The Writing Process – Blog Tour Interview

Ethan Nahté

What am I working on?

Currently I have my hands full, as usual, with multiple irons in the fire. When I’m not working at my regular job for the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, which includes writing and editing our bi-monthly newspaper, I try to get in time to work on my fiction and screenplays.

I have a screenplay I am currently revising with hopes that a particular agent who has an interest will be willing to accept the script and shop it around.

Otherwise, I am focusing primarily on two different anthologies. One is a zombie anthology which is close to being finished. It’s an original collection of four or five new short stories and what will probably be a novella that I pitched to one of my publishers. With any luck that’ll get snapped up.

The other anthology is a collection of several previously published stories which the rights have reverted back to me, plus two unpublished stories so fans who might already own the majority of the other anthologies I am in will be getting something new. In addition, each story is going to have a piece of art to go along with it. I have most of the art taken care of, but I am still seeking an artist for a couple of pieces. Any artist interested can contact me on my brand new author site http://www.NahteWords.com for details. I’m hoping to debut the collection at FenCon this year, but we’ll see what happens.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write in a wide variety of genres, so that’s a little difficult to say. Since I primarily write horror I will stick with that genre in saying that when I do use blood and gore, and at times I use the two in vast quantities, I don’t utilize it simply for shock value. The vivid, horrid descriptions have a purpose.

I also tend to throw in history, even with my horror, so there are a lot of factual tidbits in my stories. Or, in the case of “Ripping Jack,” all of the victims, locales, and the places where the body parts are found in the story are according to Scotland Yard’s reports. I just filled in the details of how the victims met the killer and came up with the reason why he was never heard from again.

Finally, I don’t always write in what I would call the Hollywood style. My stories don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the villain or monster lives and justice hasn’t been served. That may seem closer to Grimm’s Fairy Tales or even some Asian ghost stories, but I write what I want and everything doesn’t always pop up rainbows and lollipops.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do to get it out of my head before my mind explodes. Seriously, I’ve been the creative type all my life, be it a musician, working in TV/Film, journalism, photography, or writing fiction and screenplays. I have to be busy doing something creative and letting it flow or it would drive me mad. I’m sure if I existed during the times of Chaucer I probably would’ve been a bard or minstrel in addition to writing stories. I’d be the one telling stories about the one-handed knight with a meat hook gauntlet for a hand around ye ol’ medieval campfire.

How does my writing process work?

I don’t know if I really have a process. It basically boils down to when I have some time and feel up to it I write. I generally have multiple projects going at any given time so I jump into the middle of whichever strikes my fancy at the moment unless I have a deadline and need to make a particular project a priority.

A lot of times I will have a dream which I wake up from and either jump on the computer or, at the very least, pick up a digital recorder and record some notes so I won’t forget the dream. If I have actually started a story or screenplay I tend to mull it over as I go to bed. I use my brain more or less like a VCR, I guess I should say DVR, and play what I have written out in my head then I continue the story from there as I fall to sleep. The next day I write what I dreamt. Basically I direct the story/screenplay just like I would a movie.

If I am writing historical fiction, regardless of the genre, I spend time doing all types of research, be it online, reference books, or speaking with knowledgeable people. Then I assemble those notes, build an outline and go from there.

Once I have finished writing and I do the initial spellcheck I print the story out and read it aloud. I tend to find things spellcheck overlooked or parts of the story (i.e. plot, pacing, or dialogue) when I read aloud. Sometimes I think maybe I was smoking banana peels when I read something that doesn’t work or make any sense. I’ll make notes, rework the story, send it to a couple of beta readers I can trust not to be apple polishers and pick their brains. Then maybe I’ll do one more revision before sending the story to a publisher.

With the variety of projects I keep going I am never at a loss for something to do, which boils down to I have never had writer’s block. If I need to think of what to do for a story I simply go work on something else to free up my mind instead of stressing over what needs to be done. Sometimes I jump on guitar or my synthesizers and jam a little to get my mind working in a different manner. That tends to let my subconscious work. Then when I go back to that particular point in the story it all comes to light and I can write whatever idea popped into the dark recesses of my brain and move forward.