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I haven’t written since March?  Good god.  Are any of you still out there?  I don’t blame you if you’re not.

Since March and now, I have defended my dissertation, gotten the hell out of graduate school, and dove back into medical school.  Life is far, far better than it was.  I never did finish Flatland (yes, I know, it’s like 90 pages).

Apparently, horror country/bloodgrass is its own musical genre.  I’m baffled I haven’t heard about this until now.

I’m not sure if that’s a digiridoo or throat-singing in the second one, but I approve wholeheartedly.

I’ve been writing in fits and starts, but I’ve been fighting to get to a more regular schedule.  I’ve gotten one short story accepted so far…I’ll post the deets when it’s out.  (I was told sometime this fall…so, here’s hoping.)  Its subtitle might as well be, “Here’s how the Cultist feels about graduate school!” (and I will admit I was in tears writing most of it), but, eh, I guess they liked it well enough.

I’ve got a lot of questions about horror-writing (or, more broadly, speculative fiction in general).  And yes, I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and I did find it quite useful.  But it’s not all-encompassing.  Particularly

  1. As far as I can tell, seems to be the go-to for current fiction calls.  And it seems to boil down to two classes: the calls that pay a (tiny) flat fee per story ($5-15), and the kind that pay per word (generally .3-.6/word).  The former seem much more casual and independent, and, as far as I can tell, the per-word folks seem to be better established and more serious.  Is it better just to apply everywhere and get your name out there, as beggars can’t be choosers?  Or should you be somewhat judicious?  I can see arguments for both, TBH.
  2. How can you tell if your pseudonym is stupid?
  3. Where does one find feedback?  I don’t know any other horror writers in the immediate proximity, and Stephen King seems to feel that feedback is necessary, but writer’s groups are/can be a bit masturbatory.
  4. Is there a market for people only interested in writing short stories?  It seems that people use short stories to break into the world of novels, but I think that horror novels are a very different (and frequently more disappointing) beast than short horror.  (It is far, far harder to avoid telegraphing the ending in a novel than a story–furthermore, short stories have room to be weird and inconsistent, and I adore that.)

So, I’m at a bit of an impasse right now (not that it’s keeping me from writing).  I’ll try to figure this out and post as I go.  Until then, I remain

The Cultist

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