On this month's Special Page:

Best-selling author Joe R. Lansdale gives us new writing tips


Christopher Golden
Mort Castle
Josh Malerman
Ellen Datlow
Bentley Little
Simon Clark


Joe R. Lansdale

Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. He has also written for comics as well as "Batman: The Animated Series." As of 2018, he has written 45 novels and published 30 short-story collections along with many chapbooks and comic-book adaptations. His stories have won ten Bram Stoker Awards. a British Fantasy Award, an Edgar Award, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, a Sugarprize, a Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, a Spur Award, and a Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and several of his novels have been adapted to film.

Frequent features of Lansdale's writing are usually deeply ironic, strange or absurd situations or characters, such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy battling a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in a nursing home (the plot of his Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, which was made into a movie by Don Coscarelli). He is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and ten Bram Stoker Awards.
His current new-release publisher is Mulholland Books. Lansdale also publishes with Dark Regions Press and Tachyon Publications, and with his daughter Kasey he has started a new publishing company called Pandi Press to control the re-issue and publishing of his older works.

You can go to his official website HERE

Joe R. Lansdale Gives Us New Writing Tips

The writer who thinks the whole purpose of writing is suffering isn't one I'm much interested in. The one that tells a story for the joy of telling it is the one I'm interested in. Writing can be hard, but it shouldn't be miserable. Some days it might be, but on the whole it should be an exciting, if occasionally, frustrated adventure.

A story is made better by style, character, and dialogue. Use all the tools that make it work, but the most important component is joyful passion and a willingness to improve on your passion to make it yours and to have it read well. I like to go to work with a certain excitement that gives me pleasure, and hopefully will give the same to the reader.

We are not all pleased by the same thing, but if I can write for myself with joy and enthusiasm, I'm confident readers will feel that in the work and some of them will share that enthusiasm and be swept along by the story. I enjoy writing as well as having written. I enjoy finding my story as I go, figuring it out, and putting it down for myself, and no one else, with the confidence I will find some similar souls out there that enjoy the sort of tale I have told.

That is writing for yourself. Now I’ll get to writing like yourself.

Writing like yourself is hard. Finding your voice is learning who you are. Sometimes you can't find you, not matter how hard you look. Not in the bedroom, not in the kitchen, not down the hall, not behind a box of books.

Books open the doors, though. Give you keys to the room that contains you. Relax and say, “How would I say this? How would I tell someone the thing on my mind in conversation?”

It's not a perfect guide, but you might find the key, and you might find the room…might find the mirror with your face in it instead of someone else you're trying to be. Being yourself as a writer, expressing yourself as yourself, is hard. And not perfect. But as a writer, that's the writer you're looking for.

Writing tip that works for me:

Take it or leave it. There is no Muse other than yourself. The Muse is lazy. The Muse stays on the couch if you don't show up to work. You show up to work, the Muse shows up. Mine shows up about six-thirty or seven-thirty every morning. Some days earlier, some days slightly later. In other words, I have found, curiously, that my muse has the same sleep habits, and work habits, that I have.

Some days it’s smarter than others, but it shows up. It gives me pages, and after that, it has the rest of the day off. But I expect it to be "musing" in my subconscious. Next morning, both it and myself climb out of bed, have coffee and toast, and me and the Muse go to work. Thank you Muse.

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