Oct 022013

So you want to become a writer?

Yeah. I think I’d like that.

What writing have you done?

Not much, just some stuff that isn’t too serious.

Are you writing anything now?

Yeah, a few pieces that I have in various stages.

What are those pieces?

I’m not sure. Just some thoughts, some ideas. Like I said, nothing serious.

But writing is serious work, even if it’s not serious content. Can you get a little more definite about what you want to work on?

Hmm, well I guess I’m not very decisive about it. I’m not sure how to get more definite or specific.

I like that word “decisive.” That’s what I’m getting at. You’ll need to decide a lot of things as a writer.

Sure. I’ll need to delete words, choose words, rewrite without getting bogged down in indecision.

Yes. You’ll also need to choose what you are working on. In other words, you need to have a very clear, practical project in mind. For example, which of these sound interesting to you: A memoir, a novel, some short stories, magazine articles, or a non-fiction book?

Hmm. Definitely not a non-fiction book. I’m not interested in a biography or historical study or anything like that.


I was thinking of something more literary. A novel or short story.

What about a memoir or some kind of personal essay?

Maybe, but I’d be tempted to spend time explaining mydself, defending myself. I think writing anything like a memoir would just bring out lots of paranoia.

Makes sense. So you’re thinking something literary?

Yeah, like writing novels.

What kind of novel?

I like sci-fi, but there’s so much out there.

Well sure, but let’s not worry about a marketing angle right now.

(Laughs) OK, but I like the idea of creating worlds that are really strange. I like sci-fi, though I’m not sure if I could pull off something that could get beyond the stupid old robots and space ships thing.

Are there other genres where you create weird worlds?

Sure, fantasy is a big thing with me too, and lots of people like that.

That sounds like more marketing. You’re not going to earn an income from this. At least not at the start. You need to do some writing, pay some dues and so on.

I’m just trying to get to something specific, like you said.

Fair enough.

Fantasy could mix with other stuff. There are lots of urban werewolf things, vampire things, stuff set in present times. I have something like that in mind, something where I take the ordinary world and make something strange and amazing happen.

How about this. Instead of a world, can you make it much, much smaller?

Hmm. sure, like a very small town. When I was a kid we lived in this little town of about two thousand people. Lots of farmers, lots of old worn-down little factory buildings. It was very quiet and pretty boring, but you could get a lot of reading done.

Could you start writing with that, something with that quiet little town?

Maybe. I don’t know where it would go. It’s not a novel.

You can’t think up an entire novel in a few minutes. You can get a starting point, like a little town. Or you could have a very basic plot idea, like the queen of England is actually from another solar system.

Sure, well I could start with the town and see where it leads. I think that makes sense. Use a little town as a seed and see what I can imagine.

Exactly. Just live in it every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, live in that fictional place and let your imagination grow it out.

yeah, that sounds good. I’ll try that and see how it goes.

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