Interview – S.H. Cooper

You seem to write pretty prolifically, do you have any tips or tricks you can share with us on how to turn over stories so quickly?

Writing is half creativity, half discipline. In order to do it regularly, you have to turn it into a habit. Sometimes that means forcing yourself when you don’t want to, sometimes it means setting aside specific time specifically to write, sometimes it means churning out stuff that will never ever see the true light of day. The point is just to write. You’ll develop your voice and find your flow, both things that are important when it comes to being able to regularly create work.

How do you come up with your characters for your stories?

It depends how how I’ve come up with the story. If I’m basing it off of an actual person, it’s relatively easy to write them out. If I’ve come up with a story based off of inspiration around an item or a phrase, I tend to build the setting first and the characters fall into place as I go based on how they fit into that setting. For example, one of my story ideas came from a charm bracelet I wear. I knew I wanted to create a creepy atmosphere that incorporated the tinkling of a bracelet, which led me to wonder about what kind of person would wear it, which, in turn, made me think about why this particular person would wear this bracelet, and boom! Auntie Bells was born.

What is your favourite thing to write about when it comes to horror?

I love wholesome horror; creepy, tense storylines that lead to a feel good end. I try to keep more traditional horror and my wholesome stuff balanced, but I still think it’s pretty obvious how fond I am of that type of story. I think it comes from an enjoyment of subverting expectations, but also just a love of good overcoming evil.

Also, who doesn’t like stuffed animals saving the day?

Where do you get your influences from? Anything you can recommend to our readers?

Everywhere. Inspiration can literally be found in anything. I find it in the people in my life, in objects around me, in random daydreaming. I’ll find myself looking at my husband, a wonderful (and handsome) man, thinking, “How can I make you creepy?”

My best advice would be to be open minded, try to look at everyday items and ask yourself, “What if?” about them. What if crows started bringing someone items? What if spiders were hanging around to keep us safe? What if a boy hangs out in an unfinished housing development and starts seeing strange girls?

Writing horror is all about taking the most normal, mundane things and trying to turn them on their heads and make them an unsettling other.

Do you have any projects coming out that we should be aware of?

I am (slowly) assembling my second anthology, which I plan to release sometime this year. Not concrete details just yet!

I am also working on outlining a few of novel(la)s; two horror and one YA fantasy. Fingers crossed that I’ll actually manage to finish at least one!

 

Are there any superstitions you have when you write? Chair has to face a certain direction? Certain music needs to be playing? Cat needs to be on lap?

It’s not really a superstition, but I do 99% of my writing on my phone. Why? Probably because I hate myself.

Your stories often contain a lot of dialogue, how do you go about keeping it sounding natural? This is something I personally struggle with.

I talk to myself. A lot. I say almost all of my dialogue aloud as I’m writing it to hear how it actually sounds when spoken. If the flow is awkward or the word choice sounds odd, I scrap what I had and try again. I also ask myself if this character, who I’ve given particular attributes to, would really use this vocabulary or colloquialism. When writing dialog, you really need to know your characters in order to make their voice natural.

What’s it like working with the NoSleep people? Seeing your stories come to life in that way must be pretty exciting.

The NoSleep Podcast is an amazing production! I’ve been very lucky to have some of my stories included since Season 7 and, every time, it’s like magic. David Cummings, the showrunner, has assembled an amazing team of talent, including a number of voice actors, producers, artists, and a composer, all of whom pour themselves into making the podcast the very best horror has to offer. On top of being incredible at what they do, they’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met! If given the chance, I would highly recommend working with them because it’s an all-around awesome experience.

I am super excited to see the NoSleep Podcast Live in March!

Any advice you’d like to give for people just starting out with their writing or to people who feel like they can’t do it?

Like I said before, it’s half creativity and half discipline. Like any other skill, writing requires practice if you ever want to get good. I’ve been writing for about 20 years, but it wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I started really sharing my work. It’s daunting and can be disheartening if people don’t immediately respond well to you work, but that’s ok! Every piece is a learning experience. If you keep at it, you’ll develop a voice and a style and learn what works and what doesn’t.

 

S.H. Cooper can be found on twitter here

S.H. Cooper has a book of short stories that you can buy here

 

 

Interview – Colin Harker

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, I mostly wrote fantasy imitative of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising series, then detective fiction when I became obsessed with Agatha Christie. I didn’t begin to seriously commit myself to horror until I turned 15 and read Lovecraft and Robert Bloch for the first time.

 

What is it about horror that made you think ‘This is the genre for me’?

When I was a kid, I was absurdly easy to terrify. Edgar Allan Poe’s tales and Roger Corman’s adaptations of them traumatized me for months on end. I read Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black in one night and wasn’t able to sleep, it haunted me so deeply. I was, in other words, ridiculously sensitive to even the slightest stimulant of terror.  Then I found an anthology with one of Robert Bloch’s stories — his blend of humor and horror really appealed to me and made the terror more palatable while not robbing it of its visceral strength. Lovecraft’s writing, both his fiction and his essay on the supernatural, was the final revolution of my metamorphoses. He articulated the genre’s philosophical and spiritual implications, its ability to open the reader up to the perception of eerie, alien phenomena outside the realm of ordinary experience, more clearly and eloquently than any writer since Edmund Burke in his transformative theory of sublime terror. All of a sudden, the genre’s power didn’t seem like something wholly chaotic: or if it was chaotic, there was a spiritual dimension to this terrifying yet somehow pleasurable chaos that I wanted to understand and harness. At the age of 15, I began to write stories that were basically pastiches of Lovecraftian horror and even though they weren’t very good, I think I learned a lot as a writer from these early experiments. After that, I began to mature into my own peculiar brand of horror, though I like to think that I still have a touch of these early influences.

 

Any tips for combating writer’s block? 

As someone who struggles with it quite a lot, especially during the editing stage, I am still working to find the most effective cure-all for this problem myself. However, I’ve found that it’s best to know when to quit the field with a project and try something different. There’s a lot to be said for returning to a frustrating project with fresh eyes rather than try and force it into submission. Another thing that I’ve found helpful is to channel your current obsessions or interests into a project: experiment with trying to write in the voice of a favorite writer, or capturing the atmosphere of a scene in a film that you enjoyed. It’s surprising how returning to early exercises in imitation that young writers engage in quite frequently can still be of invaluable use to maturer writers who have hit a creative roadblock.

 

Any rituals you have before starting a new story?

Besides, of course, making certain that I’m nicely caffeinated, I like to write a short blurb-like paragraph with the basic plot of the story so that I feel like I have something of a guideline. I don’t like to outline too much with short stories because that takes away the spirit of improvisation and can rob the process of its creative energy. Novels are a bit different — it’s good to have at least a skeletal outline of each chapter. Then, for both short stories and novels, I like to think of three or four distinct images or impressions that I want to depict in the story and write these down. I like to think of them as guiding nodes that allow me to remember vividly what kind of atmosphere I’m trying to generate. I have a very cinematic imagination, probably due to watching too many movies, and so usually for me these take the form of brief “scenes” or “stills” from an imagined production of my story. These nodes also allow me to vividly imagine my characters as physical beings inhabiting a particular world.

 

How do you handle character creation?

I find using Dungeons and Dragons character sheets helpful but it’s fun to see the many ways other people go about this.  I too find RPG manuals to be creatively stimulating! I love paging through my Call of Cthulhu guidebook for ideas on monsters and villains in particular. I find that my sources of inspiration tend to be varied: sometimes a particular actor will serve as the physical inspiration for a character’s movements and mannerisms, while a character in a novel will serve as an insight into a character’s psyche. I play “what if” a lot while I watch movies and read books and often I’ll see certain characters in fairly typical situations and wonder what that same type of character would do in a wholly unrelated situation. History, too, provides a wealth of inspiration. The villainous Judge Complin in my serial Gothic novel The Cost of a Rose, for instance, is loosely based on Thomas Burnet, an early 18th-century hanging judge and libertine, infamous for his sardonic and wittily blasphemous sense of humor.

 

Any projects coming up (or currently out) you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently working on editing a final draft of a Gothic horror novel set in 17th century Scotland called The Feast of the Innocents. It involves grisly, ritualistic murders; a sinister, social-climbing chimney-sweeper; and a young hero with a mysterious past, on the run from a bloodthirsty assassin-torturer. I’m also, of course, continuing my serial Gothic thriller The Cost of a Rose on my blog, which features a young servant falsely accused of murder and tormented and pursued by his arch-enemy, the sadistic Judge Complin. It’s all very Sadean — something like the adult, Gothic version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I am also working on several short stories — one, a reimagining of Jonathan Harker’s encounter with Dracula’s brides and the other a dystopian sci-fi horror tale.

 

How can we support your work?

Visit my blog  and leave a comment if you enjoy what you read — reader encouragement truly means so much. Of course, if you’re an agent or know an agent who would be interested in a 17th century Gothic horror tale with large doses of folk horror, grisly terror, and brooding atmosphere, do let me know!

 

I’ve noticed quite a few Silent Hill nods in your writing; do you have a favourite game in the series?

Well, firstly, thank you for saying so as that’s quite a compliment. I’ve always admired the atmosphere and masterful blend of supernatural and psychological horror in that franchise. If I had to choose a favorite game, well, that’s a bit difficult. I’ve only played through Silent Hill 3 myself, though I’ve watched playthroughs of the other games. I guess that 2 & 3 hold a special place in my heart: I love the Dantean horror of Silent Hill 2 as each character confronts some manifestation of their past guilts and traumas, but I also love the Lovecraftian horror of Silent Hill 3 which has a stronger emphasis on the sinister cult at the heart of the town’s history.

 

What about ‘gothic horror’ drew you in so much? You’re one of my favourite authors currently dealing with truly gothic tales.

Thank you so much! As you probably guessed from my Silent Hill reply, I am very drawn to horror that has a strong emphasis on atmosphere — that is, the texture of a particular setting. I think that the Gothic, with its emphasis on history, landscape, and larger-than-life characters really foregrounds atmosphere and gives it a symbolic and emotional resonance. Castles, for instance, aren’t just dwellings in Gothic novels — they’re symbolic of a dark past, of the character of their past and present owners, and of some sinister and inescapable power. Indeed, everything in the Gothic is alive with some kind of malignant power and meaning and mystery. As a kid, I was always drawn to the paperback Gothic romances that I would find in used bookstores, as well as the Gothic writings of Poe and Hawthorne. As I grew older and read the British Gothic novels of Matthew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, William Godwin, and Charles Robert Maturin, my love for the genre was confirmed. Moreover, I’ve always been drawn to historical settings, particularly 17th and 18th century Britain, and my love for setting horror tales in the past makes the Gothic a natural habitation for me. There is a stylistic attraction as well: my novel The Cost of a Rose could, of course, be set in modern times with a few tweaks and adjustments, but it would be a bit trickier to have those same grandiose flourishes of language and setting — and I think the Gothic, with its love for exuberance, gives me an opportunity to really play with prose as poetry.

 

Any advice to people just starting out in their writing careers?

Keep trying and don’t be too hard on yourself if there are times in your life when inspiration runs dry. I know that common wisdom often dictates that a writer should write every day, but sometimes due to other responsibilities or the fickleness of the Muse, that’s simply not possible. Just do the best you can and remember that there’s more to writing than getting words down. Reading history and literature, listening to inspirational and evocative music, communing with kindred spirits, is essential as well. No great writer ever writes in a vacuum.

You can find Colin on twitter here

Interview – Jackie Perez

You’re working on an adaptation of Beachworld, what can you tell us about it?

Beachworld is one of Stephen King’s Dollar Babies, stories he grants students and emerging filmmakers film options to in order to “try their hands” at one of his works. He is my favorite author (Flannery O’Connor is a close second) and I grew up reading his books and loving scary stories and horror movies.  Beachworld is a sci-fi/horror story that delves into the psyche of a woman named Shapiro who crash lands on a desolate planet of sand dunes, and whose companion Rand is going insane. The look of the film is retro 2001 A Space Odyssey meets surreal Burning Man.  King fans will find that my adaptation is very different from King’s original. One obvious change is that my version has women and King’s does not.  It’s so important to have representation on screen so I made some of the characters, including the lead, female and I’m really excited to cast their roles.  The other big change is that I completely changed the ending.  The original ended on much too happy a note for me, so I added some dark twists and more blood.  You can never have too much in a horror film!  Whether you’ve read the original or not, you’ll be in for a surprise.
Why this story specifically?
It’s definitely not the easiest story to shoot but living in LA, we’re just a few hours from the Imperial Sand Dunes which are the largest dunes in the state of California. I couldn’t pass up the amazing setting!  Besides having the perfect location for this story, I was really drawn to the theme of isolation. I used to be in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and know what it’s like to be in the middle of the ocean with no other vessels in sight or on radar. It’s a little scary even when you’re on a ship with 300 other people.  There’s no quick rescue if something goes wrong. In all the stories I write, I love exploring the types of people we become when shit hits the fan. No matter who much we’ve trained or prepared, in emergencies some people step up and others shut down. I took this story and explored what it would be like for someone who is stranded with no rescue in sight.  What type of person do they become faced with that situation?
You’ve mentioned to me that the crew will be 50% female on the project. We love this idea. Why was this important?
Women are 51% of the world’s population and yet sorely underrepresented both on screen and behind the camera in our industry.  I’m a huge believer in the phrase “if you can see it you can be it” and for way too long, women have been relegated to the back seat while men take the wheel.  It all started back in the late 1920’s when sound was introduced to films, and movies started becoming a legitimate money making industry.  Hollywood went from a town full of female powerhouses like Francis Marian, Lois Weber, and June Mathis to the female filmmaking desert we see even today.  That’s not to say the talent and experience isn’t out there.  There’s so many amazing, talented women who are great at their jobs but not enough people give them a chance to show off their skills.  I want my team to reflect the world we live in, inclusive of as many voices as possible because good ideas come from a diverse set of experiences.  We’ve spent way too long living in a world where our voices and opinions are less important, and I want to do what I can as a story creator and job creator to push the scale towards a more equal future.

You were a nuclear engineer before you became a screenwriter, I have no question about it I just think that’s really friggin’ cool.
I got to yell things like “Scram the reactor!”
You won Screamfest LA’s Best Un-Produced Screenplay. How long after the transition from Engineer to Screenwriter did that happen? I imagine that must have been validation that you made the right choice?
It was a huge validation! I actually found out about my win while I was in New Zealand on my Honeymoon.  I came out to LA right after the Navy wanting to stretch my creative side but not sure what I was going to be.  I could never think outside the box in nuclear engineering which is why I wanted a change.  I loved watching movies (especially horror) and finally recognized that it was a business and people made movies as a career.  That had never really clicked for me as I headed into undergrad at MIT, but I made several short films there after hearing Eli Roth speak at a Hostel Q&A and him telling someone to just go out and do it, film school isn’t a necessity. So I took his advice and wrote my own scripts, wrangled friends to act, and shot some shorts!
Once I made it to LA, I spent two years working in development learning the business side of the industry before I started falling in love with screenwriting.  I took a foundational screenwriting class for military veterans through the Writers Guild Foundation and decided to pursue a Masters to build my craft. I worked towards my MFA in a low-residency program via Stephens College and worked at a production company concurrently to keep learning the biz. My winning script U-666 was written during my final school year under the mentorship of writer/director Gus Krieger who taught me so much about writing horror.  It was just over 4 years from my career 180 from nuclear engineer to screenwriter that I won at Screamfest. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else!  That being said, I am still in the Navy Reserve and do Science and Engineering outreach as the Navy’s West Coast City Outreach Officer.  I am also the Director of Grants for Veterans in Media and Entertainment.  So while I consider myself first and foremost a screenwriter, I have a lot of things going on!  I love directing when I can, seeing my vision through to the very end but screenwriting I can do anywhere, anytime as long as I have a pen and paper.  The creative freedom is really freeing.
What can you tell us about the people on the crew for Beachworld?
I have such an amazing team!  We are all huge Stephen King fans and so excited to bring his story to life.  There are a lot of military veterans working on this, including our Producer Brian Campeau, and Executive Producers Karen Kraft and Rebecca Murga.  They have decades of experience between the three of them from producing for Discovery (Karen) to shadowing in the Ryan Murphy HALF Foundation and Disney/ABC Directing program (Rebecca).  Needless to say, I’m really thrilled to have their support!  I met our visionary Cinematographer Gareth Taylor at a Film Independent mixer and we hit it off over our love for King.  Lenny Vallone is another one of our producers at OneNinth and has been tremendous nailing down our budget.  Our inventive production designer Kaeleigh Morrison just came off of Glow and Criminal Minds and is a whiz with social media too!  My best friend Erin Feller is going to help capture all the crazy behind the scenes moments and unit stills, and my husband Jon Paris is a pro at problem solving, jumping in wherever he can help.  We haven’t locked in cast yet but we have started talking with some amazing actors and will be posting our cast and crew updates on our Facebook page!

What advice can you give to other people who are thinking of getting started in screenwriting?
Try it out!  Take a class or certificate program.  If you are LA-based there are so many programs you can enroll in and if you are outside of LA, there is a wealth of resources online.  Read books about screenwriting.  I have two shelfs dedicated reference books on screenwriting and directing.  I also have library cards with the LA, Burbank, and San Diego public library systems!  I’m currently reading William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade. Not only is he one of the greatest screenwriters ever, he holds a special place in my heart because he wrote the screenplay for Stephen King’s Misery!  It’s my favorite King adaptation.  Read screenplays, watch movies, and write.  William Faulkner gave the best writing advice when he said “Don’t be a writer, be writing.”  I have that on a sticky above my desk.

We love what you’re planning for Beachworld and think it’s fantastic that you’re so keen on having so many women on your crew. What advice can you give to other women who want to make the leap to horror?  
The horror community is really supportive, which I love.  Make friends in person or through social media with women (and men!) working in horror and support their work.  When you make the leap, remember that you can help create a more inclusive industry by how you write your characters or hire your crew.  You have a lot of power!  Wield it fiercely and unapologetically.  And remember, no one knows anything and there’s no such thing as too much blood.
You can get Beachworld updates at www.facebook.com/beachworldfilm and follow Jackie Perez on twitter at @jackierageperez

Guest Article from Jillian Maria

They say “write what you know,” and I do. Most of the time, it’s on purpose — I’ll draw on my own mannerisms and reactions to make characters believable, or I’ll pull on tropes that I like and subvert the ones that I don’t.

But sometimes, I write what I know without even realizing that I’m doing it.

My main project, with the working title of Songbird, just finished its second draft recently. In it, a girl named Elizabeth is kidnapped by an evil, immortal witch known only as the Mistress who locks her in a bird cage, curses her to grow feathers that slowly suck the life out of her, and forces her to sing on a stage every night.

Like all of my horror-based projects, I drew on fears that I knew I had. Cages, body horror, public speaking (or, well, singing, in Elizabeth’s case). But when reading through the draft with fresh eyes, I noticed something a little more insidious lurking in between the lines.

When Elizabeth is kidnapped, her clothes are taken from her and replaced by a white dress while she’s unconscious. The Mistress has the power to give commands that are physically impossible to disobey using only her voice. At one point, Elizabeth notes that her body hasn’t really felt like her own since the moment she woke up in the cage. The feathers turn it from a home home to a tomb of hollow bones for her to rot in. And the Mistress’s voice turns her mind against her, too.

From a young age, I was raised with the knowledge that someone could, at any time, override my desires and force me into an encounter that I did not ask for or want, leaving me feeling much like Elizabeth does in Songbird.

Now, make no mistake — sexual assault, and the resulting crises that stem from the loss of autonomy and consent, does not just happen to women. It’s something that can happen to any gender.

But from a very young age, I was taught to never leave my drink alone in an unfamiliar place. I was sent off to college with a can of pepper spray. Whenever I tell my mom that I’m going out with friends, she inevitably tells me carpool so I don’t have to drive through the city alone after dark. I am an adult, and I should be self-sufficient, but I always make sure someone knows where I’m going, who I will be with, and what time I intend to be home.

I have been raised with these expectations, with this fear, because I am a woman. There’s no way around it. Every time I mention it to my friends, it only confirms my suspicions — my female friends will inevitably share my experience, while my male friends are more often than not surprised.

I didn’t realize how pervasively that fear cropped up in my own writing until I read it. Indeed, most of the horror in Songbird stems from the absolute helplessness Elizabeth feels when confronted with a villain that she physically cannot say “no” to. It stems from the same fear that puts the pepper spray in my purse, the same fear that makes me bring my drink with me to the bathroom when I’m out at the bar.

There’s something a little disturbing about the fact that I didn’t recognize it for what it was until after I was finished writing it. It’s because I’m so used to it. I’ve known this fear for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, I even forget that it isn’t something normal, that I shouldn’t have to feel this way.

Of course, we’re making strides as a society. We’re getting better at identifying abusers, at punishing them. But I have to wonder how many generations it will take before little girls aren’t raised with the inherent fear that my friends and I have learned.

Jillian Maria can be found on twitter here

You can find Jillian on tumblr here

Interview – Kaitlin Statz

One of the things I enjoy most about The White Vault is the variety
of characters. The fact that they’re all from diverse backgrounds adds a
level of realism to a research team. How did you go about coming up with this concept?

I didn’t feel as though I was creating something new when I decided upon the characters and their backgrounds. I created the characters required to tell the story and weave an intricate story of found-footage and missing information. Similarly to your statement, I feel it is far more fictional to believe a research team on Svalbard would be filled with nothing but broody Americans!

When I was doing my graduate research, the people in the lab and the fellow students next to me in seminars hailed from around the world. Research and scientific pursuits are not limited to English-speaking countries or single-minded academic Lonely Hearts with a dark romantic past.

I attempted to create the people I’ve met, worked with, befriended, and hated.  Wonderful people all their own who would have a reason to go home, wherever that home may be.

 

Do you have a process for character creation? I personally use
Dungeons and Dragons character sheets, it’s a trick I stole from an
author friend (Charity Langley) and find it allows me to think of things
I normally wouldn’t.
 

Though I do play D&D and love the process of character creation there, I take a very different track for my writing pursuits. I have a booklet where each person is given a page, starting with simple information, and then I look at the same questions people are told to ask about their own lives.

-What are their goals?

-What are their favorite things?

-What do they want out of this stage of their life?

-What have they learned recently that will influence future choices?

I do leave some things unwritten, as I never know when I’ll need to weave in a new memory or reaction, and because I can never write down everything.

 

I love the sense of isolation and dread that the show evokes, the
episodes are always a perfect length and I usually have to stop working
(Sorry boss) when I’m listening to the episodes. Is isolation something
that personally scares you?

There are certain people I would never wish to be isolated from, and I feel less frightened of isolation than I do imprisonment. I’ve always enjoyed exploration, hiking, seeing the world, and I draw much of my inspiration from my travels. I don’t mind hiking through the woods with two or three other people, cutting us off from others and used to enjoy long solitary walks home through Swedish forests in the winter. What I fear is the bunker, the prison it creates in the storm. The idea that this may be the last place I’d ever get to see. That’s terrifying for me.

 

Do you have any special routines when you write? Certain music you
have to listen to? A special room?

Tea and quiet. A hot pot of tea on my desk or side table is the sign I’m about to sit down to write.

If I am going to work for hours at a time writing page after page, I only remember to get up and stretch when I go to pour another cup and nothing comes out.

I’m also a very heavy researcher, so I’ll try to have all my information up and ready before I begin. If I take a moment to Google a bit of information, I don’t know how long I’ll be stuck in the abyss of the Internet.

 

You also write for Liberty, which is a Science-Fiction podcast. Do you
have a preference between Sci-Fi and horror when it comes to writing?

I prefer writing horror, but I’ve written a few pieces in several genres. My preference for writing horror is why we started the Liberty: Tales from the Tower series, where I get to blend our sci-fi world with it’s own mythos of terror.  Liberty: Critical Research has some scary elements here and there, but it is far more a tale of survival and understanding.

Writing horror feels more visceral. I want to wiggle my words under my listeners’ skin, have them thinking about it while cooking dinner or when they’re stepping out of the shower on a dark night. That’s a goal, and I’ll strive to reach it. Just as a comedian wants people to laugh.

 

What is your favorite genre to read?

Horror.

To be a writer, you have to write.

To be a good writer, you have to read, write, and practice.

I read horrors, new and old, short stories to novels, and when I’m working or driving I’ll listen to horror audiobooks and horror podcasts. I’m a consumer storytelling.

But, when it dawns on me that I should take a break from horror, I tend to enjoy high fantasy.

 

Are there any tropes you actively look to avoid in your writing?

I try to avoid a collection of tropes I lump together as the ‘idiotic characters’.

It’s okay to create someone who is naïve, someone with a healthy amount of disbelief, but when faced with changes to their life they should react accordingly.
If your friend comes screaming down the hill saying something attacked her, she’s bleeding and wide-eyed, I don’t care if she’s drunk or high, you don’t wander into the woods looking for the thing. You drive her to a hospital, or lock yourself in the car until you are sober enough to drive.

When I’m writing and I think to myself ‘Why are they doing this? This is idiotic’, I have to assess if this is their only option. The circumstances have to reach extremes before intelligent adults make poor choices and I prefer to write intelligent characters.

 

Do you have any projects coming up we should be on the lookout for?

Yes and no. Season 2 of The White Vault is going to release in October of 2018. Also, we have a mini-series spin-off for The White Vault called ‘Artifact’ that will release to patrons and supporters in a few months.

As the writer for Fool and Scholar Productions, I can say that we are working on several new ideas, but they are still mysterious, lurking in the shadows until the time is right.

 

You can find Kaitlin on Twitter here

You can find The White Vault on twitter here

You can support Kaitlin’s work through Patreon here