The middle of 2016 was when I first heard of J. Daniel Stone, having shared a TOC with him in Turn To Ash: Volume 1. This is notable for a number of reasons. One, because, for all the publications my work appears in, this was a rarity that I actually read it. All the stories hit me as distinctive and well-crafted (although my favourite is from Andrew Wilmot). By the end of 2016, I caught wind of J. Daniel Stone on the This Is Horror podcast - where, if memory serves, I popped my podcast cherry. Also notable, because this is where I heard of the A Story A Week challenge). Just hearing the man talk is like hearing a story. You know he's got game.
1. For those who don't know, who are you?
Hello Everyone. My name is J. Daniel Stone and I write queer horror for the urban weirdo.
2. Game talk – how do you organise and manage your game? How has it evolved?
I’m such a good organizer with everything in life except writing. I need to surprise myself when it comes to my art, so if I plan in advance, I become grossly uninspired. It all usually begins with an image in mind, or something I obsess with in that point in time. I’m what some people would call a “pantser” in the writing world. In terms of how my game has evolved over time, there has been less jotting down in notebooks, and more keyboard action. I do still love a nice longhand session, but the reality is that keyboard have taken over everything.
3. Talk us through one of your biggest achievements in your game – give us the story behind it. How did it play out?
Perhaps it was when readers voted my story into a “best of” anthology called DREAD from Grey Matter Press. But that’s a very on-the-surface, explicit example. A true writing achievement (for us all, in my opinion) is to actually sit the fuck down and write! With all the distractions around us, it’s very difficult to actually just get the words out without being interrupted.
4. You mention that if you plan in advance, you get uninspired. Are there any instances when inspiration hits you for different stories, narratives, etc. at the same time? How do you manage them?
Inspiration hits me at the most random times. I can't ever really say that I can sit down and force myself to be inspired. It normally happens when I'm not even thinking about it. Then BAM! I need to get some madness out of my head. I usually only work on one project at a time. Focus is key to getting every project done.
The only way to truly manage them is to create a mental note. Or go the old fashioned way and jot down some notes. Then let all of that simmer and return it at a later date.
5. It's great if things go according to plan. Tell us about when it didn't; how did you handle it? What were/are those challenges?
I’m not a planner, because I don’t like to set myself up for failure. But I do give myself some light timelines, and if I don’t abide to them, I usually crumble. When that happens, I need to take time away and collect myself. Then when I calm down. I can get back to it. Sounds cheesy, but it’s the only way.
6. Give a pep-talk to someone on game in your field.
Write what you want to read. Don’t be a poseur.
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