Jukebox Time got a chance to interview Jimmy Blakemore in regard to his short story The Dead Writer’s Society. We got insights into his short story, tips for aspiring writers and much more!
Q. Welcome to Jukebox Time! How are you doing?
Jimmy Blakemore: I am doing fantastic! I have been busy with work, school, and writing. I have been working on a lot of projects lately. I always like to be engaged with something.
Q. Please tell us about your wonderful short story The Dead Writer’s Society.
Jimmy Blakemore: It is a short horror story about a writer named Michael. Now, Michael is a well-established and noteworthy author. He has written many short stories, novellas, and novels. But he always had an issue with procrastination. His literary agent, Sarah, whom he has been working with for years, is tired of getting backlash from Michael’s editor and isn’t afraid to let him know it. She starts complaining and fussing at him to finish the first draft of his new short story ahead of schedule. This time, he decided to listen to her and finish the draft before the deadline. But he develops writer’s block and cannot come up with what is in his mind, a good premise for his story. He begins writing. He wrote, “Jacob couldn’t find a single word to write; for days, he sat there in his chair…”. After writing for some time, he stops to see what he wrote, and all he sees on the page is this sentence written repeatedly on the pages. That is when the phone begins to ring. Michael answers and the voice on the other end introduces himself as Williamson. This voice says that he will be taking over for Sarah. Williamson then informs Michael that he died after having a panic attack caused by his writer’s block. That is when things take a turn for the worst.
Q. What inspired you to write this story?
Jimmy Blakemore: That is an interesting question. I started writing The Dead Writer’s Society as a project for a creative writing class I was taking. I had to develop a short story of fewer than 2,000 words in that class. The instructor said we could choose any format we wanted (i.e., short stories, poems, news articles, or even screenplays), and I knew I wanted to write a horror short story. So, I began brainstorming, and the name The Dead Writer’s Society kept coming to the front of my mind. At first, I didn’t know what it would be about. But then I started thinking of how procrastination and writer’s block can hamper a writer’s ability to get the words out and reduce the quality of their writing. That is when I had the idea to write a horror piece about precisely that.
Q. Any tips, experiences, or advice you would like to share with all the aspiring writers out there?
Jimmy Blakemore: There is one true way to kill a good story. We all need to be well-versed in grammar, voice, tone, and style as writers. A great resource to help with improving on these is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. It is a short book. Maybe about 100 pages long. Another thing to remember is that if you want to be a writer, you have to read and write as much as possible. This will allow you to (1) learn how other successful authors use literary techniques, and (2) if you write a lot, and I mean a lot, you will be able to develop and improve your craft as a writer. You can’t really be a writer without doing these things. Another thing to consider is to write what you know. This refers back to the “read a lot” idea. If you want to write horror, read a lot of horror and learn about the genre and its history. If you want to write young adult fantasy stories, read them and learn about that genre and its history. Write what you know.
Q. We came to know that you are working on a new short story titled THE SOUND OF A. Please tell us about that story and also kindly tell us if you are planning to write a book in the future?
Jimmy Blakemore: Yes, that is true. I am working on a short story titled THE SOUND OF A. The idea came to me while I was listening to Alice Cooper’s song of the same name. But I am not using the premise of his song—just the title. This title will be more of a grungy, psychological horror story. I think that the protagonist is going to have a lot of thrills coming his way, whether these thrills are real or just in his head. The story is really going to play into the character’s fears. I kind of feel bad for this guy, to be honest.
As for writing a book, that is a part of my plan. My first book does not have a title yet. But it will be a collection of short stories. The short story seems to be a dying art form, and I want to be one of the ones to contribute to this form of fiction writing. That being said, I will be working on writing many short pieces of fiction that readers can enjoy.
Q. Finally, as we ask all our guests on Jukebox Time, do you have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with the world and our readers?
Jimmy Blakemore: The moral of the story is to do what it is that you love and are passionate about. For me, that is writing, and I am excited to share my work with the world, and I won’t be stopping any time soon. Also, I will let you in on a little secret. I have another short story that I just finished a first draft of (it does not have a title yet), and I have another story that I will be starting soon called The Ones We Love. Remember to stay spooky!
About the author: Jimmy Blakemore is an American author of horror, suspense, sci-fi, and crime short-fiction. Born Valentine’s Day of 1992, he spent most of his childhood being homeschooled by his mother. This allowed him to study what interested him the most: grammar, writing, poetry, and foreign languages. As he entered his teenage years, he became increasingly interested in the works of Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. He would become inspired to become an author after seeing the film adaption of Stephen King’s 1408, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Currently, he is working to obtain a B.A. in Creative Writing and English and published his first-ever short stories, THE DEAD WRITER’S SOCIETY and THE BAHNER HOUSE, on Medium.com. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Authors Guild. He has two new upcoming short stories called THE SOUND OF A and THE ONES WE LOVE.