Next on the blog is comedy writer Jim Becker, who surprised himself by writing a horror story for “In the Bloodstream: An Anthology of Dark Fantasy and Horror”. You can get your copy in eBook or paperback here.
ER: Tell us a bit about your “Bloodstream” story.
JB: Angels stemmed from a stay at my friend’s apartment in a New York City high-rise. We spent the day deploying toy paratroopers out the window and down twenty-two flights. That night, I couldn’t sleep because the window kept beckoning to me. Eventually I slept behind the couch where I couldn’t see it.
ER: Why did you start writing? What made you write horror?
JB: I wrote a horror story? Eesh. That’s frightening. I didn’t enjoy reading until after college. I picked up King’s unabridged version of The Stand and decided I could read anything if I could finish that. Loved it. Read Misery next and admired it even more. Overall, I prefer writing comedy, but that’s because people think I look funny, not scary. Confession: I’m both. (ER: I couldn’t agree more.)
ER: What scares you?
JB: Heights and open spaces. I can do either, but not both in combination. Especially walking across tall bridges. Also, loud dogs. Horses. My mother’s driving. (ER: Somehow, I managed not to choke on my coffee at this response.)
ER: How do you stay motivated to finish projects? How do you stay inspired to create new ideas?
JB: All these million dollar questions and here I am with nary a pocket full of nickels. Creating new ideas is easy – listen, watch, and engage in your surroundings. Finishing projects? That’s another story altogether. (Yes, I intended that.)
ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?
JB: As I indicated before, it’s not the next project that’s important. It’s completing the cycle of one of the current balls. It doesn’t count as juggling when you drop all of them. I believe I’m doing a short story – the True Tale of the Dish and the Spoon – but I also believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.
ER: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?
JB: I used to enjoy the inspiration and pulse of good rock music, but as I get older and more crotchety, I find the lyrics distracting. Not that I’m singing along; more that it’s too loud- which means I’m too old. Jazz is good.
ER: What authors/artists inspire you?
JB: Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Shel Silverstein, Steve Martin, Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Elmore Leonard, Steve Taylor, Jim Henson, Joss Whedon, Douglas Adams, Todd Greene, Bill Watterson, Stephan Pastis. That’s a disproportionate amount of Steves. Weird. Also, co-writing inspires me, as the challenge is to push the other guy to another level. Especially Chuck Kanovsky.
ER: What’s the most difficult part of writing? What do you love most?
JB: Writing is like pregnancy. The conception of an idea – however brief it may be for me – is the most enjoyable part. Once that seed is planted, it’s sleeping poorly, avoiding cravings (like Netflix and video games), and agonizing through months of kegels (continuity checks, research, conforming verb tenses). Finally – with more pain than I think I can endure, I finish a first draft. It’s a mess of blood and goo, but I’m oh-so-proud to finally have pushed something out that I can show people. (ER: headdesk)
ER: What do you do when you’re not writing?
JB: Everything else. Twice. I believe the term is “procrastinating.”
ER: Any suggestions for aspiring writers out there?
JB: Find and read a first draft written by Ernest Hemingway and determine whether it stinks.
ER: What’s your goal for your writing?
JB: Hopefully I’ve many years before I die, but I’ll share what will be engraved on my tombstone beneath my name and the dates. “I’m not sure what that was, but I think it was supposed to be funny.” So I’m going to go with make people laugh and get paid for it.
ER: Excellent goal! If you need a laugh or want to give Jim a kick in the pants to finish a project, head over to Jim’s blog or his Facebook page. Details below: