Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekend Writer: Reaching for New Writing Experience

I love Halloween and my spouse adores it. She runs around singing "the most wonderful time of the year," drives all over town looking at the decorations, and gets excited by scary stuff. On Halloween we used to do an event in our house called "Scary Story Night." Friends stopped by with a short story they liked and I decorated for the season and set out yummy treats. We all gathered around and read or told stories for hours. It was a great event. Writing cut into our ability to host a party, but scary stories still play a part in our lives.

Naturally, when I had the chance to participate in the anthology "A Halloween Whodunit" I jumped at the chance. This year I was offered the chance to participate in a new Halloween anthology. This time the theme is first response was but I'm a mystery writer.

Sarah tells me that I have a talent for writing horror, particularly when writing stories from my life. She reminded me that I had won a contest for writing micro fiction Halloween horror and creep-ed out my friends with my scary story night contributions. What does that say about my life?

Seriously, horror stories are hard for me to read, let alone write. They give me nightmares. So when I was asked to write a Halloween horror story for an upcoming anthology, I paused for a few minutes before saying "yes."

Why "yes" when it is hard work to write horror?

Because I love the holiday...because writing this story forces me to hone my skills in new ways...because Sarah was invited too and I love being in anthologies with my wife...because my editor asked me to contribute...but most of all, because any story that can give me nightmares should be one the readers enjoy.

For me, writing is all about the readers. I don't want to be Emily Dickison, hiding my work away. I write with the intent to be published and the hope of being widely read. I love meeting and hearing from readers. Nothing pleases me more than having someone tell me this story is the best one I've ever done. That challenges me to reach for the next level. If I can make each new writing experience a great reading experience, I've succeeded. So if you're into creepy, stay tuned and we'll let you know when this year's Halloween anthology arrives.

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