I write fiction. Lots of really short fiction (sub 1000 words) although I’m slowly moving into writing longer works. Also this year I’ve started writing comic scripts. I also sit around on my arse colliding ideas together to see what happens. The results of this activity tends to explode out in IRC where I am prone to ranting at other writers and artists.
what are you currently working on?
I’m working on a short story as a Christmas present for a friend’s brother at the moment. I’ve just finished putting together a print on demand book so I’m starting to move into marketing that. Which while this isn’t the fun part of writing; it is part of being an independent writer sadly.
Okay not sadly. It’s rather fun when I get off my backside and do it.
I am also doing some world building for a comic book and novella to come out in the new year.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
At the moment, because this is always liable to change, my biggest influences are probably a combination of music and a collection of authors who I can’t quite pin down specific names of the entire set. Warren Ellis is, for sure, an influence from his comics and the print on demand book he published recently kicked me back into action over my POD book.
William Gibson is a formative influence on my writing in both style and approach. Probably my favorite video on the internet is a reading of Spook Country by him on Fora TV where he then goes onto answer questions. He’s basically the biggest influence.
Cory Doctorow even though I’m not a major fan of his fiction is an influence in terms of online presence and relentless enthusiasm.
Warren Ellis also does this but in terms of getting into the business of writing for a living it is probably Cory Doctorow whose career, if I go onto to make a full time living out of writing, mine will probably model trajectory wise.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
I’m not really self aware enough of myself or my work as it is perceived by people at large to answer this probably. This might work to my advantage. It might not.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
The main strengths of writing fiction, especially short fiction, is that it is a medium about ideas and character. With a high turnover of both which means I’m forced to keep trying out new ideas and techniques to keep things novel.
Those are also weaknesses. If I was writing for television or longer form fiction there’d be less focus on coming up with characters and new ideas. More of a focus on expanding with what already exists and eventually creating a deeper fictional reality.
The other major weakness is that it’s hard to get people to read what I’ve written because everyone who can read and write has pretty much the same level of ability as me to start with. The only way I can get around this is to write better and more interesting material that everyone else. Up my signal to their noise ratio, or something like that.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
It hasn’t impacted me personally since I was born in 86; so I’ve always had computers and the Internet, at least in the period where I’ve been writing. My normal thought process if I don’t know something has always been to look it up online.
But generally I don’t think that technology has changed writing much. It has speeded it up. Finding out information no longer, sadly, means going to the library to find a book. It means using a search engine which is quicker. I’m in contact with about thirty other artists and writers daily via the Internet. But for the last 100 years I could have been in touch with them via the postal system. What I publish on blogs I could have been printing and photocopying into zines just twenty or thirty years ago.
The impact generally has been in speed. Writing is still about having ideas and writing them down one word after another.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Just fucking do it. Seriously there’s no excuses. If you want to write you’ve got to write. And you’ve got to read. And you’ve got to spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about writing as well. You’ve just got to do it.
But you’ve also got to finish what you start. A lot of half finished novels may in terms of words written be higher than a lot of finished short stories of flash fictions but the learning experience from finishing those stories will be higher.
Currently I’m reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, because somehow I’ve gotten through life without reading it, and two short story collections. The first is Ian Rankin’s “A Good Hanging and Other Stories” and the second is a reread of “Burning Chrome” by William Gibson.
More interesting is what I’m planning to read next because that’s going to colour heavily what I think about going into the start of 2010.
On my bedside cabinet I’ve got a copy of the Maltese Falcon lined up to read and I’ve got the urge to read Spook Country which I still haven’t read yet. In the next week I’ll be getting a book filled with essays about Science Fiction, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a book on Japanese aesthetics and a book entitled Militant Modernism.
In quiet moments when I just have a few minutes I’m reading Dodgem Logic and the rulebook for a role-playing game called HeroQuest.
what are you listening to at the moment?
Mostly I’m listening to the Royksopp and Daft Punk CDs I bought at the weekend. But I’m really enjoying all of the music put out by the netlabel http://www.blacklanternmusic.com/ so far.