I’m participating in a blog hop with other writers in which we answer questions about what and how we write. Before I answer these questions, I’d like to thank Tom Doyle for inviting me to participate. I met Tom at an event at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and was immediately impressed by his writing. We shared a mutual love of classic civilizations, and that is reflected in our writing. Congrats to Tom on his recent book publication, American Craftsmen- find him at http://www.tomdoyleauthor.com/news-and-blog/
Well, here goes…
1) What am I working on? I currently am working on diversifying my portfolio of science fiction short stories. I have a special place in my heart for flash fiction (fiction under 1000 words)- I find the ability to transport someone to another place and time and do it in under 5 minutes to be incredibly powerful. I am also working on a feature-length screenplay, entitled Tantalus. Screenwriting has been a fun experiment for me and has honed my ability to write dialogue and imagery.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? My work tends to focus on cyberpunk themes (high tech at the expense of our humanity), as well as themes of what constitutes humanity and being alien or otherwise alienated. While these themes are by no means unique to science fiction, I try to set these themes against a backdrop of space opera. Recently, I wrote a piece of retro Cold War era science fiction comedy, which I found to be very unique amongst its competitors.
3) Why do I write what I do? I often wonder that myself. I tend to write whatever speaks to me, whatever I am feeling in the moment I set out to write. Given that my work deals with some aforementioned dark themes, my wife and mother often worry about what dark thoughts are kicking around in my head. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as I have recently branched out into writing science fiction humor. Ultimately, to use a bit of a cliché, I try to write things that I would like to read myself.
4) How does my writing process work? As stated above I write a lot of flash fiction. Given the considerable time constraints of my day job as a medical student, short writing sessions of 1-2 hours are generally my norm, and these generally come on weekends or late at night with plenty of coffee. I sit down to write when I am struck with a new idea, so I usually know where my story is going when I start- I have a beginning, a middle and an end in my head. That said, I leave myself open to course corrections along the way as my characters and my tale unfold before me. Once finished, I do a few read-throughs to correct any typographic errors or awkward phrasing/dialogue, and then I am done. This is rather controversial, but I rarely if ever do rewrites. I try to follow Heinlein’s rules of writing science fiction, one of which is that you must never rewrite except by editorial instruction. The thinking goes that the time spent rewriting could better be spent writing the next story, and I have stuck to it thus far into my career.
That’s it for now, I will soon be updating shortly to add the next participants- friends and author colleagues who will be repeating this exercise on their own blogs!