|A curious little story I wrote when I was eight. It involves Christmas tree ornaments and a Pac-Man game that ate them. Even at eight, I was kind of a freak.|
|A weird little mix of one-page stories. I was really just feeling things out here, playing on a lot of the old horror genres, seeing what I could do. None of these stories are very good, but a lot of themes I explored when I was 11 or so are still prevelant in my current work. |
Ah, the good old days.
|More of the same one-page stories. I kept these in blue composition notebooks I "borrowed" (heh heh) from science class. Around this time, a guy in my computer class wanted to collaborate with me on some stories. What really happened was I wrote the stories and he drew some (fairly bad) illustrations. Live and learn, I guess.
"The Squirm" (based in no way on the horror film of the same name) ws the genesis of a much later story called "Helminthos," which I wrote in my junior year of high school. THat was also the year I rewrote "Bait," with less satisfying results. I had some good ideas way back when, I just didn't have the capacity to explore them. Yet.
|Ah, Summer 1989. I graduated from middle school. A girl in my class sang "Wind Beneath My Wings." And I got a typewriter. Yey me!.
I started off typing up my blue-book stories. I remember being fourteen, and marvelling at how official my words looked to me. I wasn't yet prepared to write anything longer (writing long stories has always terrified me), I was on my way.
"A Hunger for Meat" was a story I forgot about for a very long time. Seven years later when I wrote "Trained," I had no idea that my ratty little story was being rewritten, with elements of the radio thriller "Three Skeleton Key" thrown in for good measure. It's weird what sticks in your head.
|Later in 1989, I decided to bite the bullet and write some longer stories. (I also decided to illustrate; bad idea.) Having the typewriter freed me up a little. Even though I didn't really know how o type, even pecking at the keyboard with two index fingers was faster than scribbling in my blue books. By this time, I began to realize what my stories could be, if I stuck with them long enough. It was a good feeling.
"Luna: The Lycanthrope's Chronicle" marked the first time I wrote about werewolves, a motif I would return to again and again in my work. I don't know exactly what triggered it, but here is where the fascination with werewolves (and dual natures) began.
|First Line: As we sat in the classroom, I thought maybe we pushed it a little far.|
I was dating a girl named Karen when I wrote this story. She'd read a lot of my one-page short-shorts and some of the longer ones. When she read this one, about a teacher who goes insane and kills his students, she said this was "far more mature." I'm not really sure what she meant by that, but I took it to heart. I still sort of like this one.
|First Line: "I am lying here now, on the mattress in my room which I call a bed."
I considered this my first "real" story (not my first "adult" story; that came later.) A science fiction story along the lines of The Day the Earth Stood Still, with lots of misunderstandings. As you can tell by my first line, I still didn't have the best hold on grammar yet.
|First Line: "Ed Maxwell was a miner, and at one time mined gold for a large gold mining company."|
Jeez, I see that first line and I cringe. Redundant much, Kev? Regardless, this was my first story published in a semi-professional magazine (Stone Soup, the school lit mag.) Seeing that it's your name in a byline never loses its thrill.
|I wrote these three stories in one quick fit during sophomore year of High School. I group them together because they all share the same problem: they suck sewerage. Also, "Snookey's" and "Garth" are lost. "UPS" is just a silly story; I had a completely off-the-wall concept (UPS truck KILLS PEOPLE!) and I tried to construct a story around it. It didn't work too well. I'd use this technique later on in '94 trying to cure writer's block. You'd think I would have learned.|
|First Line: the first 6 pages are missing, sadly|
"Captain Solar" was a lot of fun to write. It started out being a few little jots down on math paper in study hall. Before I knew it, this little story about comic books and dead fathers became kind of long. Eventually, I rewrote the whole thing down on notebook paper, but I've since lost pages 1-6. The rest, though, is still pretty okay stuff, especially given I wrote it when I was 15.
|First Line:In the beginning, there was nothing.|
Oh my GoD, how embarrassing this book is! That's right -- book. This was technically my first novel, begun in November of 1990 and completed in May of 1991. Now, honestly, it's not as bad as it could have been, but what strengths it has in its inherent story, it has that much more derivitiveness. I've never read or seen such a carbon coby of Stephen King's IT in my entire life. Six kids, each with magical powers, go on to fight the Ultimate Evil, with a Mind of Darkness.
I guess it's good that 1) I can look back and laugh and 2) I got better than this.
|First Line: "Bradley Conners had thought it was a good day thus far."|
"Behind Locked Doors" was my first adult story. I don't know how I came to this conclusion at the time, but it still seems right to say that. It was the first time I remember something giving me an idea, rather than my coming up with something out of thin air. In this case, it was walking past a bank in the city I now live in and wondering what would happen if someone got caught in the heavy revolving door. This is where my adult writing career began.
|First Line:"Larry Cardula was once a straight-faced man with no enemies and no friends."|
"Identity Crisis" was a very important story for me. In junior year, I turned this story into my teacher, Mrs. Publicover. At lunch later that week, she came up to me and asked me if she could read it aloud in class. Stunned, I agreed.
Hearing my words coming out of her mouth was amazing to me -- all the kids reacted to it, everyone listened to my story. It was a truly electrifying experience for me.
|First Line:"'To imagine is everything,' said a man named Albert Einstein once, and I usually tend to agree.|
My attempt at humor in a horror context. This was also printed in Stone Soup and read aloud in class. The problem with this story is that I couldn't really decide if it should be horror or not, so it either works both as straight horror or humor, or fails as both. Still, it's one of my favorite titles.
| First Line:"Sarah McEntire looked both to the left and right of her, deciding which one to buy."|
The final "read-aloud" story, and my most effective. My first "Evil Christmas" story -- and there would be many, many more. Originally, there was an unecessarily gory coda tacked on this tale. In later drafts, I've omitted it.
|First Line:"Tom again felt the burning in his stomach."|
My first brush with bad editing: I wrote this story as "The Empathic," a short one-page story about a kid with a very strange talent. When it came out in Stone Soup, the name had been changed to "The Empathetic," which was wrong in this context. It didn't really matter; later on, I revised this and changed the title completely (see "The Weeping of the Dead.")
|First Line:"Janet Johnson had never had a flat tire in her life, so she really wasn't sure how to handle it."|
A simple one-note story that only warranted an A- in class. It's basically a Psycho-genre tale with no mother. My favorite part is the sound a person's head makes when it's being bonked down a set of stairs. They called me a weird kid for a reason
|First Line:"Alice, Jack, and Jared swam out of the water, using only their hands as their legs were useless."|
Short-short about mermaids, inspired by a picture we had to write a story about in school. Not my finest moment.
|First Line:"Yesterday, Randy walked up onto the flagstone and called for another meeting."|
George Orwell must be rolling in his grave. I wrote this story about dogs taking over the world after a massive virus destoryed humanity without having read Animal Farm yet. It wasn't very good, but it was interesting to use a first-person point of view through a dog's eyes.
|..which means "the attic window" in French. This was a revelation to me: a chance to write horror in a way I'd never really explored before. I was taking a class called "Alternate Worlds" and in the class we studied different types of genre fiction. One type was The Gothic, and when we got the assignment to write in a style we had learned, I chose that one. Except for the ending, this was, at that poitn, the best thing I ever wrote. (Later revisions proved to be even better, but still the ending sucked pond water.)|
|The culmination of everything I tried to say in Junior year. I took the theme of friendship I explored in Mind of Darkness and narrowed it. I still kept the whole "Loser Club" idea I learned from Stephen King as a central theme, but I somehow made it my own in this. Plus, I experimented with a first-person female point of view, which has always been a little difficult for me. Even though some of the dialogue is clunky and the mechanations are a bit contrived, I love this one very much.|
the bad year
|More to come...|
|More to come...|