So this year has been pretty interesting. I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a writer, and have learnt more and honed my craft. The first half of this year was dedicated to writing that damned book, while in the second half I focused on short fiction.
I had 2 stories published this year, both of which I’m incredibly proud of:
Faêl published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, is a fantasy story about a witch king, a cunning moon goddess, a war criminal seeking redemption, and how their lives intersect in a climax that has been millenia in the making.
The Muse of Palm House published in The Dark, chronicles the dark history of an old colonial manor in a fictitious Nigerian town, and the unsuspecting artist who moves in there to kill himself.
Well, that’s it! Two stories in 2019 and they are eligible for all the awards. Happy reading folks!
Here’s a brief rundown of the inspiration behind this story. There’s potential spoilers here. If you haven’t read this story, go here
First came the house.
I’ve always been fascinated with haunted houses – the classic gothic dark vibes, so when I set out to write this story I knew immediately it had to feature a haunted house – but with a twist. This was not going to be your typical ghost story.
Next came the haunt.
The Picture of Dorian Gray also influenced my decision here. I thought instead of having a painting which ages while the subject retains youth, why not have an entity whose way to the wider world is through a painting? Because what is more permanent than a picture – or painting?
Third came the damned.
I had 2 elements. A house and the concept of the painting. I needed last ingredient. The medium through which the story will be experienced. I’ve usually always thought that horror is best served on an unsuspecting character. Indeed the first half of the story might not read like horror. You might think it’s a contemporary piece on an artist long past his prime seized by sudden inspiration (and you’ll be forgiven for thinking so, this was intentional). I thought why not have a main character who’s so self-absorbed and consumed with his own affairs that he doesn’t see the house for what it truly is? That he doesn’t see Lara for what she truly was?
All the pieces came together and the rest, as they say, is history. I wrote this feverishly (much as the main character’s feverish painting). I thought long and hard about how to end this story. In the end I went with the ambiguous ending, because it is horror after all, and some things are best left unsaid, or in the this case, unwritten.
I’m really proud of this story, I think it’s accomplishes everything I set out to accomplish.
I am so thrilled to announce the publication of The Muse of Palm House in The Dark. This is my second story to be published in this particular magazine.
It’s a horror story, with a haunted house and an artist and ancient entity (all my favourite things). The first half of this year was spent working on that damned novel (more on that later) and in the second half I decided to turn my attention back to sort fiction as sort of a palate cleanser after so long slogging through the same story.
I cranked out lots of stories (some have been accepted, some are still under consideration, finger crossed) and it was in this period I wrote this story. Sometime in August, to be exact. Some stories are difficult to write, while for some all the elements just fall together. The Muse belongs to the latter group. I wrote it feverishly in three days. I let it breathe for one week, sent it out to the beta readers, fixed up some clunky lines and sent it off to The Dark , and what do you know, one month later I got that acceptance!
I’m really proud of this one. If you’re curious about my thought process behind the creation of this story, go here
I wrote this story late last year (I’m thinking October) in the middle of writing the first draft of my novel. It helped me flesh out some necessary details, and get through that oh so dreaded writer’s block.
I’m really bad at surmarising my own stories (er, which writer’s isn’t? Hehe) but here’s a review I feel surmarises it fantastically.