Tagged with nine questions on my horror work-in-progress

What’s news with horror writer Paul D. Dail?

I have to brag a little.  After over seven months, my collection of five flash fiction pieces with individual afterwords, Free Five, is still holding steady in the top 50 Kindle Fiction Short Stories.  I can only hope that when the apparent masses of people who are downloading it actually get a chance to read it (it is free after all, so I’m sure it gets lumped in with many other free stories), they will check out some of my other works 🙂

Speaking of Free Five, I’m pretty excited that my favorite story of the collection, Another Oldie but Goodie, has been accepted by Rayne Hall for her next ten tales anthology, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies.  To find out more about her other anthologies, click here.

What does the future hold?

Next Friday, I’ll be posting Seven Questions with Horror Writer Aniko Carmean, author of Stolen Climates.  Aniko is a member of my TESSpecFic (The Emissaries of Strange Speculative Fiction) writing group.  And she’s great.  I can’t wait to see her anwers.

But without further ado…

I was tagged in this particular writer meme by Mari Biella, author of The QuickeningTo read her responses to these questions, click here.

Seeing as I’ve recently become finally serious again about getting back to work on the subject of my responses, I thought this was timely.  I’ve actually been sidetracked by a couple of short stories I’ve been working on, but I know they’re just distractions.

So NOW without further ado…

1- What is the working title of your book?

One Second Until the Hour

2- Where did the idea for the book come from?

One of the many positions I occupied after graduating college in Missoula, Montana, was a paraprofessional for an elementary school extended resource classroom working with kids of any variety of mental or physical disability.  While I helped out with all of the students in the resource classroom, I spent the majority of my time working with a third grade boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

One morning when we were in the mainstream classroom reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Jamie tugged on my sleeve and said, “Mr. Dail, look.”  He pointed to the clock.  It had stopped just one second before the hour.  But the thing is, all of the clocks were wired to one another. It wasn’t just a battery on a wall clock.  So they had to all have stopped just one second before 8:00.

I had about forty seconds to think about this before the second hand started going again, we finished the Pledge and the day commenced, but it was enough to get the wheels going.

3- What genre does your book fall under?

Horror.  Sub-genre: Supernatural thriller

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I really don’t know, but when I came up with idea for the story, M. Night Shyamalan was big on the scene.  I always thought he would make a great director for this particular project. And seeing as I’m sure I wouldn’t get to write the screenplay, I could trust him as a writer.

An M. Night sidenote: While I didn’t see The Last Airbender, I heard it was pretty bad.  Were that the case, I would call that a first strike for him.  I’ve been a fan of everything else he’s done when viewed through the correct lens, even Lady in the Water when viewed as a dark fairy tale (whoever did the trailers screwed up on that one, playing it like more of a horror).

5- What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Color me superstitious.  Or paranoid.  But for now, I’m keeping this one under my hat.  But see the last question.  Then buy me a beer, and I’ll tell you some secrets.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Honestly, while I’m valuing the experience I’m having in self-publishing, I would really like to see this one traditionally published.  Becoming a member of the Horror Writers Association has been a long time goal of mine, and if I want to do that, I have to get more things published via the traditional routes.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ha ha.  That’s funny.  I actually got the idea for this one the year after I finished the first draft for The Imaginings, which is coming up on a decade.  Granted, for many of these years I wasn’t as serious about my writing as I should’ve been, but also, in the times I was serious, I wasn’t able to focus on it when I was still working on revisions for The Imaginings. So I’m about forty pages into the actual story (with almost that many pages of notes on plotting, characters, random scenes, etc…)

I’m ready to get it done.

8- Who or what inspired you to write the book?

My life growing up with a younger brother with Down Syndrome probably paved the way for this story, but it was the boy I worked with at that school that made it a reality.

9- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I will convince you mathematically that time occasionally stops, whether we notice it or not.

And now I need to tag someone.

I’m going to tag Hunter Shea.  He always seems to have something new going on, so I’m curious what he’s thinking about serving up next.

And I just like him.

What do I want from you?

As an admittedly rather self-indulgent post, I dunno.  Comments on anything I might’ve said that caught your interest?

Even if I didn’t tag you, maybe tell me here the question about what actors or actresses you’d like to see take on your own works-in-progress.

Finally, don’t forget to check back next week for Seven Questions with Aniko Carmean.

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11 thoughts on “Tagged with nine questions on my horror work-in-progress

  1. It is kind of you to let us have a sneak peek at you WIP! I’m glad Mari tagged you. I enjoy these little previews into the next greatest thing!

    Your WIP intrigues me because I have a longstanding fascination with time. I have mentioned this before, but in college, I double-majored in Physics and Philosophy. In the first semester of my senior year, I undertook an honors dissertation to come up with a definition of time, using a blend of sources from both branches of my study. It nearly drove me insane – I literally couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept, and the more I tried to nail it down, the more it became something else… I felt like I was getting somewhere vital, but at the same time, I felt like the character in Lovecraft’s story “Dreams in the Witch House.” I did not complete the honors dissertation; the next semester, I took a programming class instead, despite my professors really wanting me to continue my investigation. Weird fact? Every single note – electronic and physical – was stolen from me. Even the spare copy I had hidden on a floppy disk that I hid in one of the labs. That always makes me wonder if I really was onto something… and if someone else has my PhD (and my insanity!). 😉 In any case, I look forward to reading a book where time is the topic.

    For my WIP, I want Veronica Belmont (not really an actress, but I’m not letting that stop my casting her!), Dichen Lachman, and January Jones. My WIP is pretty!! 🙂 As for the menfolk, I’ve only cast two: Lance Reddick and Jensen Ackles.

    I’m looking forward to answering the Seven Questions!


    1. I just want to point out that mentioned “floppy disks.” Careful. You’re dating yourself 🙂

      Great comments. And even more sorry that we didn’t meet up in Austin, but this will definitely give us much to talk about when we do finally meet. I’m sure I’ll still be working on this project. ha ha….ha?

      Actually, even though it’s not as cool as sitting down for a drink together, we may have to communicate over the phone one of these days when I get more to the time aspect of the story. I’d be curious to bounce a few things off ya’.

      And I think the fact that everything was stolen from you is a story somehow.

      Thanks again.

  2. Bravo for being a strong advocate for people with intellectual disabilities! That’s how I make my living! Love my work

    1. Erik, how is it that I didn’t know that about you? We’ll have to talk more at length at some point. I’ve thought about going back to that area of education (and grade level, for that matter). There are certain pros to working with older kids, but I don’t think I ever had a more rewarding job than when I was at that elementary school. However, I was just a paraprofessional, meaning I didn’t get paid much more than a substitute, and I always remember the teacher I worked with complaining about all the red tape of being in charge. Who knows, though? Maybe one day.

  3. Great post, Paul. I am really looking forward to reading this, as the concept of time interests me greatly too. Not that I have the mathematical or scientific know-how to come up with any viable theories about it! My own WIP touches on the concept of time travel, and while I’ve no idea whether this is possible the philosophical and moral questions it poses are fascinating.

    I’d also like to echo Erik’s comment and congratulate you for your work with disabled people. I once (briefly) did some voluntary work with children with learning disabilities, which was incredibly challenging and very rewarding too. I think you have to be a particular kind of person to do such work full-time.

    1. “incredibly challenging and very rewarding.” Yes, indeed.

      And yet, there are many days when I wonder if it wouldn’t be better than dealing with 100+ high school freshmen 🙂

      And for my WIP, I have no idea if my ideas are feasible either, but I’m gonna throw them out there anyway. And hope that I can dazzle with enough math to at least slightly lessen the difficulty of suspending that disbelief.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Looks like I need to answer some questions. 🙂 I will get right on that. Folks that want to see my sometimes bizarre answers can come over to huntershea.com

    1. Awesome, my friend. I saw you posted and will get there soon. For now, it’s night-night time. Long weekend.

      And yes, everybody else, go to huntershea.com. For more reasons than just this one.

  5. Jason Darrick 11/04/2012 — 12:41 pm

    The elusive HWA membership. By far the main reason that I consider submitting stories, though I’ve heard rumblings that some indie advocates are trying to have the admissions guidelines changed. Don’t hold your breath, but it’s a nice thought.

    1. Yes, it is elusive. I’ll be curious to see if there is any luck in getting those guidelines changed. I’d be shocked. Or if they do, I imagine they would still be pretty stringent (and probably still more exclusive than my handful of independent sales has garnered :))

      With the exception of “The Golden Parachute,” the short stories I’ve self-pubbed were ones that I wrote several years ago, but for my recent new content, I’m going to try to sell them first.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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