Writing Observation: Filling in Gaps

The previous Tips From a Reader dealt with trust; so will this one. I’d contacted Alison Littlewood for an interview because I recalled liking a story she had in Black Feathers, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow. When it comes to interviews, everything is smoother if I know where to direct a conversation, so I got a copy of The Crow Garden and dove in. Side note: this book is a fantastic, enthralling, twisted piece of dark Gothic-flavored goodness. Start to finish quality writing with an ending that really smashes the brain to bits. Now back to trust. Last time it was letting a reader figure it out, this time it’s the opposite. Personally, I have done a ton of beating around bushes with re

Hello Hap, Hello Leonard

A couple weeks ago, I noticed that the first two seasons of Sundance TV's Hap and Leonard had showed up on Netflix—Canadian Netflix even!—and I decided since I’d read and appreciated most of what Joe Lansdale's work I’d read that I’d give the show a go. I’m not at all a TV guy. I watch maybe an hour of TV shows a week and those are pretty much re-runs of the monster and spook one-offs I liked as a kid. Sure, I accidentally watched the entire series Mindhunter in a day and I enjoyed Trapped over a couple weeks, hell, I almost made it through the second season of Stranger Things, but most often I watch a half-episode of something and head back to the bookshelf because the thought and originali

Writing Observation: Trusting the Reader

I finished Stephen King’s Insomnia the other night—one of the last handful or so of King’s books I hadn’t yet tackled—and an important point struck me. People talk about the reasons for King’s success… his characters, his monsters in everyday America, making a pact with a demon muse of some fashion. At least two of those points go a long cementing him as a great writer, but there’s more to it. King trusts the reader. Many of his books are long, a handful are enormous. Insomnia came in at 787 pages in trade hardcover without much paper wasted. In writing a long book, it seems, many authors have the irritating tendency to assume short memories or plain stupidity of their readership. The writer

DEAD IS DEAD, BUT NOT ALWAYS, an explanation

I love talking horror books, particularly other people’s horror books, but alas, self-promotion must be done and I’m going to get on myself for a minute. I have a standalone book coming out on April 20th. It’s a collection of seven novelette length stories, titled DEAD IS DEAD, BUT NOT ALWAYS. If you’re anything like me, you see a million nondescript titles and synopses of collections and say so what? Why do I care to read it? And it’s tough because collection descriptions don’t offer much of a window into the type of stories included, as it ain’t always easy to pin down a general consensus with multiple themes and settings. On the whole, there are recurring vibes and locales here, but not e

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