My Note: Erin is plainly one of the most exciting current writers of weird fiction. I was pleased to receive a response from her on Facebook a few years ago when I designed the site to attract fellow writers, editors, and publishers. She was nice enough to read a collection of mine, and I was thrilled when she let me enjoy her wonderful short story titled ‘Spoiled Pets.’ I noticed right off that this was a rich voice in the genre, filling scenes with atmosphere and wonderful detail. I next bought ‘Diane’s Descent,’ a novella that is ultimately satisfying, especially considering Erin’s superior descriptive ability.
In Erin’s post she mentions our running conversation concerning more comprehensive grammatical, structural, and thematic issues, all that I am familiar with as a result of years of work as a professor of English. What she doesn’t talk about more specifically is the crucial help she has given me on my own particular journey. The most memorable for me, was a couple of years ago when I hit a snag writing my (now) upcoming novel ‘Phantom Effect.’ I sent her the first two chapters or so and her encouragement remains one of the reasons it was continued and brought to conclusion. Thank you, Erin. You are simply awesome. So, pick a plot, put up a marker, and etch something into the stone!
Writing on Your Feet
I’d like to begin by thanking Michael Aronovitz for inviting me as a guest blogger on his site; he and I have had many an online chat about the subtleties of writing, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of his work, including his book of chilling and memorable short stories, The Voices in Our Heads.
This blog is largely about my own writing process. When I’m creating a new story, I prefer to do it in an undisturbed location, where I can focus on grammar and plot development in peace. However, as a mother of two young children, this isn’t always practicable. Believe it or not, I’ve literally done a great deal of writing on my feet. My laptop sits upon a sideboard in a central location; I often compose my plots and develop characters while simultaneously playing referee, fielding questions, and dishing out snacks. It’s chaotic, yet at the end, the finished product is neat and orderly.
Of course, this does not happen without a healthy dose of editing. This is usually done in a quiet place, after the kids have gone to bed. My goal is to submit a story or manuscript that is as good as I can make it, and I read each sentence carefully. The ones that seem a bit strained, or that don’t flow, are either altered or eliminated.
Above all, I strive to constantly improve the intricacies of my craft. Michael has helped me with this from time to time, in his capacity as a fellow author and as a friend. His experience as an English teacher makes him an excellent advisor, and his tact ensures that the feedback he gives is worded in the most diplomatic way. This is crucial, at least to me. I’ve received some truly terrible advice from people who weren’t qualified to give it, and dismissed both them and their input accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you’re stuck, or requesting an honest critique of your work, but I can’t overstate the importance of finding the right person to assist you.
One good method, especially if you’re aware that your interlocutor has published something, is to read his or her work for yourself. Try to choose someone who reads and writes in your own chosen genre, since they’re more likely to give an assessment of your project that takes into account other examples in the field. You don’t need to make every change that is suggested, but the ones that will improve your writing should be given serious consideration.
Keep the soul of your work intact. Preserve its spirit and essence, yet clothe it in words that flow harmoniously. Read it aloud, and see if the phrasing would be appealing to anyone who didn’t personally know you. Once it’s trimmed and polished, send it on its way, and begin your next project.
One of my books is being given new life as I write this. Behind the Wheel, a collection of short stories which was previously self-published, has been picked up by Great Old Ones Publishing. It’s slated to be released in May, and features a full-color, commissioned painting for each tale by artist Robert Chipman, of Ocean Moon Creations. This same publisher accepted another illustrated book of stories from me last year, titled Losers and Their Friends, which is available through Amazon.
My Facebook author’s page – www.facebook.com/authorerinthorne
My Amazon author’s page, with complete bibliography available for purchase– www.amazon.com/author/erinthorne
My website –www.erinthorne.org
The site of Robert Chipman, the exclusive artist for Behind the Wheel and one of the contributing artists for Losers and Their Friends – www.oceanmooncreations.com
The site of Great Old Ones Publishing – www.greatoldonespublishing.com
Erin Thorne is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. She writes primarily paranormal fiction, and is the author of Diane’s Descent, a supernatural novella set in a rural New York town, as well as Deals Diabolical, a collection of eight spine-tingling tales. Her latest book, Losers and Their Friends, was released by Great Old Ones Publishing in 2014. Ms. Thorne is also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association, a regional organization composed of authors who specialize in horror and dark fiction.
Her work has been featured in Adventures for the Average Woman (now IdeaGems Magazine), Reflections of the End (Author’s Choice Select Anthologies), and Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification. She also has a story in the debut anthology from Tenebris Books, Willow, Weep No More. Her short tale, “The Bug Lady,” appears in the anthology, Bugs: Tales that Slither, Creep, and Crawl.
Visit her website at www.erinthorne.org, and her author’s pages on Amazon and Facebook: