This horror blog’s a little late in going out this week as I wanted to ensure that I’d finished my treat for you all – another audio story from ‘Defiled Earth’ – Possession at 3,000 perforations a minute.’ If you missed my last audio story, ‘Head’, you can still find it on my YouTube channel here . For this week’s’ story, I decided to tighten up the tale first using a newly discovered online editor, Prowritingaid. The story hasn’t changed as such, but hopefully you’ll hear the difference in the skinnier sentences and the ‘Hemingwayisation’ (I just made up that word by the way) of the narrative. I’ve also achieved a cleaner recording and, I have to say, I’m very pleased with the results.
You can listen to it here
But don’t fly off to YouTube land before reading this week’s guest interview with Ralph Robert Moore. Rob is a contemporary horror writer and an absorbing storyteller. He first came to my attention in ‘Black Static’ issue #49 and his story, ‘Dirtland.’ To say it’s weird is an understatement, but his masterful writing makes the incredible seem possible. He is a Dark Lord of suspense too – you won’t want to read his stories late at night, believe me.
Interview with Ralph Robert Moore
Believer or non-believer?
Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer?
I’ve never read Stephanie Meyer, but even if I had, I’m sure I’d still prefer Anne Rice. I suspect she’s grittier. I like grit.
Stephen King or Clive Barker?
I have a horrible confession to make–I’ve never been a big Stephen King fan. He seems like a hell of a nice guy, and he’s certainly offered a lot of encouragement to fellow writers, but the impression I always get from his novels is that he hasn’t spent enough time editing them. Third draft (or whatever) and he’s done. Time to move on to the next book. I stopped reading him after The Dark Half. The writing comes alive in the George Stark excerpts, but the rest of it just lies flat on the page. And I don’t think he’s good at writing women. Plus that nonsense about never using adverbs. Having said all that, he can be absolutely brilliant when he takes the time. I just think he doesn’t take the time often enough.
Outliner or pantser?
Outliner. I never start writing a story until I have at least a general sense of how it’s going to end. I frequently improv as I go, which is fun in a stand-up comedian way, glancing at the black microphone, mind racing, but I really do want to see what’s up ahead long before I get there, so I can foreshadow, set up situations or references that will pay off later, etc.
Self publish or traditionally publish?
I traditionally publish my stories through different magazines and anthologies, but self-publish my novels and collections. I certainly wouldn’t turn down an offer to be published by a press, but in the meantime it is fun to put together a book by yourself. It’s a bit like being a one man band, where your left hand is playing the piano while your right foot stamps out a back beat, as you lean your mouth against a fixed-in-place harmonica.
Psychological suspense or Blood and gore?
May I have both? I love establishing a sense of dread, the slow realization that something is going wrong sentence by sentence, but it’s fun to write blood and gore. It’s like writing about sex. You have to know what to leave out, what to leave in, and the one “telling detail” that wasn’t expected, and stays in the head.
Will Self purple prose or Mark Twain simplicity?
It’s preferable to pull from each. You can plunge underwater into a purple paragraph of extravagant prose, all these schools of commas, semi-colons and em-dashes swimming by, pecking at your shoulders and toes, then wash up on a shore of sand, sun, tree silhouettes against the sky.
Literary rule breaking or stylistic conformity?
Does anyone ever choose ‘stylistic conformity’? I assume we all see ourselves as banditos, criss-cross of bullet belts across our fronts. I love breaking rules. Because when you write a story, or read a story, don’t you want to feel like you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing? That what you’re doing is a little bit bad? Donald Barthelme once expressed his fondness for ‘awkward sentences’, and I have that same love. I often switch person, or tense, sometimes in the same sentence. It’s a device I think gives a real-time immediacy to a narrative, as well as having an unsettling effect. Or using sentence fragments. Or adding some sentences which scan properly, but make no sense, for texture. I once wrote a story, “The Rape”, where the two main characters had the same name, just to see what I could do with that confusion. And of course, Stephen King be damned, I’m not adverse to an adverb.
DC comics or Marvel?
Marvel. Used to lie on my stomach as a kid slowly moving my eyes through the square panels of a Superman or Batman, flipping to the next page, but then one day I saw a Spiderman comic on a kiosk in the local drugstore, put down my dime, got blown away by the otherwise normal teenage life of Peter Parker, and never flipped back.
The Conjuring or The Evil Dead?
Definitely The Evil Dead. I don’t like horror comedies at all, but unexpected humor in an otherwise serious story? I’m there. I love the subversive irreverence of it. That’s something The Sopranos used to do really well.
First or third person pov?
Third person. I rarely write first person. To me, first person is a straight-jacket. But I also love writing second person present tense, which I know drives some people nuts.
Physical books or e-books?
Physical books, definitely. If I’m in bed, I want something I can put my hands around in that bed. Not a series of 1’s and 0’s. But nothing against people who prefer e-books. Ours is the age of convenience above all.
Self publicist or literary recluse?
Since I self-publish, I have to self-publicize. But man, that has to be one of the hardest parts of writing. A writing career has certain benchmarks. There’s the thrill of first getting a story published in a professional magazine, getting one of your stories translated, getting a story of yours dramatized, putting out a collection; but none of them compare to the joy of going on social media and begging people to buy your book.
Writing group or online critiques?
I’m not a member of any writing group, and I don’t use beta readers. Frankly, I never saw the point to beta readers. Here’s a story I wrote. How would you write it? Why would I want to know that? You’re not writing the story, I am. I did do online critiques years and years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook. There’s so much more flexibility. And it’s better organized.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this project, Tom. I had a lot of fun.
Ralph Robert Moore’s fiction has been published in America, Canada, England, Ireland, India and Australia in a wide variety of genre and literary magazines and anthologies, including Black Static, Shadows & Tall Trees, Midnight Street, ChiZine, and others. His story “Our Island” was one of four stories nominated in 2013 for Best Story by The British Fantasy Society.
His books include the novels Father Figure, As Dead As Me, and Ghosters, and the short story collections Remove the Eyes and I Smell Blood.
His website SENTENCE at http://www.ralphrobertmoore.com features a wide selection of his writings.
Moore and his wife Mary live in Dallas, Texas.
LINK TO BUY BOOKS
Hope you enjoyed the content this week, folks.