During the last two decades, Henry Snider has dedicated his time to helping others tighten their writing through critique groups, classes, lectures, prison prose programs, and high school fiction contests. He co-founded Fiction Foundry (est. 2012) and the award-winning Colorado Springs Fiction Writer’s Group (1996-2013). Thirteen years to the month from founding the CSFWG, he retired from the presidency. After a much needed vacation, he returned to the literary world. While still reserving enough time to pursue his own fiction aspirations, he continues to be active in the writing community through a publishing house, classes, editing services, and advice. Henry lives in Colorado with his wife, fellow author and editor Hollie Snider, son – poet Josh Snider and numerous neurotic animals, including, of course, Fizzgig, the token black cat.
Your bio mentions your whole family are writers. How did you meet your wife?
We actually met in a creative writing class. Our first conversation ended up being a debate about whether a bit or a hack works better with a horse (this argument is still going on, today). Three days later we decided to hang out and watch The Dark Crystal. Out of nowhere she kissed me and we both said we love each other. None of our friends believed us because it was April Fools Day and we hadn’t even known each other a week. Seven days later I proposed. Hollie said yes before my entire proposal was even out. The funny part is that I was scolded for 20 minutes afterwards for not proposing the day we met because she “just knew.” We married three months later on July 1st, 1995. Now, twenty-five years later she’s still the puddle jumping (even in heels) crazily spontaneous tomboy I fell in love with.
How long have you been writing?
Fiction? Since I was around ten. I always hated reading. My parents started me on comics, then, once I was hooked, worked me up to novels. Early on I fell in love with not only the written word, but the magic it takes to create a story.
Have you written anything other than fiction?
Do grocery lists count?
What was the first thing you published?
The story was called “The Vessel” and was published in the anthology HELP! WANTED: TALES OF ON-THE-JOB TERROR. It’s a Lovecraftian horror erotica piece.
You mention two writing groups you co-founded. Why two?
They each serve different purposes.
In 1995 writer John Irwin, Hollie Snider and myself had been attending creative writing classes at Pikes Peak Community College. We decided to take the relaxed approach our teacher had and make a writing group. Hollie and I visited every writing group we could find (and two in Kansas), took notes, and we three founded the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group (csfwg.org) in January 1996. Its focus was “To Make Good Writers Better.” During my 13 year presidency, the CSFWG took awards:
In 2012 several authors in the CSFWG felt they weren’t getting what they needed out of the group and were all spending more time teaching new members than progressing their writing toward publication. We all discussed it and decided to press in a new direction. In July of 2012 a new group branched off.
Enter Fiction Foundry (fictionfoundry.org), whose focus is “Publication Prep.” This encompasses more aggressive approach to edits, discussions and support for query letters, formatting, inside information for self-publishers, etc.. Socialization comes in the form of chats and, for those local to Colorado Springs, CO, our infamous Beers With Writers.
Which of the two groups would you recommend to a writer?
That’s a tough one to answer easily. I haven’t been a part of the CSFWG for pushing a decade. Friends that are still in it say the group runs pretty much the same as it always has. Going from that, I would have to say it depends on the where the author is on their creative path. If they’re just starting out, then the CSFWG. The group is friendly to newcomers and helps writers get a grasp of the process. Now, if the author already has that grasp and is looking toward selling their work and seeing it in print, then I’d suggest Fiction Foundry. The people in both groups are great and supportive. In the end it really is up to the author as to where they are along their writing career.
Are there any other groups you’re a part of?
I’m on the Denver Horror Collective’s Steering Committee (denverhorror.com), and provide publication support (design, layout, editing, etc.) alongside my wife. In addition, I manage one of their online novel groups.
You haven’t published much, with 2020 appearing to be your most productive year to date. Why is that?
I’ve spent a lot of time teaching others and helping behind the scenes. The reason for this is that I love helping others achieve their goals, and, honestly, like so many writers, I’m afraid of both rejection and acceptance. My wife, fellow author and editor Hollie Snider, said I’m about to hit 50 in 2020 – it’s time to pursue my dream or let it go. I decided to pursue it.
At the time of creating this ABOUT page (July 2020) I’ve had 8 stories sold then published this year, with two more accepted, a novel in the final stages of editing, and a novelette selected by a new publishing house.
It seems you welcome criticism of your work.
Fair criticism, yes – absolutely. If someone doesn’t like what I’ve written and hates it. Please, tell me. However, take the time to tell me why. That’s what most authors want.
Okay, authors “want” praise, adoration, and money. We’re happy hearing something’s good…or bad as long as the person offers fair criticism and lets us know why they feel what they feel.
What about people who don’t offer fair criticisms of your work?
Talk to the Gnome.