My Writing – 2016 Overview


old-cemetery-rain

 

Here’s an overview of my horror fiction writing and published works for the year 2016

 


October 31st

My most recent published stories were in Subcutaneous Magazine for which there are two of my stories in one issue.

The Room, The Woman is a very personal tale about the thought of death and the willingness of one that is ill and his want to welcome the concept of death.

After approving the first story which is flash fiction (under 1k words) the editor asked if I had any longer stories. I sent her, Wax Dolls, which is a story of witchcraft fictionally tied into a story of murder that many would find familiar.

read it for free, here: Subcutaneous Magazine, Issue 2 – Fall 2016

subcutaneous-magazine-2 wax-dolls-pic

 


 

October 16th

My modern tale, Dead Song, was published in Moon Books presents Horror Anthology – 2016, sharing company with Joe R Lansdale and Jonathan Maberry. The story is about an antique/pawn shop that comes across a very unusual item, one which evil forces desire to control.

Check it out here:
Moon Books Horror Anthology 2016

moon-books-horror-anthology-2016-small antiques-pic


September 30th

I had my flash fiction piece, Blinded, published on Cemetery Tomes. The story is only 300 words, one of many short fiction pieces that capture similar aspects of the moment of death.

Read it for Free, here: Blinded – by author Michael Thomas-Knight

bleed-room-dark-red

 


July 2nd

My existential serial killer/urban legend story, Urban Legend #9 was published in Siren’s Call eZine, issue #27. I was very glad to get this story published as a reprint after the original site it was published with deleted all their stories. It is difficult to get a serial killer story published these days but the story has enough of a nuance that helped it to get published twice.

You can read it or download the .pdf here: The Sirens Call eZine #27

sirens-call-ezine-27dark_room


June 17th

On June 17th the short story, Skin Job was released as my first stand-alone offering (with no other stories) by Pleasant Storm Entertainment. The story followed the mythology of Terry M. West’s Car-Nex creation, (Carnivore from the Nexus) and I was one of eight writers invited to create a new story involving Terry’s original ideas and concepts.

But, I’m sure you all heard enough about this during the summer when I was getting reviews of the release and posting about it here at Parlor of Horror. At times, I felt it was a little self-serving to do so, but I felt obligated to the bloggers that reviewed the novelette to provide links to their posts. I’d like to thank all of you who reviewed SKIN JOB. Despite the good reviews, it sold much less than I had anticipated and is making me rethink my path and motives in writing.

Skin Job

dragon-tat-2b skin-job-medium


I have four additional stories that were accepted into anthologies but the books have not come out yet. They will have to go into next years tally, if they are published. Two of them have been a long time waiting…

 


 

Dec. 23rd

Of course, I just posted my Christmas Ghost Story, Yule Tide on Parlor of Horror.

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Articles on Writing:

As far as articles, I wrote two very important articles on writing and getting published this year that would pertain to anyone seeking to get stories into the respected published world (not self-published).

The 5 Stages of Writing

 Publishing Terminology

 

Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Terminology

I haven’t done a post like this in a while so I figured it was due. For my aspiring writers out there here’s some basic info for getting your work published.

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Do you want to be a horror fiction writer?
Getting published – Terminology

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Terminology – I thought it would be a good idea to review some of the terminology that is often part of the submissions page and instruction for publications for which you want to send a story. Some of this stuff is pretty basic but it is important to know for someone starting out.
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One of the big questions is what constitutes published/unpublished works.
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Unpublished – unpublished work is a story that has never appeared in a public forum anywhere. That includes in any book, magazine, webzine, on the internet, on your own blog, or on a forum even if it only got five hits. Some publishers/editors will make an exception for a story that was posted in a closed group, where you have to sign-in to read the stories and is there for the purpose of critique. Writers clubs, groups, and associations all fall into that category. The idea is the general public could not read it unless they are a part of that group and would have had to sign in. Also stories in these groups are usually not searchable in search engines. I will let the publisher/editor know if my story had been posted in a literary critique group and let them decide if they consider that published or not published.
Submission
Naturally, that is the story, poem or prose that you will send in (submit) to the publication.
Call for submissions
The publications call to writers to submit work based on their guidelines. It is usually posted on their websites, on listing pages such as Horrortree.com, Duotrope and on Facebook Open Call groups. There is often a reading window with a deadline.
Copyright
is the rights that you as a writer have upon creating your story and the right to let others (publications, websites, etc.) copy the material into their media presentations.
First English Language Rights
Many publications want First English Language Rights. That is, they want to be the first to offer the story to the public for reading in English. That means they want Unpublished work. They will often want an exclusive period where they won’t want you to have the story available anywhere else for the public to read. That could be from six months to a few years.
Reprints
If a call for submissions allows Reprints, that means you can send work that had been previously printed, posted, or offered in other media. Previously published works can be submitted as long as you have allowed for any exclusive time period to end.
Simultaneous Submissions
means you can send them a story or work that has also been submitted to another publication for review. Sometimes the reading periods and wait time is long for publications. If the call to submissions includes allowance for Simultaneous Submissions, you can send your story to several publications at the same time. You have the responsibility to let the other publications know immediately if your work was excepted elsewhere. Once accepted to a publication or website, in most cases, your work will be ineligible to be accepted into other publications until two things have happened; you have let the exclusivity time lapse and you resubmit the work as a reprint to publications that will accept reprints.
Multiple submissions
Means you can send more than one story, poem, or prose to the call for submissions.
Word counts
Submission calls usually have a preferred length of story. In your word program you will have to click on word count and the program will count the words. You will have to make that count clearly visible somewhere in your submission. The call will usually tell you where to put the word count. If it doesn’t, you can put it in your cover letter or directly following your tittle and byline. Everything that is separated by spaces is considered a word. ‘a’ is a word. A street or house number is a word. (215 13th Street = 3 words). An abbreviation is a word.
Byline
is your name, writing name, pseudonym and correct representation of that name. I like to be called Mike when I’m with my friends, but when my name appears in print as credit for writing a story, I like to use Michael – every time, everywhere.
Manuscript formatting
There is a standard way that your story should be formatted. However, with the advent of digital  submissions (email and form submissions), some of those rules have changed depending upon the publication. The Shunn Format was the standard for many years, but on the submissions page there may be preferences that the publications will want different. It’s best to start with the standard format and then change aspects according to special instructions.
File types
A Word document is .doc and .docx file types. However, with the Word format, depending on your computers age and Operating System, there could be difference in how your formatting looks compared to when the publisher opens the file to look at it. I prefer to save my files as .rtf documents which helps it have a uniform visual look no matter what program it is opened with. To save as an .rtf, open your story file, select SAVE AS, and then select .rtf from the drop down bar.
Author bio
Most publications would like a short Bio (biography), perhaps one paragraph about you the writer, written in third person (as if someone else had written it). They don’t want a full history of your life. Make no mistake, the author Bio is also a testament to your writing skills. Try to make it interesting and readable to someone that has no idea who you are and probably doesn’t care. You can see a sample of my BIO on my author page here: Michael Thomas-Knight, Author
Cover letter
Write a cover letter that is simple, with no frills. Just have a greeting and introduce yourself. Tell them your story title and what publication you’re submitting to. End with a thank you.
typing
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
– Ernest Hemmingway
“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

RULES-FOR-WRITING-PRODUCTIVITY-1

Horror Fiction writer – articles and tips

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Horror Fiction writer – articles and tips

During the past few years I’ve written several articles pertaining to writing fiction. The series of articles titled, “Do You Want to be a Horror Fiction Writer” deals with ideas, suggestions and tips for writing short story fiction. I’m no expert at getting published but I thought it would benefit some to relay what I learned as I advanced my position. As I gained knowledge and had some success in getting published, I relayed the information I had learned.

I’ve gathered these articles here for reference and for you to read articles you may have missed. I hope you find these tips informative.

I. Who can write good fiction?
II. The most basic aspects to a story
III. Presentation – past tense vs. present tense and POV
IV. Know your Genre
V. Point of View – variations
VI. Getting Started – write your story now
VII. Edits, rewrites and drafts
VIII. Story and Plot/conflicts
IX. Get into your character’s mind
X. Writing Flash Fiction

 

Related articles:
Get Them Reading and Keep Them Reading

What’s in a Name? What’s in a Title?

writingtips

more to come in the future…

Short story by Michael Thomas-Knight published in Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

Kaiju Lords of the Earth - web

Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

My story, Unleashed in the East, has been chosen for inclusion to the collection of giant monster stories by JEA Press, Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

I’ve been a long time fan of Kaiju movies and specifically Toho films, the father of Asian giant monster cinema. I see these films as more than just giant monsters run amuck. I feel a correct Kaiju film has an overtone of sadness to it, often reflected in the powerful yet melancholy music by Akira Ifukube. There is always a cause and effect reason for the monsters appearance, a great foible of man that has awakened something uncontrollable. The giant monster is an overbearing punishment that mankind must endure for his wrongful treatment of nature and mother earth. There is usually a sense of duty and honor in a proper Kaiju story. A choice will be made by the story’s main character(s); a sad sacrifice to salvage the fate of his fellow man.

These are the aspects I have tried to capture in my story, Unleashed in the East. As it often happens, my story stemmed from a current event news item, a real event that I wrestled, wrangled and mangled onto a fictional tale. I’ve also managed to flavor the story with an H.P. Lovecraft style cosmic creature rather than the usual radioactive giants of early Kaiju films.

Available for Kindle and Paperback:

Kaiju: Lords of the Earth

16 Kaiju Monster stories by authors: John Ledger, Stephen Blake, Michael Noe, Peyton Pratt, Alice J. Black, R.T. Sirk, Essel Pratt, Vyvecca Danae Pratt, Amanda M. Lyons, Brian Barr, Kevin Candela, Dona Fox, E. Doyle-Gillespie, Roy C. Booth, T.S. Woolard, and Michael Thomas-Knight

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For all The Fiction Writers Out There

reading is the key

For all The Fiction Writers Out There – inspirational

For those who hope and dream – that they can be acknowledged for their creativity, that they can offer a little something more than being a lifeless automaton, punching buttons for a big corporation or picking up garbage from the curb on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Something more than spending their weekends in a neighborhood bar, guzzling beer and downing Jack Daniels shots with the rest of the zombies who have already lost their dreams. For this dream, they hope and strive for something better.

We are writers, come read our horrors!
Michael Thomas-Knight, 2015

https://www.amazon.com/author/michaelthomasknight

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Websites for writers – Everything you need to become a Class-A writer!

Websites for writers
Everything you need to become a Class-A writer!

Everything you need to become a better writer is available from informative websites and blogs to help a writer achieve greater success. Here are some valuable links to check out. From inspiration to publishing, from writing to promoting, I’ve picked some recent articles for the struggling author to read and review.

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Inspiration:

Here’s a good article at Ghosts and Ghouls to jump start the imagination of horror writers. Check it out: http://ghostsnghouls.com/2015/02/09/10-natural-disaster-hauntings/

You should definitely check out the Monster Men pod casts on Youtube. Their latest is an interview with author, Brian Moreland, but each episode is packed with fun monster and horror talk. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCySWrEt1Ua2kQ-b45R7dDrQ

Kurt Vonnegut – His thoughts on writing fiction
http://www.openculture.com/2015/04/kurt-vonneguts-8-tips-on-how-to-write-a-good-short-story.html

Open Culture – every writer should bookmark this site
Not only does this site have direct articles for writing, it has links to free online stories from many of the literary masters. Its also a valuable reference on many subjects that may pertain to your characters.
http://www.openculture.com

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Advice:

Kristen Lamb’s Blog
Kristen offers top quality articles, inspiration, coaching and mentoring to fiction writers.

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/how-writing-quickly-can-improve-your-storytelling/#comment-227213

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com

Jacqui Murray is an author, columnist and teacher with some very good info for the practicing writer.
https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/how-to-amplify-your-writing-career-or-6-bad-writing-habits-to-drop-right-now/

5 Harsh Truths for Writers is a great article from Cultured Vultures
http://culturedvultures.com/5-harsh-truths-writer/

A steady stream of advice and information articles for the writer can be found here:
http://writerunboxed.com/

here’s a good article I recently enjoyed:
http://writerunboxed.com/2015/11/16/how-to-write-through-trout-syndrome-and-electric-shocks/

Flynn Gray’s blog
Flynn offers tons of valuable info for writers and authors at his blog. He often posts a page much like this one, with a dozen great articles and links to them for us writers to read. Its quite probable that a few of the links posted here I discovered through Flynn’s posts. If you’re a writer, you should follow his blog!
https://flynngray.wordpress.com/

Cemetery Tomes
My buddy Nate offers  weekly memes and graphics on writing fiction, and he’s looking for some short fiction for the winter months to post.
http://cemeterytomes.wordpress.com

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NaNoWriMo
http://nanowrimo.org/
It may be too late to join this year but you may want to check it out for next year. If you always had an idea for a novel and have always had trouble starting it and keeping at it, joining this group will help you push yourself for a full month. See if you got what it takes to get that story down. You track your progress, get inspiration and see others going through the same struggles as you. I may actually do this next November, so I will post about it in Oct. 2016. I have resisted up to this point because I had many short story ideas that I wanted to write and have built a certain level of success with them. But, by next year, I think it will be time for me to get on with writing full novels.

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Hope you find these links helpful. Anyone who is just getting into writing or who is seeking advice on getting published can feel free to send me questions. I will try and help if I can, or at least I’ll try to send you to a website with the info you seek. Mike.

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Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Part X

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Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Part X

The Secrets of Writing Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a story form that is really short, usually from 100 to 1000 words. It is not a vignette, it is not a commentary on an event, it is a full story with a plot and conclusion. If you attempt writing some flash fiction you will find it is often harder to write good short fiction than longer works.

How I approach flash fiction writing is by breaking it into the three act story format, but I title them:

Conflict
Action/reaction
Resolution

In a flash fiction piece it is important to start your story in the conflict, or very close to it. You usually don’t want to rely on back-story for flash fiction because it will eat up your word count. You might need a few sentences but keep it minimal. You’ll want to make your story be told in one scene, one location, and in one piece.

1st act – character introduction, initial conflict, dilemma
2nd act – the action the character takes to resolve the conflict or dilemma
3rd act – The results of the main character’s action to solve the conflict and the change in the situation.

Theoretically you can do this in three paragraphs.

type

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It is important to have a great first sentence, a grabber that will get people to read your story. It should do one (or more) of three things:

– It should make the reader ask themselves a question that needs to be answered.
– It should put them in a situation that they are curious about.
– It should make them feel instant camaraderie or empathy for your main character.

The climax of the story should be at the end of the second act when the MC has taken action to solve the dilemma and the conflict is escalated to its peak. The third act should be short and bring everything back to normal, to a new normal, or to a realization of what the future of the MC will be.

Naturally, these are just guidelines and exceptions to the format always exist.

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Here are a couple of opening sentences, grabbers, that I’ve used from some of my most frequently read stories on the internet:

The moment old lady Ambrose bent over to look in my basement window, I hit her in the back of the head with a hammer…
from my story Upstanding Citizen on the Carnage Conservatory

I love the dead. Their cooling flesh, pale blue tone, and relaxed muscles produce an exquisite experience within my fingers…
from my story Aberration on microhorror.com

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Extremely short fiction can have an implied aspect to it. Much of the story can take place in your head after the story is read. Following are some examples.

The shortest stories ever written:

Ex. 1:
For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.

This two sentence piece is often attributed to Hemingway.

Ex. 2:
James woke one night in his dark bedroom with the notion that someone was in the room with him. When he reached for his glasses on the nightstand, they were placed in his hand.

Unknown author.

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“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” ― Stephen King, Skeleton Crew

“You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.”
– Larry Niven