Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Origins of a Horror Writer

In my last post I said I wouldn't give too much information about myself too quickly. After giving it some thought I came to the conclusion that I might as well get it all out of the way so I can concentrate on current goings-on.

This post is going to be quite lengthy so bear with me. I hope it doesn't bore you too much - but then, most of you (if you are writers reading this) would probably relate to how I came to be a writer.

The first half of my life was spent in Ballarat, Victoria and like most pre-teen kids I had an extremely active imagination. In those days it didn't take much to feed it, especially when my older brothers hired a lot of horror movies from the local video shop - Poltergeist; The Madman; Friday the 13th; Cujo; The Slayer (I could go on and on). My brothers would also tell me ghost stories and scare me with this doll where you stuck on his facial features (I've based a story on those events and I'll tell you about it another time). All that stimuli resonated with me and scared the hell out of me for years. I had no idea that all of it would get buried deep within my subconcious, influencing what was to come later on in my life.

During early childhood, I was also plagued by nightmares. Ask my Mum and she'd tell you about the countless nights I would wake up screaming. Once I had calmed down I would sit up with her and watch old TV shows like Prisoner, The Professionals or Hart to Hart (eek!)

Around the age of seven or eight, I caught the writing bug (what kid didn't?) My Mum noticed this and bought me a beautiful blue Olivetti typewriter complete with yellow paper. I loved it. I would pound out stories that made little sense, but I had fun with them regardless.

Flash forward to my high school years. I went through high school at Wycheproof in central Victoria and during that time my teachers told me that I had the potential to become a good writer. This was encouraging but when I left school my desire to write vanished - I had no idea why until thirteen years later. I went straight into the workforce, moved down to Bendigo, started a brand new life, went from job to job and finally met the girl of my dreams in 1997. I married her in 2000. I had finally settled down and built a wonderful life with my soul mate. Then one day in 2004, a strange thing happened, it completely caught me off guard.

I woke up with a little voice inside my head saying, 'It's time to start writing.' Weird, huh? So this idea for a short story came to me and I sat down and began to write - it felt like the most natural thing in the world. After hand-writing furiously for about an hour my first serious attempt at fiction was born, a 2,000 word story about cause and effect. I named it 'The Prophecy.' It felt like I'd received my calling in life and I knew then that writing was what I wanted to do.

So then I thought to myself, how can I find out if I have the goods to go further with this? The answer was: go to Tafe and do a course. I enrolled in the Short Story 1A & 1B course at Tafe in 2005. It was a night class and there I found the encouragement and support I needed to unleash my potential. Receiving a competency with merit assessment told me that I would have a future with my writing and I ended up winning my first award for a flash fiction story called 'The Tram' in the first half of 2005. My experience at Tafe cemented my self-belief and gave me the knowledge to launch my own writing career, to fulfill a dream.

After the course finished I was worried that I couldn't cope without the valued support I was used to receiving. It turned out that I worried about nothing. I actually got published earlier this year in FlashSpec Volume 1 and words can't describe how that felt - I was elated (and still am.) Then I got several micro pieces accepted by Flash Shot in Canada. So with my ever-growing confidence it's enabled me to start work on my first novel (I'm already 7,500 words in and I haven't looked back). I've also submitted stories everywhere I can think of so I do keep myself busy in my spare time. I'll keep you posted on how the novel's going and where I'm at with my current projects.

Phew! Wasn't that a mouthful? Now you know how I came to be a writer and what drives me. Next time I can talk to you about everything else instead of boring you with my personal history. Talk to you soon.

1 comment:

McBean said...

Hey Chris. Nice to see you blogging. I think all writers can relate to your story - when the writing bug bites, you gotta go with it. Best of luck with your writing. Brett.