So a writer pal of mine, the very cool AJ Spedding (have you read her stories? No? Well hell, man, you should!), tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Chain. Thanks ever so much, Mrs Spedding (look out, AJ! A Clown’s behind you! Oh, he’s just ducked down out of sight)…

Anyway, the way this works is, I’ll answer the following four questions and put them up on my blog on a Monday, then I’ll tag three other writers into the process for them to upload their answers to their blogs the following Monday, where they will then, in turn, tag another three authors each, and so on, and so on, and so on. It’s a great way to see how others approach their writing.

So then, the questions – and answers:

1) What am I working on?

A series. Books 1 and 2 are complete and I’m working on book 3 now. It is a pretty wild, explosive, action-packed and perhaps controversial series that has been a challenge to write. And it has certainly gone off in a direction I didn’t envision when I began this journey. At first, I thought it was a simple conspiracy adventure with a dash of lunacy thrown in for good measure, all dodging gunfire along the way, but then that conspiracy changed, morphed, grew darker and more supernatural. And then things began inhabiting this added darkness, creatures that turned mankind against one another. So now it involves someone almost 200 years old on a mission to expose the deepest, darkest secrets of mankind for the lies they are, and he is willing to sacrifice the world for his goals. Hell, at this stage, plotting the outline of book 3, he has sacrificed the world!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think my style is perhaps more reminiscent of older styles, utilizing setting and everyday objects to install a sense of escalating tension and terror. I enjoy slow burning horror, stories that slowly ramp up the tension and suspense until you’re well in the midst of it without realizing how deep in you are, and how intense it has all become, until you put down the book and go away. To me, that has so much more merit and excitement than other forms of the genre. Not sure if there’s still a place for such styles, but I hope so.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because I’m a freak who loves the horror genre! Because the ideas that come to me are all of a dark bent. And because my muse is a shifty sideshow chap… I don’t know why I’m drawn to horror but I am – although in saying that, I don’t really go for the gross-out, blood and guts extreme kind of horror, but more the psychological stuff. I love the sense of being safely scared, and in letting your imagination go wild, go wherever it wants to go, and as far as you’re willing to let it go. It’s escapism, pure and simple, and it’s fun.

4) How does my writing process work?

For a long time, I’ve struggled trying to write more than one story at a time, but some advice I was given by the fantastic Michael Knost recently has led me to try a different routine. Before now, I would only focus on my current writing project, be it a short story or a novel, and work on that until it was completed and sent off. This, of course, doesn’t lead to high productivity, especially as it has been taking me close to a year to write a novel! It’s not that I don’t have a lot of time to write, because I do, and that’s perhaps the problem. My day job is such that it affords me a lot of down time that I can spend writing. But with such freedom comes such procrastination. It’s almost as if the more time I have to write, the less writing I actually do.

So the plan of attack now is to set aside one full day a week to write a short story (when I’m not on a rig). I’m going to treat that like a proper job and put in a good 8 hours work. The rest of the week will go towards working on novels/novellas. And there’s no longer any problem with procrastinating, because now I have deadlines to work towards, and I always work so much better with deadlines. A bunch of my pals recently got together and created the Black Friday Wager, a group of artists all trying to meet self-made goals. They way it works is, we each have a goal we want to achieve, so we wager with someone in the group that we will complete set goal before the next Black Friday. We then settle on a suitable reward or penalty for success or failure, and we’re off. For me, I have to complete the 3rd book in my series before Friday the 13th in June.

And hopefully, along the way, I’ll get to knock out a couple of short stories, too. No, no hopefully about it! I will, damnit.

So I’m going to tag Kathy Ptacek, Cameron Trost, and Big Dave Schembri, to keep this going (if they haven’t already done so).