C.W. Blackwell writes speculative fiction in the vein of horror and western, and he enjoys combining the two genres. He lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife and two sons.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
My first story was something about shape-shifting space aliens. I dictated the story to my grandmother and she wrote it down on that weird blue Ditto paper they had back then. I think I was four years old. I don’t know what has kept me drawn to it over the years. Maybe it’s an escape — a way to live in a world of my own choosing.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Try writing different genres and POVs. Enter contests where the rules are strict and you need to write out of your comfort zone. Doing enough of this will help you find a style that suits you.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
I find myself on Bryn Donavan’s site sometimes. Also, Stephen King and director David Lynch have a lot of very helpful things to say about the creative process. They both have books out on the subject.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
Dark fiction, no doubt. I also love the Weird West genre. Joe Lansdale and Jonathan Maberry have always done a really great job in this space.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Stay up late. Consider the groggy mornings a badge of honor. Drink strong coffee. I like to write on Google docs so I can log in no matter where I am. You never know when a free hour will pop up.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I prefer to outline, but it’s nothing fancy and sometimes it’s just a mental outline. Writing on the fly may work for some people, but I’ve never finished a project this way. Not one. When I try, the characters tend to wander off and the plot unravels. The only thing that works for me is to begin with the end in mind. But be careful! Sometimes writing a very detailed outline will give your brain a sense of completion that will kill your motivation to write the actual story. No bueno.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Sometimes I hope for a rejection. Each story deserves to be told correctly, and a rejection gives me a chance to read it over with fresh eyes and make it better. Sometimes the rejection even comes with suggestions, which is even more helpful. Finding a home for a story is a great feeling, but finding the right home at the right time is even better.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I am looking to place stories with all the Weird West publishers I can find. The market is not huge, but it is still a challenge. I’m calling it Operation Undead Revolver. So far, so good!
9. For the next five years?
I would like to publish a collection of short stories. I’d also love to collaborate on a graphic novel.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
I just started a Facebook page. I haven’t told anyone about it until now! https://www.facebook.com/cwalkerblackwell