Not much to say


My mom turns 60 today. She won’t read this, but … happy birthday, Mom.

I’ve decided to go ahead an pay my dues to stay in the Horror Writers Association. It was conversations with and Lisa Morton that changed my mind. Of course, my dues are late, so I’ll pay online Monday or Tuesday, when the next freelance check arrives. Nick didn’t know he was helping make up my mind. He just offered advice on other stuff and I wouldn’t know people like him if not for my HWA membership. If you haven’t heard of Lisa, go visit her site. She’s a busy lady.

I have even more respect for Kelley Armstrong today. It’s due to a funny post she made on a private board, so I won’t go into the details. Once again, though, let me highly recommend her work. She creates some of the most engaging characters I’ve ever encountered, and I’m not saying that just because some of them are werewolves.

Oh, here’s a piece of writing advice. I was working on revisions/rewriting The Prometheus Syndrome last night. In this particular chapter (remember, written in about 1988 or 1989) I’d tried to build suspense. The characters are escaping the bad guy’s place. Every freaking little detail was spelled out. He walked to the car. He got in the car. He turned the key. That kind of stuff. The idea, I think, was to lull the reader prior to the baddie stepping out of the trees. But it was just maddening. I put away the editing scalpel and brought out the axe. The big one. The advice: We don’t need to see every minute movement of a character, so find some other way to build up to the scare. Unless you want to wait 16 years to realize you’re doing things wrong now.


0 responses to “Not much to say”

  1. I’m glad I was able to help you, Steve. If I’d had to put money on your decision, I would have bet on Not Renewing Membership, so color me pleasantly surprised!
    As for building in suspense in writing, I’ve found that what builds really good suspense is roadblocks, not being lulled into false sense of security (though that can work in more visual media like film). If Bad Guy is sneaking up on Good Guy, you don’t want Good Guy just getting into his car like it’s any old day. You want him dropping his keys, stopping to tie his shoe, whatever. Something that makes the reader go, “Oh, man, get a fucking move on!”

  2. Though not quite in the same vein, the same thing happens to me when I’m creating a piece of art. I’ll end up with all these elements, that ultimately clutter everything up and at some point it always seems like I just start throwing shit away and frantically scratching things out and then like magic, it all comes together.
    You’d think I’d have learned to keep it simple by now, but it seems that I haven’t. Perhaps it’s just part of the thinking process for me. Maybe for you as well.
    Who the hell knows…

  3. Though not quite in the same vein, the same thing happens to me when I’m creating a piece of art. I’ll end up with all these elements, that ultimately clutter everything up and at some point it always seems like I just start throwing shit away and frantically scratching things out and then like magic, it all comes together.
    You’d think I’d have learned to keep it simple by now, but it seems that I haven’t. Perhaps it’s just part of the thinking process for me. Maybe for you as well.
    Who the hell knows…

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