Welcome Scribbler Fans! This one is for any fellow writing Scribblers out there or perhaps for anyone interested in giving it a try. I don’t feel I have any place in giving others advice but I can try to lead you to where you can get some so that’s what I’ll do today. This is a resource I stumbled on quite some time ago that you may find helpful as I have also...
Writing is a lonely task, I don’t really think of it as a job since I’ve hated every job I’ve ever had but I love writing. It isn’t easy as a writer you’re constantly questioning whether you’re any good or if it’s all just shit. Unfortunately most of the time it all just seems like shit as Cult can attest to as much as I can. No one will ever criticize my work as much as I do myself that’s just the way it is. I know that what I write and what Cult writes is never going to appeal to billions of people, that isn’t in the cards no matter what you write. If I’m ever lucky enough to get my book published (hopefully more than one) even if it was somehow a #1 bestseller I would still think it’s total trash but, in a way, that’s a good thing because it keeps me striving to do better, to come up with better ideas, to write something sicker or whatever but most importantly... it keeps me writing and pushing forward. When I first began writing my thoughts weren’t on making a bestseller or even on getting published, my initial inspiration was far different.
The first tale I wrote was intended to be just a couple pages to see if this was something I even wanted to do, I did. No one has nor ever will read that one but it lit a spark, I began to think… maybe I can do this. I began to think maybe just maybe I could be good at this or at the very least do something that I didn’t absolutely despise doing just for the green demon that sits on all of our backs. From that first tale that I wrote longhand (yes, I prefer that but my beat up hands just can’t take it anymore) I started another and then another but as it tends to do life got in the way and my writing went on hold. However that spark had been lit and there was no putting it out, the proverbial genie was out of the bottle and he was one nagging SOB. So after a lot of procrastination coupled with a considerable amount of thought I had an idea and it wouldn’t go away no matter what I did until I sat down and began writing once again.
So what was that idea? Well there are two things I absolutely love, “two great tastes that taste great together” to quote Reese’s, horror and metal so I tried to think of a way that I could bring them together to my satisfaction. My thinking was/is that a song is a story all it’s own of sorts so I didn’t want to just tell the same story in long form. More often than not what songs I love conjure up in my mind are different than what the song is about anyway so my thought was to just write the story a particular song brought to my head rather than what the song was already about. My initial thought was to do a few dozen stories putting them together in a collection which I have done but when I began writing I found that my thoughts/ideas didn’t generally come out in brief two or three page tales but rather were well… just the way I write which is to say, in general, not short. Also when I first began writing I did so with no concern for “rules” I just wrote. The “rules” are pretty specific on word counts, a term I had never thought about, as to what constitutes what is considered a short story, novella, novelette, novel, etc. Everything I’ve written so far, to me, are short stories but with strict adherence to the “rules” most are in the novella category and that first tale I sat down to write ended up being just a couple pages shy of technically being novel length but I don’t care it’s still a short story to me! Damn The Rules! But if I ever had hopes of getting published I decided perhaps I should go learn more and see if there was any way I could conform at least slightly.
It was this research that led me to what I have found to be just an excellent resource for any writer regardless of what you think your skill level may be. That resource is a site called The Horror Tree. Writer Stuart Conover posts friendly writer advice and encouragement to keep us all going which you can take or leave as you can with any advice from anyone but sometimes hearing about someone else struggling with their inner demons is enough to let you know that no, it isn’t just you (or me in this case). It’s up to you if you follow the advice he gives at times or not but you should at least be able to glean some encouragement from it to keep going, I know I have. Aside from advice he also posts open submission calls for magazines and book anthologies for everything from poetry to short stories. This is the tool I used to help me keep word counts in mind as I tried to tell a story. I’ve submitted several of my works though sadly none have been accepted which is one reason why Cult and I started Thy Demons Be Scribblin.
It is difficult to know if your work will fit in with what any particular publication offers. Sadly we live in a far too PC world with YA (young adult) fiction being what most outlets want so that they can try to sell to everyone from pre-teen to their grandma. I don’t have a problem with that so much as a business model, their point is to try being profitable, but where does that leave anyone that doesn’t have a PG-13 mindset? I don’t write for children, I write for fellow adults who can handle seeing the word “fuck” without getting a look of shock and awe washing over their fucking face. I write horror not Twilight bullshit romance (my apologies if that’s your thing it just isn’t mine). I write for the kind of people whose eyes go wide taking in the brilliance of someone getting sawed in half with a chainsaw not for the ones that look away. If you find SyFy movies scary my writing probably won’t be for you, however, if like my Scribblin partner Cult you think of Bad Taste or Cannibal Holocaust as the great comedies of our time then perhaps you’ll be more interested.
So I’m kind of prattling on here but seriously if you write the only advice I can give you is don’t do it for the money or accolades or you’ll find that a journey to frustration. Instead try to write something you would want to read. You may be one unique individual but there are those out there with the same interests even if they are harder to come by. Do it for yourself first and foremost then worry about finding an audience later. Also don’t undervalue sharing it with others for their opinion. Cult and I do what we do because we want other people to enjoy it. I don’t see the point in hiding my work away where no one will ever see it. No, I want everyone with an interest to be able to see it, read it and be entertained by it. At some point someone will come along and tell me all I do is pure garbage and to them all I can say is, “Fuck you! No one forced you to read it!” If you have that attitude you’ll do just fine. I’m lucky enough to have a few people that will give me an honest opinion on my writing and not just tell me something is great that isn’t.
Finding someone that will be brutally honest with you is important and don’t get all butthurt when someone does because it’s the only way you’ll get better. I’ll admit I had the person that is that person for me proofread my book, Tales From The Abyss (which I'm still waiting to hear back from publishers on so shameless plug if you're a publisher, "Call me we'll talk.") before I started submitting it to publishers and thanks to her brutal honesty it is something I am more proud of now than I was before. How honest was that person? Well a story that I thought was one of my best when I wrote it is now not even in the book, I pulled it. It was honestly my favorite until the many flaws were pointed out to me then I was just embarrassed I had thought it was so good. Yes, it hurt getting that opinion but instead of crying and getting all butthurt I looked at it with new eyes making the decision to pull it and rewrite it rather than embarrass myself keeping it in out of some foolish pride an easy one. Pride doesn’t fix what I know I can do better so now it will be rewritten and be infinitely better for it.
Well this went on longer than I had intended. So that is the key advice I have for you: write for yourself, keep writing and find someone that will be brutally honest with you and don’t cry like a bitch when they do. Hopefully that helps someone out there and if not, well... I tried. So I’ll let you all go now. If you write check out The Horror Tree for better advice than I can give and for all those potential avenues to let your hard work be seen. Or you can always say “To Hell With It!” like Cult and I did and create your own site as an avenue to get your work out there. Do what makes you happy and fuck the naysayers. Now I’ll shut up so you can go read some of Cult’s and my Scribbles or you can go create your own. Until I think of something else frivolous to say… FEIND OUT!
**For some better advice from real writers again check out the Horror Tree or check out a good long time friend of mine, the writer/artist Kevin Hurtack at his blog Gunsmoke & Ghouls.
I sincerely doubt that helped anyone so let me know how much of a total douche I am in the comments below. Til next time Scribbler Fans!
Feind created this page to bring you random Scribbles about new music, TV, writing or whatever happens to be on my minds.
Like what we do here? Help The Scribblers improve by supporting the arts.