Interview, NaNoWriMo, horror striken, mental juggling


Scratching your head yet?


*checks her notes, tries to be serious*

Fellow science-fiction writer, science geek and worldbuilding master JENO MARZ is featuring an interview with me on her blog today. Check it out! It’s about inspiration, coming up with names and titles, learning curves and thoughts on the publishing conundrum, and madness. Writing is always about some form of madness. The writer’s, the characters’, the world’s. Madness, I say!


Come to think of it…

What’s the scariest, creepiest, most haunting story you have ever read?

What’s the creepiest thing you’ve ever experienced, or thought of? Did you write about it? Would you like to?

After finishing The Deep Link, and harvesting plenty of useful beta-reader feedback, I am taking some distance from it, since it’s been my only major project over the past… *closes eyes, counts on fingers* … 4 years. I need to write something else. Another novel. Another world.

So for this year’s NaNoWriMo (because why the hell not? it’s certainly encouraging for a perfectionist to see so many others killing their inner editors in a blood-drenched drafting frenzy) I will write the first draft of my new novel: THE LIGHTSHIP. It’s horror science-fiction, set in the far future, with a micro cast of just 2-3 characters. It’s claustrophobic, frustrating and terrifying, and in the end, most likely disturbing.

But the truly horrifying part about it? It’s in omniscient present tense.

*ducks behind desk*

*peers above it, to check if anyone laughed and pointed*


I never make things easy for myself.

You might have guessed that I’ve already outlined it, done some worldbuilding and character development, and experimented with tone & voice. Thing is, I tried writing it in first person, third person, past tense, present tense, taking different stabs at various tiny and wildly inconsequent moments just to see what felt natural, what felt right for this story. And I was frankly surprised to realize that omniscient present tense turned out to capture its vibe best.

Or rather, I can unravel this story in omnicient the best.

(I hate it when people claim the characters, the plot, or the world write themselves, as if some creepy-ass muse-demon possessed them and shoved ideas out their throats and fingers. “Oh, look, this scene practically wrote itself, isn’t that cool? I have no idea what’s going on! The characters just take me along for a ride, whee! Where’s my pills?”)

It will probably end up being written in a mixture of various POVs, a collection of snippets and moments that document what’s happening on that ship, but the overarching approach will be omniscient. And for a horror novel, I think that might work really well, don’t you?

And if you wonder why I’m writing horror now, YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL.

I love horror!

It’s even closer to my heart than science-fiction (if that’s even possible). In fact, the two are quite inseparable in my mind. The best and most awesome of things happen if I let them frolic and fornicate.


*sits back at her desk*

So, what’s the creepiest thing you’ve ever done? The biggest fear you’ve ever conquered?

I’m very wary of omniscient. And mixing several different styles and approaches into a single novel. During the NaNoWriMo madness. It makes my palms sweat just thinking of it, and it makes me all giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to start writing it!

Curious what it’s actually about?

(if not, just skip to the comment section and tell me what horror book or novel scared you out of your wits)

Here’s the temporary log line I cooked up for THE LIGHTSHIP:

A clone, solely engineered to keep a dangerous alien species in quarantine on its homeworld, starts to lose control of the Lightship he lives on and of reality itself, as a far greater horror than the aliens takes over his life.
 Now tell me what your horrors are!

13 Replies to “Interview, NaNoWriMo, horror striken, mental juggling”

  1. There are two great horror tropes for me, one personal, the other spiritual. A short story I wrote demanded I visualised my son as a small boy and something terrible happening to him. I hated doing it – as if I was somehow creating a retrospective curse (a horror story in itself) But the result was powerful. Horror on innocence is powerful. Ref the spiritual, I think the reason why The Exorcist was so powerful (apart from the special effects) was that it took the Devil seriously and I think that resonated with both believers and non believers.
    And now I have an unrelated question for you: How do you rate Peter Hamilton’s Void series? I’m a sucker for the 99p kindle daily deal, and the only way I can avoid spending more money than I should is just reading the ‘one star’ reviews. But I thought I’d get the opinion of someone I respect 🙂


    1. You make me feel all humble and ablush. 🙂
      I haven’t read the Void series yet, but I trust Hamilton’s skills with worldbuilding and characters fully. He’s a bit long-winded, but never boring, and his stories have a way of digging themselves into your mind. They’re unforgettable, as ideas, adventures, and collections of unraveling fates. I’d rather buy Hamilton (or Simmons) than many other science-fiction writers.

      I’m emotionally calloused when it comes to all and any horror. That is, I was, before I became a mom. Now, if I allow it, horror involving children (especially their separation from any source of help or understanding) really gets to me. So I can totally imagine why writing about your son would make you jittery.

      I loved the Exorcist (even as an atheist), because of precisely the same reason you mentioned. It was a first for me to see a horror movie (never read the book) take the Devil and posession so seriously. And the effect was amazing.

      My favorite horror movie, if anyone’s curious, is The Divide. No demons there, no others than those lurking at the heart of each human, just waiting to come out when the circumstances are just right. Or wrong enough.


  2. Thanks, Vero. Last of the ‘big spenders’ in Wales will invest £2.97. (actually it’s the time as much as the money. You tend to forget how many unread books you amass on a kindle 🙂 I’ll also check out The Divide


  3. I don’t have particular things that scare me. (Okay, humans scare me with their hatred and killing each other, and we see that every day. Nothing beats humans and whatever pain and torture they can inflict on their own kind and anything else. NOTHING. Human mind is terrifying.)

    But speaking of fiction, written word does not scare me at all. Disgust — yes. Though, in the movies or games (my hub is a fan of survival horror) I hate sudden jumps out of nowhere, with loud music (which scares me). When my ears are plugged, it’s perfectly fine, whatever is going on there. Tap me on the shoulder and I’ll probably stick a pencil in your eye, if any is nearby. 😉

    Also, I like closed spaces — I’m the opposite of claustrophobic. Tho I hate high places and old, unsafe elevators (not because of the closed space). I developed this fear in mid twenties. 😀

    Personally, I don’t enjoy horror genre (save for a few classics) as much as I want to, because I’m not entirely engaged in it. My mind sits on its sofa and says: nah, this is impossible; nah, this is unlikely; nah, it’s just blood and guts, whatever; nah, implausible; nah, the probability of this happening is zero; nah, this doesn’t exist… and so on. And so I’m just skipping pages.


    1. It’s the human factor in horror that most appeals to me. i.e. I prefer psychological horror to “classic” horror with ghosts, demons, monsters and ritualistic gore. To me, horror is that which shows how the human mind devolves and decays into madness, perversion, corruption or bestiality.

      “Tap me on the shoulder and I’ll probably stick a pencil in your eye, if any is nearby.” –> LOL


      1. The strange thing is, if I *know* it’s fiction, even if it is psycho torture, I enter the ‘safe mode’ of some sort, probably to save my mind from emotional trauma because I have so little resources to operate myself. and then I start to root for the antagonist, whatever/whoever it is.
        If protag survives, I’m a disappoint. 😀


  4. That certainly sounds interesting! I agree that sci-fi and horror go extremely well together (I’m a big fan of the Dead Space series).

    I’m really bad with supernatural horror. My overactive imagination there always leaves me dying in horrific ways.


    1. I’ve played Dead Space just last summer. Liked it, but the gameplay took a lot of the horror factor away from me because I’m not a fan of first-person games. Good concept, though.

      I used to love haunted house stories & movies as a kid, and as I grew older, began to love the posession & intersecting dimensions tropes. The scarier, the better. It’s only as a grown-up (har-har, never actually grew-up, my hubby would say) that I’ve come to like psychological horror more.


  5. In the written word horror doesn’t generally scare me. It also doesn’t really appeal to me either. Spent too much of my youth actually terrified to enjoy doing it for fun, I suppose.

    Creepiest thing I’ve done is had a bucket of live centipedes crawl over my hands and arms. An attempt to get over my gut reaction of ‘ick’ when I saw one. Did not work.

    Greatest fear I’ve conquered was once a crippling fear of heights. Part of it still bother me. I’m okay with planes, helicopters, roll-coasters, but I can’t stand step ladders. At least now I’ll get on them.

    I can’t watch horror movies though. They seriously freak me out. Something about combining the visuals and sound gets to me. Same with video games.

    The worst is the snapping of bones. I’m familiar with the sound. Every time the noise it makes me flinch.

    This totally off topic, but I’m surprised that ‘scenes wrote themselves’ bothers you. At times I have moments where it feels as if I channeling the character. I do realize this not reality, not that crazy yet, but it feels that way. I do understands sounds like self delusion. : )

    Please excuse my weird grammar my index finger is sprained and making it annoying to type. Every words is followed by profanity at this point.


    1. Sprained fingers suck. My left thumb was sprained (and hurt like crazy) for over a month. 😦

      Bone-snapping… that’s a horrific sound. It can also create a great effect in fiction. 😉


  6. Is the “far greater horror” by any chance a hyper-intelligent telepath? I think it would be interesting to read a story from the POV of such a being; it would definitely make sense as an omniscient narrator, at least. And if said being were of malicious intent (i.e. an antagonist who can see the hero’s every move), it could give an eerie tone to the narration itself.

    You could even plausibly write in omniscient first person in such a scenario, so long as that first person was actually participating in the story somehow and not just passively observing. (How many novels are there that are written from the POV of the antagonist?)

    I have no idea if that’s what you have planned, but you made me think of it. Good luck next month!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s