Posted on November 6, 2008 by Flames
Our ongoing Horror Design Essay Project has a new contribution today. Horror author Paul Alabaster offers a peak into his creative writing process and gives us a look at what he has in store for the future…
Chasing His Nightmares
My love of stories came from my mother – Jacqueline. I always remember whilst tucked up in bed, my mother reading me bedtime stories of Winnie the Pooh. I would listen with eager delight to what misadventures Pooh Bear had gotten himself (and his ever-forgiving friends) in to. Another beloved treasure I adored my mother reading to me was C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
When slightly older and discovering reading for myself, the ingenious and treasured Roald Dahl was my number one source of escapism, amusement and general delight!
For my love of Horror, I have my father to thank – Huw. My love of horror however was not initially born through books, but through movies. I remember waiting one evening for my father to come home from working down the coal mine and seeing, by accident, a scene from the movie Alien on television. My fear of monsters was born! I then remember sitting on my father’s lap aged around five and watching the movie Jaws (my fear of sharks was born!)
In later years I began to piece my love of stories and hunger of horror together, by discovering authors such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris.
I think my early experiences of watching horror movies and reading tales that made the shadows in my bedroom seemingly come to life had a strong influence in projecting me to want to create my own tales of horror, fantasy and terror.
I seriously started writing around nine years ago when I finished college and was heading to University to study English Literature. Before I put pen to paper (or should I say fingers to keyboard), I had been doing years of research through my escapism in books and movies in the thriller/horror genre. This is something all artists need to do and not just escape in their own niche, but embrace all types of art – books, films, art, music and drama.
To fine-tune this wealth of knowledge, I emerged myself in a mass of critical essays and articles about the genre I had fallen in love it.
My first writing venture was Corinthia’s Cancer – a modern ghost story, followed by Living Art – a psycho/thriller story – and while I treasure these early stories, they remain to be my building blocks – working and playing with concepts of the horror genre, applying and developing characterisation, plot, atmosphere, pace and much more. Like all artists, writers must play with their tools and ever develop their craft.
The first piece of work where I felt I had fine-tuned my skills as a writer was The Pink Room. Here is a blurb of the concept:
What turns you on? What would you do if every time it rained, you became sexually aroused, yet at the same time, an unnatural urge to take someone’s life surfaced. Walter Manning suffers with this exact problem and has done so ever since he saw a prostitute being murdered outside his bedroom window as a young boy. Now, as an adult living in the rainy city of Seattle, when the rain falls, the body count rises…
In my final year of University, I chose to do a creative writing dissertation and utilized The Pink Room to my advantage – I already had the creative piece done and dusted and simply needed to write an accompanying reflective piece. Happily, I received a first for my dissertation, with very constructive and supportive comments from my assessors.
Since The Pink Room, I have completed two further novels, Dolly Carter Island and Trauma. I am currently writing my sixth novel The Condition. Trauma was entered in to a writing competition hosted by W.H. Smith’s, for which I received a cash prize! My first writer’s payment!
In nine years, I have only allowed a select few to read my work. In my opinion, this was not a bad thing. I think most artists are their own worst critics and by arguing myself (often repeatedly) allowed me to fine-tune things without a number of different people guiding me in various directions.
Of the select few who have viewed my work, some have been publishers and agencies. I have always received warm feedback, but the crunch has always been a problem with the marketing angle –publishing is big business and an investment in a writer always needs to be given some series thought. All writers (even the great Stephen King) have encountered piles, boxes, sometimes an entire room, filled with rejection letters. So far, I am on one box…
In order to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to launch my own website that could showcase my work – thus increasing my audience and proving there is an keen interest and place in the publishing market for my work. In February 2008, www.paulalabaster.co.uk was launched. The site has extracts of all my work and will soon be showcasing some of my short stories.
The site has had a good number of hits and some great comments have been left on the blog section – for which I am truly grateful.
In February 2009, a year since the site was launched, I will be contacting publishers and agencies once more, and I am hoping the marketing angle won’t prove a problem this time around. The dream is for my work to be taken from the screen and made in to an actual book to be found in bookshops all over the world! In order for this dream to become a reality, I need your help!
So, if you really want to make my wish come true, please visit the site and if you like what you read, please leave a comment on the Blog – there are also many topical articles to comment on too!
Happy reading and I hope to hear from you soon!
– Paul Alabaster 10/08 –