Chris Limb is a writer and designer living in Brighton, UK. Chris reviews books and audiobooks for the British Fantasy Society and has blogged on a regular basis since mid-2009. Chris’ finished novels Comeback and Ghostdance are currently being submitted to agents and publishers. Chris also writes short stories, a number of which have been published over the past couple of years — most recently in the Suspended in Dusk anthology from Books of the Dead press, in Daily Science Fiction, in Common Oddities Speculative Fiction Sideshow and in the Beachfront Starter Home, Good Bones anthology from Crossroad Press.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I have been writing since I was a teenager or earlier. I was an avid reader as a child – a lot of genre fiction (Arthur C Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, Tolkien) – and writing was just a natural extension of this. I’ve been writing on and off ever since although it has been mainly on for the past nine years.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
I don’t know how much my advice is worth, but there are a couple of realisations I had which made a huge difference. Firstly – keep going. It doesn’t matter if you think what you are producing isn’t any good – the important thing is that you are producing it. You can go back and fix it later. And secondly finish what you are doing. Actually finishing the first draft of a novel (or a short story) does a lot for my confidence and hopefully would for others as well.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Yes indeed. I now swear by 750words.com as it’s kept me writing daily for the past two thousand days and up (holidays aside). It’s an online version of Morning Pages and for someone like me who has trouble writing longhand (my brain moves faster than my hand so I end up missing parts of sentences) it’s just what I need. I also use duotrope.com regularly to keep track of my stories and find new places to submit them.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
These days I like all sorts of fiction but genre fiction – Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror – has always been a favourite. I think there is something about the impossible that appeals to me. The way that in the worlds of these stories a different set of rules apply. It keeps the imagination active. There are many authors I like – Michael Marshall Smith and William Gibson are two authors whose new fiction I particularly look forward to – but a lot of the books I’ve read and enjoyed recently have been by authors new to me. Claire North, Emily St. John Mandel and Emmi Itäranta spring to mind.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
I think the discipline of using 750words.com made me find the time. There is always time to write something. It doesn’t matter how short it is as long as I do it.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
With short stories I tend to know what’s going to happen as they’re usually based around a single idea (although once or twice I’ve started writing just based on an image or atmosphere and it’s been interesting what has emerged). With novels I write on the fly. That way I discover what is going to happen as I write it and it’s exciting. I love it when characters start behaving independently and surprise me.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
I now no longer take it personally and nine times out of ten resubmit the story somewhere else immediately. Every so often I will have another look at the story and see how it can be improved.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Keep writing and keep submitting. Make a start on another novel – or rather make serious inroads into another one. I have several beginnings I can build on about all of which I am eager to find out more.
9. For the next five years?
To have written another couple of novels and to have had at least one of them published (I have two novels currently doing the rounds of agents, publishers and open calls).
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.