Featured Author: Bryan Best has been writing fiction since he was a teenager. His most recent publication is a play called “Finding Mau Loa.” He sold the 1st First Baptist Church of Concord in the summer of 2018. It was filmed and will be made available on DVD this coming fall. He has had several short stories published in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, and has written two novels with a third in progress. Links and information on Bryan’s work can be found on the website: www.bryansbest-author.com. He can be found on Facebook under Bryan S. Best and on Twitter @bsbest_writer. Bryan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, an Associate’s degree in insurance claims, and currently work as a property claim adjuster. He lives in Maryville, Tennessee with his family, and mostly has to write once his family is asleep, which is when he can let the really scary things out of my head.
Featured Author: Bryan Best Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily routine as a writer?
- Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words each day or a goal?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Bryan Best: I have been writing since I was about twelve.
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Bryan Best: I write mainly in horror and thriller. I have branched out and written some sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian fiction.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Bryan Best: I have to say Stephen King. The first real horror “book” I remember reading was King’s collection “Skeleton Crew” in middle school. I was hooked on horror from then on.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Bryan Best: For me, what comes first is a combination of plot and character. I usually think of a situation or an event, wonder how the average person would react to said event, build the character around that, and then create the story. When it comes to outlining vs. blank-paging, I wish I could say I’m an outliner. But I’m not. I start with a blank page and then let it rip. I believe outlining is very important, more so with a novel than a short story, but when I sit down to do an outline there is a little voice in the back of my head that says, “You should be writing right now.” However, I will do some outlining when working on a novel.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Bryan Best: The closest thing I have to a routine is that I write at night. I am a father to two young children, so between work and family, I do most of my writing late at night and on weekends.
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Bryan Best: Other than the basic writing software that most people use, I don’t use any other software packages for writing. I do use some website market listings for submissions such as www.darkmarkets.com and www.ralan.com when searching for calls for submissions.
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LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Bryan Best: The two biggest challenges I face are time and discouragement. My time for writing has to be juggled between being a husband and father, and then there is the ever-present battle of staying the course after every rejection. Rejections are good in that they make you fight harder for what you want (getting published), but it’s also easy to fall into the self-defeating mental pit of thinking that the reason you’re receiving so many rejections is because you aren’t a good writer. I make myself reject that nonsense! And I remind that myself that whether I ever get published again or not, I will keep writing simply because I love creating stories.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Bryan Best: I don’t have a set number of words per day that I target. If I write 1,000 words a day or more, I consider it a win. But there are times that I’ve only been able to write 500 or 600. There have been times that I opened a work in progress on the computer, written a few sentences, and then had to save and close it because one of my kids hurt themselves or needed help getting ready for bed. If I had to pick a writing goal, it would be to write just three pages a day. Most novels are between 300 and 400 pages, so if you write 3 pages a day in three months you will have about 300 or more pages.
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LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Bryan Best: Honestly, more than I would like. I don’t have an agent, so I have to do all of my own searching for markets, editors, publishers, and agents. Searching the internet for all of those things takes up a lot of time. As I have alluded above on how my mind works, that is time I could use to be writing. In reality, it’s a double-edged sword because if you spend all your time writing and never searching for markets, then you will never see your work in print. If you spend all your time searching for markets instead of writing, you won’t have any finished work to submit to those markets. Like writing versus rewriting or editing, there has to be a balance. I’ve spent some weeks searching for markets while never writing a word, and then I’ve gone several days of only writing and never opening an internet browser.
LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Bryan Best: Short stories are quicker, and in most cases, easier to produce than novels. I love the short story, and always will, but I enjoy the challenge and the thrill of building a novel. The research, plot construction, character development, story arches, pacing, etc. are all fascinating to me. The red flag in novel writing is the warning of waste time. To quote David Morrell, “When beginning a project(novel), I ask myself if this is worth a year (or more) of my life.” If the answer is “no”, then either THAT novel doesn’t need to be written or novel-writing is not for you.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Bryan Best:When I sat down to write “In the Dark, It sleeps”, the main thought in my mind was “What if someone’s imagination was powerful enough to not only affect them, but other people.” Ever since we were little kids, our parents have always told us that our imaginations could never hurt us. Most of the time, that is true…for sane individuals. Charlie, the 12-year-old main character, is an only child whose parents went through a divorce at a young age. I found myself feeling sorry for him when I would sit and imagine what it would feel like if he really saw snakes, wolf-headed men, and demonic creatures trying to entice him into dark places and no one believed him—not even his parents. How horrible that kind of loneliness would feel! Not so much because no one believed you, but because even if someone did believe you, how could they relate to your fear unless they saw and experienced it too? Charlie is a psychically special, but special in a way none of us would ever want to be.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Bryan Best: My best advice for other writers is the same advice all best-selling writers give: read a lot, write a lot. Emphasis on reading. If you are going to write in a genre, you should be well-versed in that genre. Not confined to it, but well-versed in it. I cannot recommend highly enough that all aspiring writers should go to Borderland Press Boot Camp for Writers in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a weekend writing workshop hosted by Tom Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, and Doug Winter the last week in January every year. You submit a short story or a novel excerpt and then prepare for the critique. It’s not a gathering for the thin-skinned or easily dissuaded. The critiques are hard and blunt but constructive. I’ve gone to two Borderlands Boot Camps, and it improved my writing and ability to self-edit more than words can express. Also, go to writing conventions. Meet the writers you look up to and talk to them. Network with other writers, editors, and publishers. Be friendly and courteous which will help people like, remember, and want to read your work.
Bryan Best authored “In the Dark, It sleeps” for Mindscapes Unimagined on sale now.
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