Interview with Lex Williams

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was motivated to become an independent author by my desire to share these stories that I feel the urge create, while acknowledging that the ideas themselves, and my style of writing, don't lend themselves to what you would traditionally expect ( I understand that sounds rather 'hipster' of me - like "I'm too cool for the mainstream". I'm not, I just like feeling unbound from the reputation or demands of a proper publishing house. I like knowing that I can write just about anything I want, writing it how I want, and not having to worry about making a story marketable ( I write stories that I wouldn't call 'offensive' ( that term implies that I'm doing it to offend ), but I would call them 'inflammatory' and 'unmarketable', because that's how I feel these stories need to be in order to communicate the ideas within and I don't like the idea of some story editor, working for a publishing house, telling me I need to tone down the violence or horror because it's not marketable. I don't want to be a slave to marketability. At the same time, I fully recognise that committing to that means that I'm likely to alienate what would otherwise be an audience and end up with almost no-one reading my stories. And I'm OK with that ( Sure, it'd be great to have millions of dollars for my stories, but I'd rather have stories that I'm proud of and mean something to me ) ) ).
What is your writing process?
My process is as follows:

1) Take an idea ( I have an ideas bank that I add to whenver I have something ( not that every idea is worth using, but I think every idea is at least worth jotting down ) )

2) Construct a plan for that idea;
2.1) Decide on the themes of the story I'm making from this idea ( these are the point of the story, and are my focus when planning a story. Everything is generally about how the themes are introduced, developed or concluded )
2.2) Decide on the characters of the story ( usually, I'll have at least the main cast. But they may increase / decrease when I'm actually planning the story )
2.3) Write a quick summary of the story ( no more than a few sentences, this is just the idea itself in a vaguely narrative form )
2.4) Write an executive summary of the story ( this is longer; up to a few pages. It details everything that broadly happens in the story, and serves to show where the characters are, how their motivations are obtained or changed and how and why they get from point A to point B ) ( what's most important about this part is making sure I know where all the characters are and why at every point in the story, as well as having a beginning and an ending )
2.5) Write a detailed summary of the story ( this will end up taking the executive summary, splitting it up into chapters ( usually it's one paragraph to a chapter ), and filling those chapters with dot points. I try to get at least 50 dot points per story, so that, for a 10000 word story, I'll only need to expand each dot point to about 200 words ) ( if I make any major changes to the story, such as adding new characters, that'll usually happen here )

3) Write the story from the detailed summary ( as mentioned, this will usually involve expanding each dot point to a few hundred words. It's at this point that the themes I started off with come into their own; influencing the manner by which the characters react and so forth ) ( I may also do further editing, but that will usually involve no more than a paragraph of detail to be changed, unless there's some major detail ( like accidentally writing the theme "xenophobia is OK because all of your anxieties are correct" into the story '>_> ) )
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is in the craft of storytelling itself, not necessarily writing. Writing is just the process by which a story is recorded in a literary form ( as opposed to speaking being oral, or taking videos being visual, etc. ), but my greatest joy is in the aspect prior to encoding a story in a given medium; the storytelling. Taking an idea, carving out bits and pieces with characters and story ideas, and then infusing them with themes and ending up with a blueprint for any medium that will tell an engaging story that means something. I like looking at my plan for a story, seeing the finished structure and just ... feeling excited at the prospect of this story actually coming to fruition.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy writing ( I'm writing this, aren't I? ), and I do strive to write better ( I always pay an editor to proofread what I write ), but my greatest passion and joy is in the structure. The framework. The scaffolding that the medium uses to communicate the narrative. I think it's there where the best parts of a story lie; when you analyse a story, you're stripping away those bits that are specific to a medium and searching for that scaffolding. Those are the bits that are the most interesting; not just in the wordplay or the smoothness of language, but in taking apart the higher order framework that places these characters in such a position that you feel something for them, that presents a challenging or engaging idea for you to think about, the tries to say something.

For how else will you know what a story is trying to say? ( I feel like I may have digressed a little here )
When did you first start writing?
I don't recall exactly when I first started writing, I've been writing stories here and there for a long time; much as I imagine everyone has written stories and drawn pictures and such in their youth. I first started writing for realsies ( that is, with the intent of getting a story edited and self-published ) after mid-year 2013. I wouldn't say I really found my voice and style until about 2017; after I had finished The Bleeding Man series and begun work on the Spire series. It was then that I began to explore more with varied ideas; short stories for very experimental stories, stand-alone novelettes for all of the different ideas I had and an ongoing series to give me a consistent goal.

I'm always getting better ( it feels like my newest stories are always an improvement ), so it feels like kind of a crapshoot; I started writing a long time ago, but I don't really feel like I started really writing properly until just now ( as if all those previous times where I felt the same were just me being mistaken ) ( and I expect this feeling to continue long into the future ).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to spend my spare time by watching YouTube videos ( which are an excellent time waster ), movies ( which are great for inspiration ), playing video games ( I used to really enjoy long and involved RPGs, but after leaving Uni and getting a real job, I just don't have time for it. I've found myself drifting more toward Indie Adventure games which you can complete in a day ) and reading. Usually reading Latin, that is ( I'm a self-taught amateur Latinist ( for reference I'm more of a "Language Latinist" than a "Historian Latinist", if you catch my meaning; my interest is in the language, I'm somewhat apathetic about the history of the Roman Empire ( I mean, they're all dead, after all. It's not like they can complain ) ) ).
Published 2018-01-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Bugbear
Price: Free! Words: 2,440. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
All actions have consequences. Is an evil deed justified, if it enables good deeds?
The Nightmare Complex
Price: Free! Words: 1,470. Language: Australian English. Published: January 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
On a distant moon, the machines of war tread. Killing, violating and consuming. Powered by the profits of the destruction it leaves in its wake.
Poor Lost Souls
Price: Free! Words: 3,520. Language: Australian English. Published: January 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(5.00)
A man awakens to find himself in a strange place that is vague, yet familiar with four other strangers. How did they get there, and for what purpose were they gathered?
The Liquid Experiments
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,970. Language: Australian English. Published: January 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A government black site on the Russia-Ukraine border is where a joint investigation between the two countries went dark after a spy broke in to the Kremlin Arsenal. Now, a garbled communication has been received by Russia, earlier than protocol demands. Tikhon and Akalina have been tasked with finding out what happened and reporting back as soon as possible.
Survivors of the Spire
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 12,210. Language: Australian English. Published: January 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
Dissent is the name of the game, as Essi, Temel, Daiki and R attempt to convince the general populace of the how untrustworthy Zorana's rule is while Zorana and Mazin have far longer term plans that they're working on. Will the quartet be able to challenge Zorana's influence, or will she succeed in bringing back the power of ... the Spire?
Thy Fall is Written
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 13,080. Language: Australian English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. Does *not* contain explicit sexual content. The plan has gone awry. The Supervillain won. Now, the only person left to challenge him is Zivka, an engineer of power armour. Soon, they will find themselves unable to escape one another and in that time, who knows what could blossom?
Brute
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 11,360. Language: Australian English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. What if the world agreed with everything contemporary feminism ever stated or endorsed? How far would that go? Brute follows Brutus, a boxer, in an allegorical criticism of the words and deeds of contemporary feminism.
Restoration of the Spire
Series: The Spire, Book 4. Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 11,960. Language: Australian English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. Essi, Daiki and Temel sit in safety, overlooking the destruction of the castle while they lick their wounds. Do they have a chance at preparing themselves to finish off their enemy, or will they live to see the return of ... the Spire?
Night of the Razor
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 35,370. Language: Australian English. Published: May 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. The tall, broad woman clad in armour with a boar-like helmet stepped into the street. Another night. Another crazy hurting people. That's where heroes come in. And if you can't find one? You might find Razor; a tired woman going through the routine in a world intent on breaking her. And tonight, it might just succeed.
The Glory of War
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 13,330. Language: Australian English. Published: May 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. A real man is a killer. Real men don't cry. Real men are warriors. Real men are expendable. Real men are sefless. A real man's feelings don't matter. A real man is a rock. Real men are cold. Real men are so utterly, helplessly alone. How many men must take their lives before the world admits that this isn't healthy?
Fall of the Spire
Series: The Spire, Book 3. Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 12,390. Language: Australian English. Published: May 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. With a spiked arm swinging by her side, and followed by the skittering, spidery Gelnora, Zorana charged toward the mountain where the bat-monster Temel and the mercenary Essi eyed each other cautiously. Will the monster and the mercenary be able to strike a blow against the Agrising Comminate?
I'm Going To Be Sick
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 11,620. Language: Australian English. Published: February 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. It's just another day in the anxiety-fueled nightmare that is Lungile's life. Tormented by forces outside of her control, today is the day she makes her choice. To move on from this pain, one way or another.
This Pluperfect Life
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 12,620. Language: Australian English. Published: February 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
The monolithic machine hummed in the centre of the dirty workshop. This was everything Ippolit had worked for, everything he'd sacrificed had come to this point. There was no turning back. A knocking came from inside the machine, followed by a bang. The door to the machine opened. Thick smoke drifted out, curling upwards. A silhouette stepped through the smoke ...
Return to the Spire
Series: The Spire, Book 2. Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 12,900. Language: Australian English. Published: February 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
The monster's howls echo through the night, silenced by the gunshots of mercenaries. In the weeks since Temel's departure, things have only escalated. Presumed dead, someone must head to the castle and fight back. That someone is Zorana, the head of the mercenary outfit. But is she truly prepared to face the horrors that lurk within the castle? And what does she know of ... the Spire?
Journey to the Spire
Series: The Spire, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 17,080. Language: Australian English. Published: February 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
In the darkness beneath the thick canopy of the Orphic Forest, something watches. Inhuman beasts crawl within its clutches, having appeared alongside a mysterious castle. The detective, Temel, seeks to investigate this unknown threat, drawing ever nearer to ... the Spire.
The Dark of Space
Price: Free! Words: 960. Language: Australian English. Published: February 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00)
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. What is there to fear in the dark void of space? A tear trickled down Yewande's face, for she knew.
Fear Peddlers
Price: Free! Words: 1,870. Language: Australian English. Published: July 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
(5.00)
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. Who will you always find, causing and benefiting from tragedy? Fear peddlers.
The Bog Monster
Price: Free! Words: 1,940. Language: Australian English. Published: July 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. In the darkest depths of the forest, a monster waits for its prey. But what is its prey willing to do to save itself?
Foreign
Price: Free! Words: 8,690. Language: Australian English. Published: June 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. On the edge of the Australian frontier, lies the thin veneer of civilisation. Obfuscated beneath its walls and order is a tribal aggression, but it bubbles to the surface, every now and then …
The Bleeding Man Season Four
Series: The Bleeding Man, Season 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,580. Language: Australian English. Published: June 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. The world is in ruins. What remains of humanity scrambles for the remnants of infrastructure and resources. On the brink of collapse there is order, but lingering on its edge is a coming darkness. A darkness that can only be met by the Bleeding Man, the Hanging Woman and Unbound. But is it already too late?
The Bleeding Man Season Three
Series: The Bleeding Man, Season 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,600. Language: Australian English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. The Bleeding Man is returned to a world changed in the months since the collapse of the Conspiracy. He must, once again, stand beside the Hanging Woman, Paul and Unbound to a face a greater threat to this world. A threat that beckons to one of the four ...
Mine
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 18,130. Language: Australian English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. Misfortune and malady comes to a mine commissioned by the Viscount of Esterlock in the name of the Crown. How far will he go to ensure its completion, and what drives this man into the darkest pits beneath the God-forsaken soil?
Internet Killed the Video Star
Price: Free! Words: 7,340. Language: Australian English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Technological
(5.00)
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. Emerging and evolving technologies are always seeking to improve our lives, and in many ways they do, but every improvement has a cost, and some costs are forever.
Christmas Candy
Price: Free! Words: 3,490. Language: Australian English. Published: December 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. 'Twas some days before Christmas, when all through the night People were stirring, as they lived out their plight; The lights were hung high, where the druggies would stare, In hopes that St. Hariman soon would be there ...
The Machine
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,430. Language: Australian English. Published: December 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Horror » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. After a series of surreal murders, the police detective Nkemdilim deputises Brita, a well known art critic, to assist her in trying to interpret the cause of the attacks. What follows is a horrific and surreal journey that involves the relationship of people to art, and the nature of humanity.
The Bleeding Man Season Two
Series: The Bleeding Man, Season 2. Price: $4.59 USD. Words: 50,550. Language: Australian English. Published: July 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. The Bleeding Man returns to finish what he started. Opposed by many, he must face the ramifications of his actions, and those he's wronged, all the while trying to survive the collapse of his own moral centre.
The Dark Hereafter
Series: The Bleeding Man, Season 1.5. Price: $4.59 USD. Words: 85,020. Language: Australian English. Published: June 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. A collection of sixty short stories that range from horrifying, to weird, to meta.
The Bleeding Man Season One
Series: The Bleeding Man, Season 1. Price: Free! Words: 100,060. Language: Australian English. Published: January 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
WARNING: Contains high impact horror and mature themes. Discretion is advised. John Black, an Intelligence Officer working for the government, uncovers a conspiracy that puts him in conflict with powerful people and his own humanity. A trail of horror and death is left behind as he struggles to stay ahead of the conspirators whose ire he's drawn.
Not Quite Hamlet
Price: Free! Words: 17,670. Language: Australian English. Published: January 30, 2015. Categories: Plays » Shakespeare
Both a parody and summary of the great Shakespearean play, Hamlet.