Chicago, IL

Bio: GHOSTS OF THE PAST 4 Days Ago Have you ever opened up some of your long forgotten poems, short stories or novels? Painful right? The document is probably littered with vague pronoun references, unnecessary shifts in tense and fused sentences. Even worse, there are sections of the story that don’t contribute to the plot, insignificant characters and mawkishly sentimental underlying messages. If you’re like me, the first thing you do is plant your face in your hands (a.k.a. the “Face-palm”) and try not to cry. Afterwards, you stare at the Delete button, tempted to obliterate all proof that this story or poem was once yours. Finally, after waging a war with your conscience, you decide to live and let live, leaving the document alone, but lamenting about how terrible your writing once was. But wait, that’s not fair. Your old work shouldn’t be some dark secret that needs to be hidden from the world. It should be a testimony of what you’ve accomplished. Not only did the “old you” put a lot of effort into that story, but the work is a reminder of who you as a writer once inspired to be. It’s a roadmap of your writing life. Sometimes, we as writers are very hard on ourselves. We have to be because we’re constantly pursuing perfection. However, we forget that we didn’t just learn how to write overnight. There wasn’t some magical gift bestowed upon us by a divine being. No, we had to start somewhere and work at it, and those old documents are a symbol of that. For me, once the shock wears off of how bad my writing once was, I realize how beautiful these works really are. Because behind the jungle of grammatical errors and turbulent plot hooks is a vision I once had. I see Justin Alcala, the writer who wanted to give readers a little scare with his horror stories. I see Justin Alcala, the yarn spinner who wanted to give a fresh perspective on legends and folklore. I see Justin Alcala, the young man who wanted to make people happy by telling great stories. All too often, we authors get swept away by the power that comes with having your works published. I know I get a real kick out of talking to my publisher about cover art or sending new ideas to my editor. It’s fun to put your work onto bookshelves. But we can’t forget about the fundamentals. We need to remind ourselves why we started writing in the first place, and those old tales are just the thing. So the next time your dusting off an old manuscript, remember what those pages really mean. The words may tell a bad story, but the history of its creation is its own sort of autobiography.

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63 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi, Justin. Thank you for following my blog, http://multimediameditations.com/. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. You really capture what it means to be a writer. And, you’re right. Although awkward or even bad, our earlier works are a testament to what we have accomplished. Also, some of our older works might provide us with ideas for stories. There’s always the rewrite. 🙂

  2. Wow Justin, with an “about” page like this I know following your blog is a must. This was an amazing read.
    Looking forward to your writing…your blog looks like it might just join my fav list.

    Thanks for the “drop by” 🙂

  3. Thank you for dropping by my blog (Converse with Kurti)! I look forward to sampling more of your work. Best, Piyali.

  4. Hi, Justin — Thank you for following WordBowlbyMsCharlieS.com (hope to see a “word” from you!) and thank you for introducing me to your well-considered thoughts on the creation process. Congratulations on the upcoming release of CONSUMED! Look forward to reading more…

  5. Justin,
    I enjoyed reading your about page and your thoughts on the old, dusty manuscripts. I have done the “hand-face” a lot before, but rarely (if ever) have I trashed the stories. The next time I read them, I will look to what I have learned and improved on – not how I sucked!
    I’m so happy you stopped by and decided to follow my blog 🙂

  6. Hi Justin. Thanks for following my blog. I’m really glad it led me to yours 🙂
    I’m in the initial stages of writing (sometimes I seriously doubt that!) and it really felt great after reading your ‘About’ page. I’m looking forward to read your work 🙂

  7. Justin, your enthusiasm is infectious. As for myself, it’s all so hopeless–I think I’ll go back to doing something simpler, such as dusting off that old net in the attic and resume, without prejudice, a flagging career as a quasi-intrepid trapeze artist.

  8. Greetings to you and the Second City, Justin. Thank you for opting to follow my blog. All the best on your literary and blogging escapades =)

  9. Firstly, I LOVE the pic at the top of your page-absolutely gorgeous!!
    2nd, thank you for the follow, I hope you enjoy what you find. I seem to be discovering several new aspects of my writing and am certainly open to tips, collaborations, etc. Congrats to you & your wife on the anniversary and hope you guys have an awesome Halloween.
    Kyla 🙂 (aka kikischeuer)

  10. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog, Justin. Great looking site here. Nice to meet another dark fiction/horror writer 🙂 Best of luck with the book, Consumed … looks like a great read. I like the Amazon review that said it was a combination of Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  11. Nice to be in contact. You found the blog where I write about photography. If you browsed more than my latest post you will be aware that the only topic I ever discuss is photography.
    Now that I know about you I will take the time to wander through your writings and get to know you.

  12. Hi Justin, thank you for stopping by and following my blog. It’s nice to learn that you are a dark fiction/horror writer since I’m a fan of horror & supernatural stories and movies. Looking forward to reading more of your posts…

  13. Hey, thanks for following my blog, and happy to have found yours 🙂 I know the feeling of going back to your work after a break, except for me it’s more like a face slap, than a face palm. lol

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