costs.
I also believe that having a source of inspiration, any inspiration, will help as well. Researching historic individuals with a wicked twist to them has always helped me. I cant remember all the people I've studied through the years. From Vlad tepes (also known as Vlad the Impaler), Elizabeth Bathory, The Marquis De Sade, Sir Francis Dashwood, Aleister Crowley, Gilles De Rais, and a large host of others. Whenever I think here is no one left worth researching, I usually discover someone else.
Determination can also be another factor in shrugging off writers block. But you have to be careful, when your creative energies are at a standstill and your in a hurry to finish your work, as I have been several times, you may add or neglect something to your work that you might regret. I guess it pays to take your time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

pleasure and pain: A horror writers journey 5

Obscurity. What is it? How does one get there? You see, to me, this is the absolute worst predicament a person can find themselves in. This is a condition no different than any other disease on the planet.
It truly is a wonder how many people actually find themselves there. I guess I can include myself among them. But it is definitely something I'm not proud of. The whole point of being a writer is to have your work known. Believe me, I'm not what you would consider a fame-seeker, but an audience would be nice. I mean where would any writer be if nobody wanted to read their work?
For years I have searched for the answer to the obscurity enigma, and I guess the only solution I have come up with is perseverance. It's kind of funny, because by the time you finally conquer obscurity(if you ever truly do), it might take so long that you might be a comletely different person, with different goals, interests, ect. So, that might be the price everyone pays for doing something that is worth remebering, or even paying attention to at all.
That thought has always disturbed me. The thought that no matter how hard I try or what I overcome, I still will be nowhere near where I want to be. I wonder if other people have the same concern? But then I remeber that maybe it doesn't matter how far you go with something. Maybe what really does matter is that you enjoy yourself in the process. Maybe it's the concept of fun that keeps people invovled in an endeavor no matter if it is going to put them on the 'Today Show' or not. I don't know. But what I do know is that horror excites me. And writing it, even more. The plots, the characters, everything. With that notion, I guess real obscurity is being stuck in a web with no passion or direction out of it. And I cant imagine anything more of a Hell than that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

pleasure and pain: A horror writers journey 4

Have you ever had a dream? Something that possessed your senses so entirely that you had to pursue it no matter the cost? If your answer is yes then all I can say is, me too.
I don't know how different my life would be if I had chose another path instead of writing, and frankly I don't care. When you make such a decision, you will find out that most people will ridicule you. I have been labeled a reject and worse, a freak. But, if you think for one minute I would change anything as a result of other peoples' opinions, think again.
I think that a major motivational factor for me is that I can reach similar souls through my writing. I believe it is we, that select group of willing misfits that separate the majestic from the mundane. You know that old adage, "I would rather try something and fail than do nothing and succeed". I try to live by that motto. Hopefully I'm not alone in that respect.
At the moment I am in the process of publishing my second book, entitled 'Blessings of Death'. It is written in the similar style as my first book, only it is longer with six tales instead of four. The marketing process for my first book has been dismal to say the least, But, and I dont know why, I cant accept it as anything less than a blockbuster. I would feel that way even if reality showed me anything but that. I guess that is a result of myself being too foolish to know when to quit, and if that is the case, I say, wonderful.
Call me old fashioned, but I believe if a person is pursuing something for any other reason besides passion, then they are wasting their time. And what is funny, is that is the reason most often overlooked today for doing anything!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

pleasure and pain: A horror writers journey 3

There is no greater feeling than successfully completing a piece of work that you're proud of. It delivers a euphoria that people who have not, would never understand. I have felt this way for all the 24 short stories I have wrote. In a way, I consider them my children. Even if the characters and the plots are nothing less than degenerate, thats what they are to me.
After my terrible experience with my fraudulant would-be former publisher, I had to start from scratch. To tell you the truth, I thought about giving up the idea of being a writer entirely'
But, if you give up and betray your passions, you essentially live for nothing. Needless to say, I was trying again shortly after.
It was around that time that I learned that the old adage 'If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself' is worth its weight in gold. With the help of my then-girlfriend, I went through the hurdles of what is the publishing process. It was slightly costly and time comsuming, but, in the end, I was staring at my first ever published book. "Praise the Shadows".
A compilation of four of my previously done stories, I was very proud to say the least!
Then, of course, I had to learn that the publishing process was just the begining.
If you truly want to be successful you have to know how to market a book. Something I still dont consider myself very good at. Naturally, I tried to contact several book marketers. I think I must have contacted 15-25. Of all those I tried to contact, I was responded by only one. One! Maybe book marketing companies have better things to do than to market books, I dont know.
I also have sent my book out to many different people for review, none so far have responded but people, like success, take time I guess.
Regardless of all the difficulty it has been, I'm still very happy with the fact that I'm still published (and working on my second book!) and , of course, I'm still writing

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pleasure and pain: A horror writers journey 2

Let me start by saying that if theres anyone who has ever tried to publish anything and found it next to impossible, I feel your pain. There's really no words to describe the frustration you will feel when you find out that in the writing world, publication really depends on who you know not on how good your material is.
I had completed several short horror stories (the only kind of stories I write by the way) in my mid-20's, and was looking for a way to bring them to publication. I had tried to contact several well known publishing companies via querie letters to no avail. I think I must have wrote at least 60 without so much as a simple reply. In situations such as those we truly learn the value of persistance.
Eventually I did, in fact, become published. But that was not without hardship. Through that experience I learned, the hard way, that there are probabaly just as many swindlers in the publishing business as in used car dealerships. Luckily for me, I only had to deal with such a shady individual once. And I guess I was fortunate enough to have learned from the experience but it was costly. Three years of my time, $3600.00 (which I got back with the aid of an attorney), and premature gray hairs from all the frustating things she put my through. (the false promises, never being able to get a hold of her, never returning my calls, all the excuses, ect, ect)
The only advice I could offer if you think of publishing with an independent source is to weigh out your options and dont act in desperation. It just might compound your problems.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

pleasure and pain: A horror writers journey 1

To the many of you who do not know me, let me just say I have been locked in a gruelling fight-to-the-death with obscurity for as long as I can remember. I guess writers, and horror writers in particular, have to deal with such a reality on a regular basis. For writers, there exists no middle ground. Greatness and oblivion are your only options. I, myself, have always strived for the former and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.
I don't know when I became enthralled with horror. I know the classics did it for me more than anything else. Dracula, the works of H.P. Lovecraft and poe, and a lot of the 70's and 80's horror films inspired me and continue to do so even today. As a result of such inspirations, my taste has been what some would call extreme. It is because of that eccentric characteristic that I decided to become a writer. You see, most of the supposedly horror writers back then, as well as the ones today, really were a bit tame by my standards. I think most real horror fans would agree.
To actually get the material that I considered 'adequate', I had to take matters in my own hands and that is exactly where my journey begins.