Isn’t it cool how you can do so much with so few words?
I love it. 😁
Isn’t it cool how you can do so much with so few words?
I love it. 😁
Dainty girls break too easy.
Which is why, after the effortless snapping of bones
and easy tearing of too-tender flesh,
he craved a Stout Girl.
One with meat on her legs, a heft to her stride.
Pudgy arms, thick wrists.
Yes, that’s the ticket,
as Stout Girl bashed his head with a brick.
Just another little something I wrote – a fairly complete, hopefully intriguing story with a 55 word limit – while loosening the ol’ writing muscles for the day’s work.
I do think I’ll compile these into a collection someday. 🙃
I’ve knitted a shroud.
Or perhaps sewn is the right word.
Dollar store linen and bone-white thread beginning at my purple feet, past my arthritic knees and swollen stomach, onto my weeping breasts and blackened throat.
My knuckles knitting my sins into seclusion and shadow
once the smell becomes toxic,
I will be found.
See? You don’t need a ton of words to tell a good, creepy, screwed up story. Fifty-five words – maybe even less – is sometimes all it takes.
Perhaps I should publish a collection. 🤔
“I’m just going to tell you what I think really makes these novellas work and what makes me think Jonathan Winn is a brilliant young author. There are two things that really stand out for me. One is that Winn’s characters are fantastic, so incredibly well developed for such short works, and, love em or hate em, they make you feel something, and they make you interested in their fates. The other thing, and this one is huge for me, is that his endings are fucking perfect. Some of the hardest hitting, wickedly horrific finales I’ve ever read. Because of that, the stories stay with you long after you’ve read the last word.”
Now, on to the excerpt!
My stories do trend darker but I absolutely chose to focus on horror. Why? Because it’s limitless. I can be brutal and strange or sly and surprising. Horror is a big tent under a huge umbrella. What other genre can you turn a field of golden grass into something it’s not? Something sinister? Or a simple piece of string into the most horrific of inescapable nightmares? Or have an unexpected tattoo – one the character doesn’t remember getting – come to life, multiply, burrow under the skin and bring bloody retribution fed by guilt and regret? My imagination is allowed to run free when it comes to horror. I’m not sure it’d be that way with other genres.
You can read the rest over here.
Joe: Instead of just focusing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are?
JW: Although Eidolon Avenue stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever done, without doubt or hesitation Martuk… the Holy, my first book, is what I’m proud of and captures perfectly the surprising journey I found myself on at that time: someone discovering, page by page, that he could really write!
For someone who’d never written a short story or an article or any piece of prose fiction to sit down (without an editor or even an experienced beta reader—I was new, remember, and knew no one in the writing community) and slam out an 80,000 word novel is beyond audacious.
Is Martuk perfect? No. But it’s ambitious. A sprawling epic covering two thousand years. It’s fearless and noisy, quiet and desperate. It’s wounded and yearning, violent and hungry. Martuk may lack the polish of its sequel Proseuche or Eidolon Avenue, which is on a different level entirely when it comes to the writing and storytelling, but what Martuk has in spades is the passionate, carefree excitement of a writer finding his voice.
And that, right there, is worthy of applause. In fact, sometimes I find myself wondering ‘Where the heck did that guy go?’
You can read more over at Crystal Lake Publishing.
The other day, while writing the sequel to Eidolon Avenue, I found myself facing a familiar fork in the narrative road. That moment when, like it or not, I have to put on the page something I find abhorrent and confusing and wrong. Something painful. Something only the most shattered of souls could even think of doing. Something the story demands, that the story has been building towards, but which still makes my heart wince and my soul sob.
As I said over on Facebook:
…I’ve just ended up on a road I dread because I know what’s coming next and it screws with my head and makes my skin crawl to have to write it. The depravity and pain and wounding and heartbreak is something I simply do not – thankfully – understand or comprehend.
How do you write what you write when it’s obviously so difficult to do?
Writers, in many cases, as odd as it seems, write what they know, to some extent. A lot of creativity and imagination goes into it, of course. And if you’re writing in a different genre – romance or self-help or something – then, obviously, the arc from personal to page doesn’t bend too dramatically.
But those who write horror are digging into their wounds whether they realize it or not. Only when you touch the darkest, deepest, most vulnerable parts of yourself, your psyche, can you put the worst of the worst fears on the page. And when you write with your body and soul, you feel that worst of the worst. You feel those wounds. You write with blood and tears and dread and hope.And that’s what readers respond to. There’s a tacit acknowledgement, more subconscious than not, of the courage it took to tell your story. As if the writer’s taken a metaphorical bullet in order to guide the reader, from the safety of the page, into the dark and then safely out again.
After some thought, I suspect the above is more accurate than I realized. And that’s why I strongly believe horror is a necessary genre. And the stories we tell – as dark and f’ed up and terrifying and “wrong” and twisted and boundary-pushing and unique and brave as they are – are as widely accepted and applauded as they are.
We’re the brave ones who forge the trail and cut back the brambles and, torch in hand, show you, the reader, the way into fears you didn’t even know you had. And then help you back to safe ground. Because we’ve been there. We’ve opened the way. We dug the earth with our bare hands to make the trail. It’s our home.
In writing our wounds, we, in some way, help the reader face and hopefully heal theirs.
Then again, this could be the second cup of coffee talking, so-
I pride myself on having a strong work ethic. One of those oh my god he’s so boring all he does is work work work-type of work ethics. I write every day, often balancing several projects – all in various stages of development (active fiction WIP, outline, first draft edit, new script, script polish, etc) – at once while brainstorming not only new projects but also new ways to expand the ones I’m already working on (adaptations, comic books, graphic novels, novelizations, amusement parks).
So it should come as no surprise to say that when I sat down the other morning, coffee in hand, and brought up the Word Doc of the Day, my brain said
Yeah. Just drew a huge blank. No words. Nothin’. It was like I was looking at some foreign language I could kinda maybe sorta understand but, in the end, made absolutely no sense.
I switched to a different WIP. That sometimes work to get the gears a’going’.
Same thing. Nothing. Not even a glimmer of where I was supposed to go next on the page or what direction the story was supposed to travel now.
Of course, keenly aware of my self-imposed calendar, I started to very quietly have a full-blown – but quiet – panic attack. Started rescheduling, moving projects around, buying myself a day here, a week – maybe – there. Started feeling guilty for letting people down if something didn’t show up on time or, I don’t know, when they expected it to.
And then I did something I rarely do: I shut my laptop. Just closed it. Left the WIP alone, stood up and took a walk. A long one, actually. Enjoyed the, what’s it called again? the sun?, on my face. The breeze.
In short, I played hooky.
But my creativity demanded it. To run yourself ragged on a self-imposed – I use that word a lot because everything I do is dictated by me; I am my own worst boss – treadmill without touching base with your humanity not only stifles your creative voice, it silences it.
So, in truth, my stories, my characters, their narratives, all stood up and stepped forward to shut me up, steal my voice and get me out of the house.
And what happened when I came back?
Nothing. I took the day off. Shocking, isn’t it? 😁
But, hey, sometimes we gotta be daring and break the rules in order to get those words on the page.
Honest. Satirical. Observations.
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