Vincent Wood has had two pieces appear in Apeiron. “Heroin(e),” in our debut issue, and “Autopsy Report” in Issue 3.
What was the inspiration behind “Heroin(e)”?
It’s drawn partly from personal experience and partly from a reaction to the way people perceive users and addicts. In my university course, I remember reading a story by a girl about heroin users and feeling that it was so grossly misinformed and clichéd. I was shocked that anyone in this age could think that way about people who use drugs, and that’s when I sat down and wrote the first draft of this story. I wanted to point out that, although users tend to be damaged people, that doesn’t stop them from being people. Humanity doesn’t end at the point of addiction. I wanted to show this user character as undeniably affected in his thinking, but also capable of sweet, tender emotions. Despite the excessive swearing and graphic drug use it is, in essence, just a love story.
How do you write? With a pen? A keyboard?
I keep a notepad and pen on me at all times, so if I’m struck by sudden inspiration I scribble it down. Often, I flesh out the idea on train journeys or in waiting rooms. Then, when I have a solid enough idea of where the story is going, I sit down and type it out.
What is your writing process? How many drafts do you go through?
I’m forever editing as I go along, so I always re-read what I have already written before carrying on. Often I have the same paragraph in my head for days—playing over all the different ways it could be worded. If I’m being honest, I don’t do much editing once the story is stitched together. I find it very hard to pick apart an idea that I’ve nurtured in my head for such a long time so there are usually only one or two drafts with minor edits. I know that’s not good practice, but it hasn’t hindered me too much thus far.
Where did you publish your first piece?
That would be your debut issue, and I will be forever grateful for it. I submitted to you straight after leaving University, and that acceptance has given me the confidence to go on and have many more things published and even win an award. Without that acceptance I would never have had the wherewithal to think, “Yes, I am good enough to do this.”
What writers have influenced you the most and why?
JD Salinger–I’ve only ever read Catcher in the Rye, but I thought it was the best thing ever written (I’m scared to read anything else of his in case it lowers my opinion). I read it as a teen and it was the first piece of writing that so perfectly encapsulated such a distinct, yet abstract, set of emotions that I could identify with that it gave me complete and utter faith in the power of writing.
Will Self–His satire is razor sharp and poignant, whilst also oozing this level of controlled insanity that so many writers fail to pinpoint. I always feel I’ve learned something new about the human psyche when I read something by him.
Jack Kerouac–His spontaneous prose and uninterrupted writing style taught me that you don’t have to do mass edits or spend hours picking apart your own work to create something truly magnificent.
What are your favorite writing resources?
I must admit I don’t use a lot. I used to use duotrope.com to find people who would maybe put my work out there (that’s how I found you guys), but since they started charging for it I’ve switched to using The Submission Grinder.
Also, depending on what you’re writing, there is some pretty nifty free software out there like CeltX, but for the most part I find a pen and paper does the job.
Shout out to your favorite small presses and magazines—excluding us, of course.
Askance Publishing, Dreamcatcher Magazine, the delinquent magazine and You Stumble Into A Room Full of Poets. All little British presses, but they put some really great stuff out there.
Do you have a blog or author web site that we can direct our reader to?
I have a blog, City Sights, where I write about my relationship to London as a city and in comparison to other places I visit, but I post all news about my stories, articles, blog posts etc. on Facebook.
Do you have any upcoming work that we should keep an eye out for?
I’ve got a couple of pieces I’m dabbling with at the moment. One about burning bridges in order to go forward, and one about an artist who is prepared to do absolutely anything for the sake of his art. Hopefully, they’ll be ready for you soon.
What question would you have liked us to have asked?
Where do most of your ideas come to you?
Usually when out walking. It’s a great way to solve a problem or work on an idea because you have no one to talk to. Your mind focuses solely on the matter at hand. It’s best if you know the route so that you don’t even have to think about where you’re going. My advice to any writers who are struggling–Get a dog. It’s not compulsory to helping you think better, but it should encourage you to walk more.
Vincent Wood is a Creative Writing graduate from the University of Greenwich, London. He’s had several short stories published both online and in print by various magazines. As well as winning a special commendation from First Writer Magazine’s Eighth International Short Story competition Vincent was also shortlisted for Askance publishing’s 2012 short story competition. He lives at home in Hertfordshire, UK.