On the verge of a new anthology, we are celebrating IN THE AIR with a behind the scenes view of authors and their stories. Here’s a look at Shaun Avery and his story “The Fictionals.”
ABOUT THE STORY
Tell me a little about your story and the world you’ve created.
Sure! Like most of my satirical horror stuff, it’s a slightly exaggerated version of the world we live in, in terms of following famous figures. Our narrator finds himself suddenly thrust into the limelight and finds out there are…consequences to finding fame.
What came first, the plot or the characters?
The plot. I’m a sucker for plot. I can have an amazing concept, an outstanding character, but if I can’t find a plot to propel them into, the story won’t get written.
If you had to describe your protagonist in three words, what would they be?
Fame hungry. Naive.
What is something about your protagonist that only you know?
That he’s not as cool, edgy, and cutting-edge as he thinks he is. A realisation I sadly came to myself, as I grew older and discovered the comfort of wearing pyjamas.
Which scene was the most difficult to write and why?
Probably the start. Because there were a ton of things in my head, like there is with most of the stuff that I write, but not all of them served the plot, so they had to go. I loved one little bit amongst the excised stuff, though, so I’ll be sharing it as part of my article on the origin of the story.
What were you trying to achieve with this story?
The same thing as always with this type of story, I guess—try to make people think twice about their abject obsession with people that they see on the TV.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read comics, talk about comics, watch TV shows and movies based on comics…some other things, too. But they’re not centred on comics, so we’ll not mention them here.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?
That I’m able to tackle genres I’m not that invested in with good results—I did a war strip for a comic fanzine that I’m still massively proud of, and that’s not a field I thought I knew much about at all. You surprise yourself sometimes.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
Read lots! I especially think Stephen King’s On Writing is something that all people interested in story-telling should read. Well, any Stephen King book, really. But particularly that one.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Always write. And read a lot more comics. Those things again . . .
What is your favorite writing tool or technique?
I like to always have a notebook to hand. Not everything I put in there makes its way into the world, sometimes even makes no sense, but I think I’d still be lost without it. Them, I should say, as I’ve got a massive pile of them. Mostly with characters on them. Characters from . . . well, you can probably guess.
How would you describe your general writing voice and tone?
Dark. Satirical. Fun!
Share something fun or interesting:
A link to a favorite song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGjFHX2p52k
We (my girlfriend and I) saw them do this live at an 80’s concert, and it started off like this, with the guitarist showing off his solo skills before slowly moving into the band’s signature tune, and it was just awesome—the kind of thing that gives you chills. A brilliant, brilliant performance!
Shaun Avery writes crime and horror fiction in a number of different mediums. He also has a special fondness for stories that cross horror with satire, a sub-genre of which his featured story “The Fictionals” is a personal favourite so far.
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