Friday, December 17, 2010

CV Interviews Himself Part II

How is the Writing Coming Along?
Great.  I always say I never get writers block, which is probably asking to get karmically bitch slapped, but it's true.  Perhaps it's just the type of stories that I write, or my writing style, but I always feel like there's a natural progression to the story to be followed.  Once in a while I might have to sit back and think about how a character might react, or what needs to happen to move the plot to a certain place, but I don't consider that blockage.

So It Sounds Like You Plan Your Stories?
Yes and no.  I tend to write an outline of at least a few chapters before I start writing, but nothing is never set in stone.  It's probably easier to go through the process I took for each post CW novel that I've written.

The Chosen - I generally stayed a few chapters ahead in my outline at all times.  I do like to write and have a little bit of an idea where things are going because it gives me a goal to work towards.  That having been said, I just write what makes sense within the context of the story, which doesn't always end up following the outline.  There might be additional chapters necessary, or things might need to be done in a different way.  I know that's a little vague but it's difficult to describe.  For The Chosen, the middle was originally going to be the ending, and it just didn't feel right.  I felt that there was more to the world than what met the eye, so I started thinking about the characters and what they'd resolved when they got to that point, which was absolutely nothing.  It was a really bland story.  And then it just clicked, well if this guy is this, then all this shit happens...etc.  Just read the damn book.

Arnett Tanner Wants to Die - Oh ATWtD.  I started this novel with a single concept, and I wrote about the first one hundred pages with absolutely no clue as to what was happening, or how the story was even going to end.  The characters, and their motivations, really drove this one hard, and they're what ended up giving me the ideas that ended up being the rest of the book.

Skankarella - My most planned out novel to date.  I had the outline of all twenty-one chapters done before I started writing.  The book will finish with 31-ish chapters, so you can kind of see how that went.  It was the same as The Chosen, I would get to certain parts and realize that the characters needed more growth and more transition, but it does follow the outline pretty closely.  The funny thing is, a few pages into the novel, I decided upon what is probably the main theme of the story, that Skankarella is a lesbian.  Better late than never I guess.

So What is Writing a Novel Like?
Terrifying.  Okay, that's not completely true, only the first 10,000 words or so.  I'm always afraid, when I start a new project, that I don't have enough of an idea for a story to actually write a novel.  I'm always afraid I'll end up telling the entire story in twenty pages, but things always seem to develop and blossom as I get going.

That aside, I don't know how I'd quite describe it.  I am more a thinker than a talker, so being able to insert myself into a world while I am simultaneously creating said world is probably the greatest thing I will ever do.

What is the most difficult part about writing a novel?
Editing the fucking thing after you've written it.  I am not a fan of editing.  I like it in that I know it's making my work better, but I think it's really tedious.  I have gotten better at it though, in seeing what I can add to make things more vivid rather than merely correcting grammar and syntax.

You, as all writers do, base things on parts of your life.  Do you ever worry about pissing people off in the way you portray them?
In a word, no.  Maybe if I was writing things that presented themselves as truth, but I am a fiction writer.  Probably the big one that I could conceivably have issues with is Cube Wars since ever character (except for one) is based on someone I know or knew personally, but Cube Wars is an absurdist piece or work.  There is no attempt whatsoever to portray anyone even remotely accurately.  I did think about it for a little bit, then I realized that if people are taking their "portrayal" seriously in a work where people are beating each other to death with filing cabinets and in which monkeys and carnies play prominent roles, they have the issues, not me.

What are your favorite scenes to write?
Blowjob scenes.  Not really, actually sex scenes aren't that high up on the list.  There is a lot of pressure to be serious, to avoid cliches, and to insert sex in a way that either drives the story, or develops a character.  Plus I tend to be a little weak as a descriptive writer (at least I think so).  My favorite scenes to write involve dialogue because it's so easy and it just makes sense to me.  Every character's conversation seems so natural I can just fly through pages of dialogue without blinking.

What's your favorite genre to write?
Well, obviously fantasy since I've written four fantasy novels of various types.  I like things that have a bit of a point, so writing straight up action isn't really my thing.  Personally I love romance, or things that contain an element of romance.  I think it's interesting how love can solve a lot of problems.

So which story was your favorite to write?
That is tough.  I love The Chosen because I love a few of the scenes and settings that are in that book.  I love ATWtD because I think it's the most meaningful, because it's a little dark, and because Havoc Bentley is such an entertaining character.  I love writing Skankarella because I think it's the best thing I've written, I love the two main characters and I love how they interact with each other and the world around them.  And I loved writing CW in high school because I didn't worry about my prose being juvenile and ridiculous because the novel was supposed to be juvenile and ridiculous.

Which one is the best?
Four different genres of fantasy, impossible question.  Not many people have read them so it's hard to really say.  I feel like Skankarealla might be the best written, but I think that ATWtD is the most meaningful and capable of having the most impact.  I'm not going to dazzle anyone with intricate story lines and a complex web of plots that all tie in together like Harry Potter or a Michael Crichton novel, it just isn't my style.  I like giving the reader characters to follow and bringing them into a world that they can observe and make their own judgments, kind of like how people actually live.  When you're living your life, you're not bombarded with the themes or emotions of certain experiences, you just experience them as they come, so that's how I write my characters.  You don't really see my characters pontificate on how awful something is like Bella Swan on her period.  My characters merely act and talk a certain way based on how they feel and the reader draws the emotion of the moment from that.

How do you honestly rate yourself as a writer?
Probably an eleven million.  It's hard to say, I've written it all, so of course I have an attachment to everything.  I do know I'm not famous yet, or doing this for a living, so points off on that.  I feel like my characters are interesting and realistic, and that readers can relate to them and root for them.  That's all you can really ask for, I guess.

I always worry that I'm not going to deliver on a good concept.  Take ATWtD.  It's a great concept, I knew when I first came up with it that it was a really good idea for a novel.  (Not cocky, just honest.)  But I wonder if it has enough of an impact on a reader, or at least if it has the impact that I want it to.  It can be hard to tell as a writer because you're so close to the story.  I'm not even really sure what sort of impact it should have.  I think that in life as medical advances continue we have to continually ask ourselves if a less than desirable life is preferable to death.  Perhaps the mere fact that ATWtD gets people thinking about that concept is enough.  I do like the sheer uncertainty in ATWtD though.  Whenever someone asks me how a story ends, I always tell them the same thing, "everybody dies," because it's the truest thing there is.  Life has a 100% mortality rate.  But in ATWtD, not even that is certain.

How does this interview end?
Everybody dies.

Good night.


  1. You are very good at interviewing yourself, haha

    I like your responses for which novel you thought was your best. I personally love putting myself into a character's shoes and experiencing their world as if it were my own. With some books, I just can't get into them that much to be able to do that.

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