Today I’m welcoming Sebastian Gregory to the First Draft chair.
Sebastian Gregory (Pronounced Gre-gory) writes from a cabin in the middle of a haunted wood. His inspiration comes from the strange and sorrowful whispers amongst the ghastly- looking trees. From the shadowy candle light of the cabin Sebastian is only permitted to leave once a story is complete, where it is unleashed upon the world of the living. Sebastian writes for the younger readers as they are easier to terrify than adults whose imaginations died long ago. When not writing in a cabin in the middle of a haunted wood, Sebastian lives in Manchester with his family and various animals. You can email Sebastian firstname.lastname@example.org, he would love your feedback. You can follow him on Twitter @wordsbyseb
When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?
The first thing I do is fret about it, lose sleep, pace, run the story through my head worrying over and over. At this point I usually have a different idea which I mull over for a bit before making a few notes in a brainstorming session.
Do you have a set routine approaching it?
Not as such. I will generally make a few notes on a spider web format over a few pieces of paper, connecting plot strands and what not. Characters I will keep in my head along with a few key scenes or ideas. I generally have the title and the first paragraph set in my mind as to me this will dictate the atmosphere I want to create.
Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?
Pen and paper at first. Although at this stage the notes are very raw and resemble an alien language only I can understand. I’ll hit the keyboard when I feel I know what I’m doing.
How important is research to you?
I have yet to write anything that needed deep research other than knowledge I already have. I think this is because of my genre so far has been fairy tale and supernatural, I can set my own rules. I am not against research however and if there is some finer point I need to clarify I will look for it.
How do you go about researching?
The internet will have everything you need to know about anything. As I’m writing I will hop on the net between lines if there is something I need to look up. For example as I was writing The Boy in the Cemetery, I got to describing the symptoms of the consumption. So I just looked them up, listed them, and gave them poetic and dramatic descriptions there and then.
How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?
It’s a mixture of memory and atmosphere. I keep pictures from the net in a file that I find interesting and put me in a writing mood, abandoned houses, ghosts that sort of thing.
Tell us how that first draft takes shape?
I will write the ending first and then the beginning. If I have any set scenes that I find particularly interesting I’ll write that next. Once that’s done I add the filler and bring the story together with any explanation or points needed.
Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?
I absolutely will not read any other book or watch a movie in the same genre for fear of being influenced. Good writing is addictive and difficult to resist.
Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?
The outside world still exists but the story is always there. Even distracted some part of me is always thinking about the story. I find it very consuming until the very last word is finished.
Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?
I prefer to write and write and write and edit. For me, editing takes the fun out of writing. For me it’s all about the imagination and using sentences imaginatively. Editing is a more clinical process I do not enjoy and I’m glad my editor is very good at what she does. Thanks Clio.
I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?
I don’t see the story in terms of word count; rather I see scenes I want to get through. I will have events I want to finish before I call it a night.
So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?
There is no set pattern really. It all depends on the story itself on how long it takes. The less complicated story the less time it takes to write. The Asylum for Fairy Tale Creatures took about a month, while The Boy in the Cemetery took about five. At the first draft stage my stories are very raw and likely to change a good few times before I’m happy.
In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?
At this point I’ll be reading it from my net book. Once the story has been done and I’m happy and the editors are happy, I’ll never read it again just in case I see things to change. The worst part of writing is having someone reading it.
What happens now that first draft is done?
I’ll go back and edit and make sure it flows. I’ll read it out loud and when I’m finally happy, I’ll email it in to my editor for feedback and suggested changes for further drafts.
Thanks Seb, it’s been a pleasure having you.
You can find Seb in the following places;
THE BOY IN THE CEMETERY is only £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon and other retailers.
THE ASYLUM OF FAIRY TALE CREATURES is free for a limited time on Amazon and other retailers.
THE GRUESOME ADVENTURES OF ALICE IN UNDEADLAND is £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon and other retailers.
Look out for A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, coming in December.
The Boy in the Cemetery
Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone
…and a boy who cannot die.
The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he’s been waiting for…
Let me know if you wish to do a First Draft Q&A. You can find all the previous author’s who have participated Here.