I’ve been tagged by writer and bookseller Gerard Elson in a blog hop where writers share their thoughts on their work. You can hop along and read Gerard’s response to the QnA here
Q: What am I working on now?
Apart from preparing for both a panel and a launch at the Bendigo Writers Festival, two books are taking up all of my time at the moment. Antony and the Robot is, although it sounds like a sci-fi, a contemporary Lit-fiction. Think Real Humans where the robots are so human like you can’t tell the difference. The focus is on Antony (who is not a robot) and his relationship problems that he attempts to cure by purchasing a robot to act out a relationship without emotions. It’s a story about the man, not the robot.
I’ve also gone back to a manuscript, Ulrik and Sable, that I was working on before I started The Neighbour. The reader follows Ulrik, a homeless man who hooks up with Sable, a woman who takes advantage of his situation for her gain. I’ve set it in my town of Bendigo and used Bendigo icons and scenery.
Q: How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I guess you have to first establish my genre? The Neighbour is a Psychological Drama, Antony and the Robot might be classed as Science-fiction, but it’s more Contemporary/ Literary, and Ulrik and Sable is Contemporary Fiction/ Literary. They all come under both the Contemporary Fiction or Literary Fiction umbrellas.
The one thing they all have in common is the intense honing in on the characters’ thoughts and reasoning to heighten the believability of actions. I found it necessary to do this when writing The Neighbour to ensure that readers believe the main character’s antics, so that the style of writing places the reader firmly in the mind of the character. It’s a necessity for any writer to do this to some extent, but particularly essential when the characters are doing out-of-the-ordinary things. This method follows through to Antony and the Robot, to ensure believability of Antony’s interactions with the robot, and the same for Ulrik as a homeless man to ensure the readers understanding of Ulrik’s choice to put himself out on the streets.
Q: Why do I write about what I do?
You only have to look at the answers to this question from other blog tour writers. Stuart Barnes said, “it’s my cure”. Daniel Young quotes Mario Vargas Llosa: “Writers are the exorcists of their own demons”. Gerard Elson says, “the crisis I’m constantly circling is: how do you be a decent human being in a world seemingly designed to produce selfish, bigoted people?“.
I write characters from the psychological viewpoint of their actions. And my answer is similar to other writers: to tease apart and understand the way people behave in their lives, including my own.
Q: How does my writing process work?
After years of wafting around and chasing the story line, I now plot before writing. Plotting out a story goes a long way to getting the job down. Plots can change as you go along, and I frequently add, delete or alter; it’s always fluid. I trained myself to write quickly and edit later with years of writing a thing called Morning Pages which is just another name for diary writing every morning, but it’s a strict three pages. It’s an idea taken from a program I did fifteen years ago by Julia Cameron with a book called The Artists Way. So now when I write I use the mechanisms that I’ve learnt from writing Morning Pages: mining your brain for words – See the Leunig cartoon above for a description of that ; don’t stop to edit on your first draft; don’t stop to question what you’ve written in the first no matter how shitty it is. I start by detailing with a few points what my aim for that writing session is, and go for it. And then edit edit edit edit edit edit edit
To continue the blog hop, I tag writer, teacher, poet, Sean Wright.