Featured Author: Seth Petersen has been writing for about three years. He was first published in his alma mater’s literary magazine, University of South Florida’s Thread, in 2015 for the poems “Sleeping Fits” and “Beware the Bacon.” That same year he also published the short story “Dave and the Devil in Arizona” in the University of Houston’s Glass Mountain literary magazine. When he’s not writing, Seth enjoys watching movies. In fact, he’s even involved in the local film scene, writing horror films for Wicked Window Productions (You can check them out on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/WickedWindow/) . His most recent contribution to them was his script “The Itch” used in their 2017 horror anthology Wickedtober. Seth also does freelance editing for The Hoth, an SEO company based out of St. Petersburg. His social media empire is limited to just Facebook, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/seth.peterson.501. Hitchcock’s The Birds has given Seth a natural fear of Twitter and his absent camera dexterity has kept him off Snapchat and Instagram. He looks to remedy both problems in the future. Publication in Left Hand Publishing’s Terrors Unimagined anthology represents Seth’s first paid submission acceptance. He looks to continue writing, get paid for it, and maybe one day write that novel sitting in the back of his mind.
- 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?
Seth Petersen: Professionally about 3 years, though I started in elementary school. In the fifth grade I won a playwriting contest for the anti-drug program at our school. Then in middle school I wrote stick figure comics with my friend, Nathan.
LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Seth Petersen: I did another playwriting contest in college; I mashed together two Edgar Allen Poe shorts. Even though I didn’t win, I had so much fun putting the story together. I just thought, “Yep this is what I want to do.”
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Seth Petersen: I tend to lean toward fantasy, but lately horror has been my genre pf choice. I love the tension, the suspense, the twists and turns, and the monsters.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Seth Petersen: It depends on the driving force of the story. If it’s character driven then character comes first. If it’s plot driven, plot comes first. When I first started I pantsed it, but now outlining has really helped me improve my writing. I can set up the internal logic of the story and have a foundational springboard for my ideas.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Seth Petersen: I try to make myself a to-do list of tasks to accomplish on a given day with a specific goal for the entire week. I write blogs for an SEO company, so that usually comes first. Then, I take care of any errands. That way, I can use the rest of my time to write. At least until I have to go to my night job.
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Seth Petersen: Nothing special, just Microsoft Word and Google should I need to do research. If I’m writing a screenplay, I’ll use WriterDuet. That way, I can collaborate with other writers, the producer, and the director and get everyone’s feedback at once.
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LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Seth Petersen: Self-doubt. It’s kind of cliché, I know, but I always wonder if the story’s good enough or if anyone will like it. But that’s why I’m thankful I have a close network of friends and family I can bounce ideas off of.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Seth Petersen: I usually try to go by scene. Often, I’ll try to do one scene a day, unless it’s a short scene, then I might go for two.
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LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Seth Petersen: Not enough. I’m shy by nature, so marketing and social media aren’t exactly my forte. But that’s something I want to change as I progress, and I’m proud to say I’ve already started. Readers can now follow me on Twitter using @ScrivenerSeth. Just don’t be surprised if it’s a little bare bones.
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LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Seth Petersen: I prefer short stories. They’re easier to write and submit and I can focus in on one or two ideas at a time. Also, the last time I tried to write a novel, it did not go well. That said, I do have a couple of novel ideas that I hope to write sometime in the future.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Seth Petersen: It’s a haunted hotel story about the power of a guilty conscience. It’s based on a recurring nightmare I had about a year ago. I dreamt I forgot to lock the door before going to work and returned home late that night to find cops and an ambulance. And I knew it would all be my fault forever. Funny enough, after I completed the story I haven’t had the nightmare.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Seth Petersen: Always be writing. And if you can’t write, read. Your skills are like muscles: you have to exercise them or they’ll atrophy.
Seth Petersen authored “One Night In the Roach Motel” for Terrors Unimagined on sale now.
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