Monday, January 14, 2013

WICKED PATIENT IN MADHOUSE: NELSON PYLES

PATIENT: NELSON PYLES
ILLNESS: WRITER

When did you start writing?

I started writing in the sixth grade. I had been a pretty avid reader since third grade and thought it might be fun to try.  I didn't try until our new sixth grade teacher turned out to be this 23 year old beautiful girl.  I wanted to impress her so I wrote a murder mystery short story. She was impressed, but not nearly enough to fall for an eleven year old.

Her loss.

However, I found I loved writing the story and coming up with all the little twists and creating the characters. It was a pretty easy mystery to figure out and I knew it, but just the act of creating a world was pretty exciting to me.  It started me off into writing from there.

Why did you pick the genre you write it?

I didn't really pick it as much as it seemed to pick me. I started watching horror movies at a really young age- I saw the original "Nosferatu" on PBS when I was about 5- and when I was able to read, I read a ton of books I shouldn't have... I did get in trouble for doing my 8th grade book report on "Christine."  Got in trouble for that one.  I do write other things that aren't horror, but I still view myself as a horror writer.  I don't have any illusions or trepidations about being considered one either.  There is great writing in horror and I'm proud to be one.  It's just more fun for me and it is always a challenge.

Where do you get your ideas from? Do you journal at all?

The ideas just tend to pop in, for which I'm grateful, but as I get older I tend to take situations of what I see around me and juxtapose it.  During the start of the whole "Twilight" craze, I wondered how a vampire would feel being portrayed in such a manner.  Would the vamp find it hilarious or insulting?  From that scenario, I wrote "Where the Apple Shine Won't Reach" which later became the launch pad for my web comic "Forever After" about decidedly un-sparkly vampires.

I've tried relentless to journal, but I tend to zone out when I'm writing about myself.  As a writer, you are your first reader and audience.  I bore myself to tears most times when I journal, although I have been trying to blog more frequently on my site (www.nelsonwpyles.com) these days.

What's a normal (writing) day like for you?

I've trained myself to get up at an insane hour every morning, seven days a week. I try to write for two hours in the morning and then every free chance I get.  A lot of the newer works I've finished oddly enough have been done at odd hours, and at a pretty rapid clip.  I'm pretty undisciplined about a lot of things, but I've gotten very good at getting up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning and hitting the words.  I've very used to it by now.  Still, there's never enough time in the day to write as much as I'd like.

Favorite author or book? Who are you currently reading?

My favorite author has to be Joe R. Lansdale.  He's the modern Mark Twain as far as I'm concerned. He makes the writing look so damned easy...his dialog is effortless and his stories are so diverse in subject.  I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft as of late.  It continues to floor me with the ideas that guy had flowing out of him for the time period.

Do you prefer writing poetry or prose? Why one over the other?

I actually like them both, although I tend to embrace prose more these days obviously.  Poetry is a lot more refined and harder to pull off I think.  I love poetry, and I can even write some with a gun to my head but my forte is prose.

Do you write in silence or with noise (TV, movies, music)?

I usually write in silence because it'll screw me up otherwise.  I know writers who put mood music and mood lighting on to create an atmosphere and I've tried it over the years, but eventually, I just turn it all off and get back to work.

Do you have any weird habits when it comes to writing? Do you type or write longhand?

I type on a PC or the laptop, but I used to love getting an old typewriter and bang out on the keys all night. I'm going to write a novel on an old typewriter one of these days.  My writing habits are honestly, the only non-weird things I have in my psychological makeup.  Well, I do speak my dialogue out loud...is that weird?

Would you consider yourself a Plotter or a Pancer?

I'm somewhere in between really.  I will cook up enough of a plot to figure out where I'm going in general, but once I've been writing for a while and the characters let me hear their voice, the plot sometimes will change and I just let them take me where they want to go.  With the short work, I usually know where I'm going, but I also believe that the journey sometimes is way more fun than the destination.

What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?

I'd have to say editing.  There always seems to be this little bone of contention about altering your own work, even if it's to make it better.  There is a certain point that I just can't stand to read my story anymore and it's usually around the fifth rewrite.  I have to leave it alone for a while before I can look at it again.

Current projects?

Right now is surprisingly busy for a bunch of reasons.  My short story supply is dwindling and I have to go and refill it.  I like to have a small stack of them around and then shop them all at the same time.  I'm working on a massive third issue story for the comic book; it's been on hiatus since summer as my artist was doing some different work for a while.  I need to get back to my second novel, which is a semi-sequel to the first one.  Hopefully, I get the work that the first one gets to see in ink.  I also host a podcast called The Wicked Library and we're about to go into our second season.  It's a log of fun and we're starting to get noticed.  We just made the transition to iTunes, so there's some urgency to step up the game.

How do you balance being an editor and being a writer (Or double jobs, being a mom/dad, husband/wife etc.)

Simple. I really don't. Not all things are equal at all times.  Sometimes, I have nothing but time to do it all, and that's usually when I slack off. When there are a million things being thrown at me at once, that's when I snap to attention.  It's stressful, but in a good way. I love writing and as annoying as editing is, stories aren't written as much as they are rewritten.  It's cliche, but it really is a labor of love.

What do you think people expect from you with your writing? EX: Can they always count on a good gross out?

I always try to make the twist or the punch in the story come from nowhere.  I will telegraph it sometimes, but only if it's fun.  That, and I think people can expect believable, likeable characters.  If you can get your readers to really like your characters, when one of them gets chased by the boogeyman, they'll be worried. And I'm usually good for at least one gross out.

Advice for aspiring writers?

Three things. One is read. Read anything. Read everything. Absolutely anything and everything you can. Even if it sucks.  Take it all in, find your favorite.  If you don't have time to read, you aren't going to have time to honestly write.

Two is write. Write anything and everything. Write and submit your work. Your work will not publish itself.

And three. Don't be afraid to get a rejection letter.  You're going to get them.  It's part of the process and a badge of honor.  The writer who keeps stories in a box and never sends them out will never be published. Don't be that writer.

416834_4300734009354_343386765_n.jpgBIO:  Nelson W. Pyles is an author of horror fiction residing in Pittsburgh, PA. Originally from New Jersey, Nelson has written several short stories, screenplays, and is at work on his second novel.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and his work has appeared alongside bestselling authors Harlan Ellison, F. Paul Wilson, Jack Ketchum, Jessica McHugh, and Lucky McKee to name a few.  His latest work is in the new anthology FEAR THE ABYSS from Post Mortem Press and is available at amazon.com.  He also hosts a podcast called "The Wicked Library" where he reads the work of a featured up and coming author each week. 

You can find out more by visiting www.nelsonwpyles.com and www.redhorseradio.com.

Also, check Nelson out at:
http://foreverafter.smackjeeves.com/ 
Twitter:  @nelsonwpyles and @wickedlibrary