Mark Rookyard lives in Yorkshire, England. He likes running long distances and writing short stories. His most recent sales have been to Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Metaphorosis and Third Flatiron’s ‘Hyperpowers’ anthology.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing for about three years, I think, give or take. I’ve always been creating stories in my mind and thinking one day I’d love to write a novel and be totally rich from the proceeds, but it always seemed like such an impossible dream that I knew it would never happen. Then one day a few years ago, I picked up a copy of F&SF or something and realized that people wrote short stories and sent them off to these places and I thought that sounded pretty cool (and a lot more feasible than writing a giant novel from scratch).
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Finish what you write. The amount of times I’ve seen new authors start story after story and never finish any of them is pretty amazing. I’d always say finish everything you start, even if you hate it, the practice will do you good, and quite often you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
The best book on writing I’ve read is Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’, there’s some great advice in there and it’s an interesting read as well. I’d also recommend finding a good critting group to join, they’re pretty invaluable. A few off the top of my head are Legend Fire, critters, Liberty Hall and Hatrack.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I try to read what I write so I’m reading a lot of science fiction at the moment, but I enjoy all kinds of fiction. Favourite authors are Emily Bronte, Ian McEwan, Robin Hobb and Guy Gavriel Kay. And GRRM until his last two books.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Targets is the best tip I have for this one. Everyone is pushed for time these days and it can be tough to make time to write, so to get the motivation to write, I set myself the target of not giving in until I’ve written 1000 words a day. Sometimes that can be fifty words here, hundred words there, but as long as I get to 1000 by the end of the day then I’m happy.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I don’t outline as such, but I won’t start a story until I know in my mind the beginning, middle and the end. As long as I know those three things then I know I’m good to go. I think knowing those things can give keep your story focused as you write it.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Rejections are great. It means you can send the story out again. What bothers me most is the empty inbox. I hate that.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Write as many stories as I can basically. I’d like to be able to write two a month, but I don’t think that will be doable. Say 15 stories, maybe, I think I’d be happy with that.
9. For the next five years?
Wow, I never think that far ahead! As long as I write stories that I’m happy with, that’ll do me.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
Probably Legend Fire Writer’s Group. A good place to work on stories.