About Dale Elster:
Dale Elster is a horror and dark fiction author living in upstate New York with his wife and two children.
His short fiction has appeared in anthologies by NorGus Press, Collaboration of the Dead, the Stealth Fiction anthology, “Daylight Dims, Volume 2” and DEADSVILLE – his first-ever collection of horror short fiction!
Dale invites you to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Also, his house may or may not be haunted.
(But it definitely is!)
What inspires you to write?
As a child, I was a real scaredy-cat.
I was the youngest, and my three older sisters would always scare the hell out of me! They would use everything at their disposal: Halloween masks when I was really little, spiders, (which still freak me out!) clowns, horror movies – you name it.
At some point I stopped being scared. And I was always making up adventures in my head and writing them down, so in time, I put the two together. One of my favorite shows discovered in reruns as a kid was “Twilight Zone.” Through Rod Serling’s brilliant work I fell in love with the short story. When I read Stephen King’s “Night Shift” collection as a pre-teen, I was off to the races!
Inspiration comes from from every facet of my life, but I’ve learned not to wait for it. I learned long ago that inspiration is spelled W-O-R-K. So I write everyday, even if it’s just a sentence or two.
For me, writing dark fiction is a necessity – a way to exorcise those old childhood demons!
Tell us about your writing process.
When I’m developing a new story, I focus on the main character and follow him around and see what happens. I’ll have a general idea of where the story is going, and perhaps the ending, but I don’t spend hours plotting out every scene.
For me, that’s just a waste of time. I’ll make some notes when new thoughts or ideas pop into my head, but that’s about it.
Get that first draft down quickly if you can – but at the same time don’t rush it. Once you’re happy with the main character and the places he has taken you, make the necessary corrections and polish your work. If you have an editor, now’s the time to use them. Work that story until it’s lean and mean. Then go sell it!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t necessarily speak to my characters. They will speak to me, and at times I feel like a medium. It’s not unusual for my family to catch me talking to myself – and that’s usually the characters revealing themselves through a fragment of dialogue. It’s a wonder I haven’t been shuffled off to therapy.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write everyday, even if it’s just a sentence or two.
I would suggest setting aside some time, morning or evening doesn’t matter. Whatever time suits you. Then write as much as you are able.
And get an editor, particularly if you are planning on self-publishing your work.
Even if you are gifted at grammar, writers NEED editors. It’s that simple.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My collaborator and I decided to self-publish DEADSVILLE for one simple reason:
Control over the quality of the interior and exterior of the book, mainly.
Anthologies from unknown authors can be a hard sell to even small publishers, and if you do sell one, chances are it will be available in digital format only, with a cheesy thumbnail cover representing your hard work.
Self-publishing allowed us to shop around for a really good artist (Gary McCluskey) to create the style of cover we had in mind, to find an experienced individual that could format the book for both print and digital editions, and most importantly, to find editors we both trusted.
Don’t self-publish with the mindset that you will make huge profits on your first book. Or your second – and maybe your third, too! You are building a foundation. Invest in building a great one. Good writing, good editing, good book covers are all part of that foundation.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Self-publishing has come a LONG way. It’s improving all the time – better writing, better formatting – better everything.
Unknown authors should do their part by continuing that trend.
The major publishers have created a marketplace – and a new slush pile – by failing to develop new authors.
Small publishers are doing AMAZING things as well. Not all are good, or even fair, so as authors we need to be smart and if we get interest from a small publisher, make a deal that’s fair for both of us, and we both win. If you’ve never had work published by a small publisher, make that a goal. It adds a “legitimacy” to your body of work that will help sell ALL of your work, self-published or otherwise.
In one sense, nothing has changed in the publishing world. Good work will get read. Period. Poor work will sink to the depths like a stone, never to be seen again. Work hard, write well, hire an editor. Then spend the time marketing your work, even if you are working with a small publisher. Don’t expect them to do your marketing for you. Publishing today is a business where success comes to those who go out and get it.
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Horror, Dark Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.