Advice to a new writer

October 16, 2017

Write. A lot. Make room for it at least 5 days a week. Make your life bend to your desire to write. Write what you want to write, not what you feel you should write. Creating and editing are two different steps. Don’t confuse them. I think a lot of aspiring writers stop themselves at the gate, judging their words as soon as they’ve put them on the page or even before they get to the page. If you truly want to write whole books, you have to get that hypercritical voice out of the room long enough to write a first draft.

Lily King
Interview with Niki Johnson in Superstition Review issue fall 2015

A Head

The wooden door burst open and a dark figure flew at them. The sword swung at Mike before he could turn, and it cut through the air toward his head.

Sarah screamed and froze to the spot. Everything funnelled in, like slow motion. The bearded man wearing a long black cloak turned to her. He leered, his manic eyes shining with glee. She looked at Mike and he staggered. His expression was fixed, wide-eyed. His head slowly slid from his neck and fell off onto the stone floor. It bounced, settled and he stared up at her, like a dead salmon. His jerking body crumpled beside her, blood spurting onto her legs from the gaping neck.

Catatonic, she couldn’t scream. Her legs wobbly, she turned to the stairs and clambered up. She instantly heard throaty laughter and felt sturdy hands gripping her ankles, as her bladder gave way. She was pulled back down, slowly, her chin buffeting the steps, one by one. At the bottom, he grabbed her by the hair and an excruciating pain ripped through her scalp as she was dragged past Mike’s head, those eyes still staring, helplessly…

Col Bury
The Writing on the Wall

They have done with this family, these creatures made by human hands. They have fed – gorged themselves on blood until the hosts became their playthings. They leave the crusts behind – paper-thin of skin and void of organs – and beat a strange retreat into the woods behind the house.

Lilly Childs
Smiling Cyrus

The memory returned: she was fourteen, locked in a room with Bill Vinson, a twenty-year-old, still hanging out at high school parties. She’d told her mother that she had gone to her friend Jamie’s house and Jamie had told her parents they were going to the movies. There was liquor and Bill was cute and he was talking to her about the band Molly Hatchet and soon they were in a room, her shirt undone. Then it went bad. She was too small to fight it off. She cried and asked him to stop but her head was spinning from the booze. To make things even more horrid, when he was done, someone popped out of the closet and snapped pictures of her on the bed. She never did figure out who took the photos for the room was dark and the flash popped three times, brightening the walls for each wretched moment, Bill and the mystery guy snickering. They left her there in tears. She managed to get out and get home, her mother finding out days later when Erin confessed she was worried about pregnancy. It turned out she was lucky.

The Repairman
Jen Conley