I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I was writing short stories even before preschool at four years old. In junior high and high school, I spent most of my time writing original horror anthologies and fan-fiction. It wasn’t until college when I became serious about writing and publishing my novels as well as writing for the silver screen. My first “professional” novel is called Massacre’ade Party, originally published in March 2012 and will be republished this month.
Massacre’ade Party follows a financially struggling surfer, Eric, and his best friend, Jesse, as they try to uncover the mystery behind the death of their colleague in the seedy underbelly of the West Hollywood nightlife.
I pursued this particular topic because I felt like almost anyone could relate to it. The economy is weak and people are struggling to afford even the simplest necessities. One thing we all need to survive is love, which can’t be bought. The characters in Massacre’ade Party are faced with difficult decisions. Some have it all, while others are forced to choose between the two.
One of the biggest obstacles I faced when trying to publish this novel was trying to get publishers and agents excited about the topic. Mainstream fiction receives so much attention and editors are always trying to find the next Harry Potter or The Hunger Games that it saturates the market. They ignore the untapped needs of genre-fiction fans and the writers.
Another obstacle I came across was trying to find beta-readers and editors who understood that I don’t write mainstream fiction, which follows a very specific story structure, but genre-fiction, like horror and murder mystery, often has a slightly different structure. Structure is very important for every novel, but it’s also important for the writers and editors to both understand that structure is not the same for every genre.
One thing that helped me was continuously reminding myself why I wrote this story in the first place. Making money should never be a writer’s goal. It should be about your passion. In this story I had a message I wanted to share with readers. I wanted people to know that heartbreak is inevitable, but love is always worth fighting for.
Since Massacre’ade Party has been published, I’ve been inspired to turn it into a series featuring re-occurring characters in a stand-alone plot. I’m also in the process of editing several horror novels I’ve written and I’ve got hundreds more I can’t wait to write.
My best advice to struggling writers is to never give up, read everything you can, and do your best to accept (and genuinely consider) constructive criticism. It’s nice to hear good things about your stories, but that won’t help you. The bad stuff is what you want to hear. You can’t fix it if you’re unwilling to hear it sucks.