I have been nominated for a fair number of WordPress blog awards in the past year, and I’ve ignored almost all of them. That’s not because I’m not grateful, because I am; it’s always awesome when people think of my blog in any remotely positive context, much less in a context involving a prize, but because I end up having to write the same post, more or less, over and over. I need to start working on recognizing other blogs more often, and the awards help with that, but it’s not at the top of the priority list just yet. (He said, smarmily.)
Anyway. It stands to reason, then, that the one time I see a viral blog post happening that I want to post an entry for, no one nominates me. 🙂 So I’m pretending that Taylor Grace or Part Time Monster nominated me, and I’m going to re-tag Winter Bayne and Gene’O over at The Writing Catalog just to be a jerk.
On to the questions:
1. Why do I write what I do?
I write, loosely defined, speculative fiction— mostly of the science fiction and fantasy genres, with a smattering of heavily H.P. Lovecraft-influenced horror mixed in there as well. Trouble is, for the most part I can’t keep my genres straight. Those three were what I read most as a kid (and, truth be told, still do) so they’re what I associate “writing” with. When I’m not writing fiction? Well… look around. My nonfictional/blog stuff is mostly about teaching, although I’ll write about anything that strikes me around here and my blog is frequently filled with nonsense.
2. How does my writing process work?
Blogging is first-draft, sit-down-and-go stuff, and once I can get started (which can take a while) if I’m writing nonfiction I write insanely quickly– I once pulled off a thirty-page paper in a few hours in grad school. Got an A, too. Fiction requires hours, days or weeks of “thinking” (read: procrastination) and is much, much slower, although one benefit of the advanced thinkytimes is that my first drafts tend to be pretty clean.
If I’m doing blog posts, nothing is required– I can bang out a blog post while watching my son and cooking dinner at the same time. (And I’ve done that.) Fiction requires solitude, music, the house to be reasonably clean, nothing else hanging over my head, and music. I’m thinking of keeping a running soundtrack of my current novel, actually, which so far includes Murs, Mika, and Meg Myers, because apparently iTunes got stuck on M yesterday.
3. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Genre-bending and humor, although I think tonally my work sounds a lot like John Scalzi, if John Scalzi were about a third as good as he is, and that might be overstating my abilities. But, yeah, the genre-bending. My series The Benevolence Archives involves ogres and gnomes and dwarves who ride around in spaceships, so I clearly don’t know what the hell I’m doing in keeping genres together. My first novel, Click, was originally going to be a Conan-type barbarian sword & sorcery thing and somehow ended up with the first major scene being set in an antique shop on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Hopefully this means fans of either genre will like me; the darker parts of my brain think it’s going to ghettoize me out of existence.
I suspect I was bad at coloring in the lines as a kid.
(You can buy The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 at Amazon right here, if you like.)
4. What am I working on at the moment?’
Two projects: One, a Benevolence Archives novel (the piece linked above is a short story collection and is novella-length) and two, an entry for the Baen Books Fantasy Adventure Award that is– eek– due in just a couple of weeks. The contest entry is kinda giving me fits, because of the genre-bending tendencies I discussed above: it’s wanting to bend toward horror more than I think a “fantasy adventure” story ought to, and I either need to rein it in in a direction I don’t think the story wants to go or give up on submitting it and come up with something else. Which… God, who knows how long that could take.
(Oh, and random advice: if you’re going to take a picture of your workstation for a blog post, make absolutely sure there isn’t a credit card sitting on your desk, face-up, right next to your keyboard! That is an incredibly bad idea!)