The author of the featured story for PGS 2023 in April, THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE, is Daniel C. De Guzman, a 28-year-old office staff from Tarlac who started to love writing ever since he fell in love with Dan Brown’s novels. He later got interested in the horror genre through the influence of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. When not writing, he loves playing video games and listening to music that ranges from Deathcore to Japan City pop songs. His stories usually feature creatures from the mythologies of the Philippines, and here Daniel answers some questions about his recent story and his writing.
Where did the story idea for THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE come from?
The idea came when one time I was riding a bus going home. I saw this man on the bus who was actually holding what appeared to be a prayer book and I was expecting he was about to preach inside the bus. However, that realization suddenly halted when I realized that he was not like those bible-preaching passengers before who looked “religious” from head to toe. That’s when the crazy idea began stirring inside my head. I am into stuff about demonology and a big fan of John Constantine so I quickly took a mental note of a scenario about a roguish-looking man who expels demons in the bus by reading verses from the Holy Scripture. That is where the story THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE takes off.
What came easy to you when it came to writing this story?
The easiest part actually was adding the occult and esoteric stuff about gods. I am really interested in those things and even collect books about them. Also, most of the stories I wrote are bent on the paranormal so I think blending those things into the story was a bit easier.
What was the most challenging thing you had to overcome to complete this story, and how did you deal with that?
To be honest the most challenging thing for me was how I should end it. It took quite a time before I decided on the conclusion I wanted. At first, I really thought this story would end up becoming a series or a novel but eventually, I decided to just make it as a short story instead, although I am open to the possibility of turning it into a novel in the near future. But the real change was the editing and revision part which I am glad Ma’amm Mia guided me through with patience so that my story would get polished 🙂
What are the top three writing tips you would like to share with all aspiring storytellers out there?
One is to practice your writing since it’s a skill that needs to be honed. As much as possible, write as often as you can. Don’t just write if you are in the mood.
Two is discipline. Improving your writing means dedicating your time and effort all the time to do this. If you are serious about writing and see it as a passion (or even a vocation), effort is your number one ingredient.
Third, anything can be an inspiration for a new story. Just let yourself be open to even simple things around you and you will find an interesting concept for a story. Most of my stories are actually from things that I didn’t expect will become a good inspiration like, for example, a urinal or weird footprints in our office.
What’s the one thing not mentioned in your profile that you would like people to know about you?
I rarely get out of our house even on weekends so most of my hobbies are actually low maintenance and can be done all alone.