Tag Archives: writing

It’s my party and I’ll release a new book if I want to…

So, two things going on today.

One: I’ve officially entered mid-life crisis territory.

Two: I’ve released a surprise novella!

We’ll not dwell too much on the former, but the latter? Well, that’s something I do want to talk about. New book’s called THE GIRL IN THE BASEMENT and it’s a crime/ horror hybrid about a young goth girl called Kayley who… well… ends up in a basement. You can grab it now on all e-reader devices for the paltry sum of 77p.

(That’s 99c for our friends in the US).

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That David Moody one is a character, alright…

More awesomeness coming up on the Wayne Simmons Fan Page…

Following on from the Pitch & Page comp with my agent, Gina Panettieri, we’re delighted to have fellow apoc-horror guy David Moody over to the page to lead a ‘how-to’ workshop.

 

David, of course, is no stranger here: he’s the bestselling author of the AUTUMN and HATER series.

 

He’ll be hosting no fewer than 3 video-led workshops on the subject of writing characters.

Don’t miss out. Get on over to the page right now by following this link!

Pitch your zombie novel directly to my agent to celebrate Zombie Awareness Month!

Great new comp is now running over at Wayne Simmons Fan Page in honour of Zombie Awareness Month and in association with my agent, Gina Panettieri.
It’s called Zombie Pitch and Page and invites aspiring writers to pitch 250 words of their… zombie novel WIPs directly to Gina.
First prize is the opportunity to pitch 50 pages to Gina for further feedback. Runners-up prizes of FLU and FEVER audiobooks will be given out courtesy of the good folks at Tantor Audio.
So what are you waiting for? Get on over to the fan page for more details!

What I’ve been up to…

 

So, little on the quiet side around here. Which is weird because life’s been pretty noisy. I just haven’t been telling you about it, which is rather bold of me. So let’s give you a quick update on where things are:

 

NOVELS

I’ve a few balls in the air, novel-wise.

First of all there’s a sci-fi, entitled PLASTIC JESUS, at contract stage. Been dying to tell you more about this one and hopefully will soon be able to. Stay tuned…

There’s my current WIP (that’s ‘Work In Progress’ for those who don’t speak Geek). It’s vamp horror/ thriller/ revenge thing. Real nasty piece of work, not a sparkle or emo in sight. Not even gonna tell you the name of this one. It’s all very top secret. Sitting around 2nd draft stage and weighing in at a still-lean 60K. More news to follow…

Also, I’ve a slasher horror thing, set in New Orleans, which I’m co-writing with Bizarro author Andre Duza. It’s an 80s/ drive-in/ gorefest/ homage piece. We’ve been batting it back and forth to each other for about a year now, having a whale of a time. Name of this bad girl is VOODOO CHILE (Hendrix pronunciation of ‘child’). Should be wrapping on the first draft very soon.

Finally, with the novels, I’ve got a hard-boiled crime thing called EX. I talked about it for that whole ‘Next Big Thing’ round robin: you can read more here. It’s sitting at 2nd draft stage around 50K. It’s next on the list after I wrap on the other two.

Then I’ll put the FLU series to bed.

 

EVENTS

I’ve got a few balls in the air, event-wise, and should be able to confirm some more signings very soon. The main event this year will be the SCARDIFF 2013 horror con, which I’m coproducing with Fantasy Events (in association with Shock Horror Magazine). More details, including a website coming soon.

 

REVIEWS/ PODCASTING

Fellow Irishman and all round horror mover & shaker, Colin McCracken, has foolishly welcomed me over to his ZOMBIEHAMSTER site, where I co-host the podcast and write reviews/ features. It’s all horror and genre stuff, mostly independent with some vintage.

Click the links at your leisure to check out some of my reviews/ podcasts to date:

 

ZOMBIEHAMSTER PODCASTS EPISODES 1-5

WEBSITE REVIEW of SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY

WEBSITE REVIEW of SUBSPECIES 1 & 2

WEBSITE REVIEW of THE INSIDE

 

So, lots coming up.

That’s it for now. Hope y’all have a great weekend and stay safe.

(Anyone going to see the new EVIL DEAD?)

 

THE WRITE CLUB: Joseph D’Lacey on Editing

Okay, here’s a brand new feature on the blog. Once in a while, I’m going to have someone from the publishing industry (writer, editor, publisher, agent etc.) over to the blog to talk about a particular topic of interest. Hopefully, this will help demystify the industry for aspiring writers as well as draw your attention to key people within the world of genre fiction. 

Kicking us off is fellow horror hack Joseph D’Lacey on (din din diiiiiinnnn!) EDITING…

 

Life-saving Surgery: a word on editing for the improving writer

by

Joseph D’Lacey

 

I’m not talking about lancing the infected spot which could have ruined your looks forever or the operation that ensured your brain stayed in your head the night you got drunk and fell off your pushbike or the time they stitched your little finger back on after you lost it in a bet.

I’m talking about the most relevant survival procedure in a terrifying and threatening world. I’m talking about editing – the only surgery that actually gives you a fighting chance in this overcrowded world of wannabe authors. Imagine the competition as the zombie hordes and you’ll have an idea of how many people out there are trying to do what you’re doing.

Short term, you can’t beat the undead multitudes by trying to improve your writing. Your ability to write can only improve marginally, no matter what you study or how many hours you put in.

However, your editing skill will mature and improve significantly throughout your entire writing life. If you want results fast, if you want to rise to the top of that pyramid of the scrabbling dead, let the writing sort itself out and concentrate on editing.

FACT: If you don’t have an editor, your work will not be of as high a standard as that of a writer who does.

The best editor is the one your publisher assigns you. If this hasn’t happened for you yet, don’t panic. There’s no way around it other than to be your own best editor until you have the good fortune to work with one. The way to do that is to rework each piece you write several times. A lot of several times.

5 crucial editing passes: 

  1. Cut for flow. Does the story slow down, wander off, become cyclical for no good reason? Is it cluttered with extraneous description? Lose everything that interrupts a smooth read.
  1. Cut for form. How does your work look on the page? Is it blocky and dense? Go back and look at your paragraphs. What does each passage do? Does it have a purpose? If so, can it be shorter? Break up long blocks of text into smaller paragraphs. Create white space on your page. Make it simple and inviting. Remember, before it’ll ever get as far as an actual paying reader, this fiction of yours has to convince an editor it’s worthy. [NB: Self-publishing your work? This rule is even more important for you. With no editor, the likelihood that you’ll entertain or satisfy a reader is greatly reduced.]
  1. Cut for clarity. Is there something here that might cause a reader to pause or reread a section? Is there anything, anything at all, that isn’t easy to understand? Rewrite or discard it. If you don’t, you risk losing your reader’s attention. If that happens, chances are they’ll never pick up a piece of work with your name on it again.
  1. Cut for pace. Is the story moving along in every section? In every sentence? Is there always a reason for a reader to want more? Pace should create a domino effect; one incident falling into the next – even if they’re unconnected by time, character or setting – creating a desire in the reader to keep reading. Anything that unnecessarily prevents or slows this chain reaction has to go.
  1. Cut for relevance. You know that beautiful description of your character’s mother in a flashback? That’s probably the most amazing prose you’ve ever written. People will read it and think ‘Fuck, I’ll never write as well as that.’ No. Actually, they won’t. They’ll never even see it. Because if it isn’t part of the story, if it doesn’t propel the story forwards, you’re going to take a big, dirty cleaver and amputate it. This is a story. This is fiction. Put that beautiful, now pale and bloodless limb in the meat locker and use it in a poem some other time.

 

There are many editing passes you should make – for structure, grammar, consistency, spelling, character motivations, story arcs and dialogue – but the five I’ve detailed will do much to raise the standard of your work without you even thinking about your actual writing ability.

If Wayne will have me back, I’ll talk about the Blood Fugue re-write next time, detailing the exact nature of the cuts and changes made to a novel I believed was waaaaay beyond ready for publication. The ensuing edit turned out to be among the biggest writing lessons of my life.

 

Joseph D’Lacey is best known for his shocking eco-horror tale Meat, a widely translated novel which prompted Stephen King to say “Joseph D’Lacey rocks!”.

Other works include Garbage Man, Snake Eyes, The Kill Crew, The Failing Flesh and Splinters – a collection of his best short stories. He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 2009.

His new apocalyptic fantasy Black Feathers is out on 26th March in The USA/4th April in the UK.

Follow JD’L on Twitter, on Facebook and on Goodreads