Monday’s Friend: Luke Walker

Today I am pleased to welcome horror writer Luke Walker to my blog.

Waiting On A Story
By Luke Walker

A question I see a lot of writers asked (and asking for that matter) ties in with the ‘where do you get your ideas’ question. It’s a variation of ‘how long do you wait on an idea’. Often, this comes out as ‘which one do you write first’. My answer is always the same. It doesn’t really matter as long as the stories are written in the end. I started work on my book THE RED GIRL in June 2010 and finished the first draft in about two months. That’s about half the time it usually takes me to write the first draft. Even while writing that draft, I knew why it was going so quickly. I’d had a rough idea of the plot for quite a while plus I’d had the characters with me for years. I came to THE RED GIRL more prepared for a book than ever before which is why it took so little time to get that first draft down.

I could have written THE RED GIRL back when I first had the idea for the plot (around 2003-2004, I think), but it would have been a terrible book. The characters featured in the second book I wrote which was a couple of years before the plot came to me, and while I loved the characters, the book was terrible. There was no plot, no direction, no real narrative. Worse than all of those issues, it was boring. Unfortunately, it took me a little while to realise that and to admit it was the best I could do at the time. Writing THE RED GIRL soon after it wouldn’t have been right because even though I didn’t know exactly how my story would go, I had a feeling it could be a good book. It could be one of the best things I’d ever done.

So I sat on the idea. I let it simmer and I wrote other books. A couple of them were rubbish, a couple weren’t too bad and I may return to them at some point to see what I can do with them now I actually know what I’m doing. All through those books, I thought about the story of THE RED GIRL and I thought about the characters. Before writing the first word, I knew who the characters would be. They’d stuck with me from my second book; they’d grown a bit older which was only fair. As we got into 2010, I started thinking more often about those characters and where they’d be now. They’d have mortgages and they might be married. They might have kids; they might be getting a bit porky and be worried about it. They might have lost parents and they’d very probably have moved out of their hometown. And I was pretty sure they were being haunted.

That’s where THE RED GIRL came from – a plot idea I had in my early twenties which I sat on until I thought I could do it justice, and characters I first encountered in their last year of school now a bit older. Put the two together and here we are. One horror story about getting older and the secrets we can’t leave behind.

All of this is a long way of saying it doesn’t matter too much to me how long a writer keeps hold of an idea or their characters. As long as the stories get written, that is.

Luke Walker has been writing horror and fantasy fiction for most of his life. His debut horror novel THE RED GIRL is available now from Musa Publishing. A number of his short stories have been published online at Dark Fire Fiction and in the emag Penumbra. He is thirty-four and lives in England, with his wife, two cats and not enough zombie films.

Book link:
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5 comments so far

  1. Luke Walker on

    Thanks for having me, Sara.

  2. Amaleen Ison on

    I love that the characters have stayed with you all this time, matured, had kids, taken on houses and mortgages.
    Great post, Luke.

    • Luke Walker on

      Thanks. I thought it was only fair that they were a bit older. It was nice to go back and see them again.

  3. Sonya Clark on

    Excellent post! The idea of sitting on a plot until you can do it justice is very good advice and a healthy thing for a writer to do. Good luck with The Red Girl!

    • Luke Walker on

      Thanks, Sonya. I’ve always worked with the idea of doing what’s best for the book. Letting this one wait was definitely for the best.

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