No one talks about the research…

Actually, they do. Lots of them do. I tend to avoid those conversations because I don’t like to be distracted by research. A lot of my stories tend to be based on anecdotal experience and not proven facts, because that is how I live. My experiences are my own, even when other people have them as well.

In fact, there’s been more than one time in my life where I have that “I thought it was just me” moment. Sometimes it is a blessing, sometimes it is a bummer. Depends on the situation.

But research is both. I hate having to take the time away from the flow of my writing to look up that one word or object or something that I *need* for this part of the story. But it usually isn’t something I can just skip over, either. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a pantser (as in they who fly by the seat of) and not a prepper. I don’t do the research ahead of time. I brew stories in my head, and when they start boiling over, they go onto the paper.

I’ve tried to explain this to more than a few people over the years and often, I’ve gotten that same look from people. You know the one, it says, “That seems like an awful way to do things.” And maybe they are right, but this is how it has always worked for me.

I don’t say that as in “this is how it’s always been, why should i change?” I have tried many different ways of writing. This process works best for me. But I digress…

I just finished the first draft on an 8k story submission and thought I would share the things I bothered to stop and look up. Mostly because I find it fascinating all the things that come together in a story:

  • Population density in cities
  • Average square space of a city
  • Emergency first aid
  • Symptoms of blood loss
  • Handyman tasks
  • Storefronts (pictures of)
  • Blinds
  • Leaded glass
  • Grip tape
  • Firefighter’s helmet
  • Fire ax
  • Ax or axe
  • Work shirts
  • Padlocks
  • a host of synonyms and antonyms after the fact

…and I’ll be honest, a majority of this research was all for minute details for a single scene. A ridiculous amount of detail that most people will simply move past as the tension builds. I’m not offended, it’s what has to happen.

Writing, like filmmaking, is supposed to look easy. You want the audience to think about the story, not the amount of work you put into it. If they’ve been thinking about how much research you did to come up with that one object a secondary character is holding, then they’ve lost the story and you’ve lost them.

Anyway, I hope to have more news on this story in the near future. For now, you’ll have to be entertained by your own imagination.

Round 2… #flashfictionchallenge


On top of a glorious Farewell to Summer camping trip, this past weekend was also Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

“But Andy,” You might say to yourself. “What about Round 1’s results?”

I’m glad you asked.

Round 1 went far better than anticipated. In my group of 35 writers, I managed to place 4th. The feedback was bolstering, and I hope to have as good (if not better) news from the judges after Round 2 concludes.

It’s a scary proposition: of 2100 writers, only 300 will move on to Round 3. I’m confident that I submitted my best 1000 words for the challenge, but really all I can do is hope my stories are good enough when compared to the competition.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, I have lots of typing to do before Round 3 starts.

The long wait for House of Thirteen is almost over…

Actually… it IS over. Technically.Copy in hand

House of Thirteen, Book One is now available for pre-order for Kindle! The official release date is Halloween, but you can order your copy now to be delivered to your devices as your very own personal trick or treat from me. The book will also be available on Halloween, but those can’t be set for pre-order. If you are planning to buy the paperback, e-books will be automatically discounted for you to acquire the matching set.

Can’t wait for Halloween to get your reading fix? I also have a new story out in a horror anthology. Tales of Horror on Halloween Night – curated by the amazing Samie Sands – is out now for Kindle and paperback.

I hope your Halloween is going to be as exciting as mine!

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

Back in early March, I announced a fundraiser I was taking part in. Since then, the fundraising has continued and I am happy to announce that you – yes, YOU – can help, and help yourself… because who doesn’t like stuff? Continue reading

Story time!

I am not a semi-finalist in the Write Michigan short story competition. I am however, excited to read these competition pieces. The judging opens up to the public later today, but you can start reading now. As promised, my submission is below. Make sure to take time to visit the Write Michigan site… it’s hard to pass up 30 short stories begging to be read. Continue reading

As Promised… sort of.

I promised an update, though I have to admit that this is not the update you were looking for. There was supposed to be an update today so that I could give you an update, but Michigan weather being what it is through a monkey wrench into the plan. Continue reading

Let’s get this year started.

You can say what you like about the weather lately; it’s been pushing the cold and dreary around here. People have lost a little of their holiday luster and are ready to move into the warmer months, but for me… this is where it all begins. Continue reading