I’ve spent a lot of this past week wondering about which direction I want to take my writing as I get older. I’m coming up on sixty next January, my enthusiasms have changed, markets have changed, publishers have come and gone and the whole writing scene is a very different place from the one in which I started out in the early ’90s.
This is a stream-of-consciousness ramble as I sort out some thoughts.
I used to call myself a horror writer, and for a while, up until around 2007 anyway,I think I was, mostly, although I forayed off into swashbuckler territory in the Watchers series. Most of the markets I was selling stories to back then were small press horror oriented ones.
But about ten years ago, I started selling to pro paying markets, and a subtle change happened. My work became more science fiction and fantasy than horror, albeit always including supernatural overtones. And the stuff that sells for me now leans more into the science fiction and fantasy arenas than the straight horror side. The Invasion, for example, is my best selling work by quite some way, and my best pro story sales have been mostly to science fiction markets.
Alongside that, there’s the pastiches. The Holmes, Carnacki and Challenger books were all great fun, and I’ve started selling short stories, Holmes in particular, to big publishers. With that, and the new Carnacki, and ghost story collections coming this year, I’ll probably continue writing shorts in this vein for a while, although I want to veer more away from the pastiches towards doing my own thing.
I’ve been considering writing more sword and sorcery, as that has been a love of mine since childhood. But I’ve taken the Augustus Seton stories down off Amazon. It’s been a year since any of them sold a copy. It’s also put a dent in my enthusiasm to write in this genre. However much I enjoy it, there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for it in short form at the moment.
However, last year I also wrote a fantasy novel for the Rowan Casey Veil Knights series, and I had a lot of fun with that. It loosened me up and got me into a flow that felt natural. I want to try more of that kind of material.
As for the short form literary horror side, I look at other writers in that arena, and I know they’re better than me, better able to articulate the horrific in literary terms whereas I bring on the monsters and let them rampage. I don’t think my future lies in that direction. However much I covet more success there, it seems to be getting ever further away from me.
So what I think I’m coming round to is that I’ll be concentrating more on long form work with science fiction or fantasy elements, and short form historical supernatural stories.
I think I’m about to embark on a fantasy-tinged novel using my sigil and totem mythos, so we’ll see how that goes.
Thanks for listening. 🙂