This one's doing the rounds again. Anyone who wants a set of questions... you know the drill.
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.
Questions from siraj
, answers by myself.
1. How many attempts on NaNoWriMo have you done?
I've had three goes at it... 2006, 2008 and 2009. All three were technically successful in that I hit the 50,000 mark each time, but the quality of the actual results was... variable. In 2006 I mainly did it as an excuse to exorcise a story that had been developing in my head for a few years previously. It was a fairly run-of-the-mill werewolf story, with its only actual distinguishing feature being that it's set in a very thinly disguised selection of local small towns. It's not very good, but after a lot of extra work it's about as finished as it will ever be. The 2008 story exorcised a few other ideas and plot points that I'd had a lot earlier. It was a sort of fantasy/adventure type of story with spies and magic and dimension-hopping and a classic motorcycle. The actual writing was a bit better but it needed more fleshing out into a complete story; also it stops very suddenly, after the big denouement (which rather fizzled out) but before some other plot points were dealt with that really should have been. The 2009 story was where I just took a single idea which I had no idea what to do with, and kept on going just to see whether anything much came of it. The writing is very waffly and needs to be cut down a lot, and the story only got about half finished before a succession of other matters interrupted things, with the result that it's still only about half finished. It's slightly steampunk, slightly Dickensian, then I go off at a bit of a tangent and send the characters out to some sort of frontier territory. I might try to get more work done on it later this year... I never got around to the bit with the zeppelins. I've got all three of them saved as Word files if you're interested in reading them.
2. What's your preferred genre in reading?
I've been a SF/F nut since as long as I can remember, although I'll read a lot of other stuff as well (but mainly non-fiction). I'm more interested in a good story than good science. The two books I think are absolutely indispensable are Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword
and Ben Aaronovitch's The Also People
; neither of them are all that well known, but they really should be... McKinley's book is structured like a Hero's Journey type fantasy novel, but the setting is more reminiscent of 19th century India than the usual mediaeval Europe type setting. Aaronovitch's novel is a tie-in to the TV series Doctor Who
, published while the TV show was on indefinite hiatus (and thanks to more recent streamining at the BBC is long out of print), and consequently writers could do almost anything they wanted with the characters (including cross-over fiction *cough*All-Consuming Fire
*cough*); it involves an advanced civilisation (apparently lifted shamelessly from Iain Banks' ideas, which just makes me want to investigate his
books), a Dyson sphere, lots of artificial intelligences and copious quantities of whimsy.
3. What do you like about music, stylistically?
I like lots of different styles of music (about the only one that's a real turn off is country and western) but an important pair of common threads that seem to run through much of what I really appreciate are: Good songwriting
, and Performing like you mean it
. I'll listen to a lot of stuff that's generally considered Uncool - `seventies prog-rock and `eighties synth-pop included - if the songs are good and the performers are putting their hearts into it. The corollary to this is, if any music I talk about sounds like it might be interesting enough to hunt down on You Tube, you're probably best on turning your speaker volume down a bit before trying them out. For example... last night I was listening to Australian punk rock (The Saints' Know Your Product
) and Norwegian synth-pop (A-Ha's I've Been Losing You
). There isn't really all that much that the two of them have in common...
4. Have you ever done a collaboration with writing?
There's a couple of collaborations I've been involved with... Way back in the early 1990s intheologus
and I collaborated on a huge story set in a rather strange sort of universe where the normal laws of physics only apply when they can be bothered... About 100,000 - 150,000 words of it got written (sending chapters backwards and forwards by post) before we ran out of steam. The story isn't dead (it got rescued from a bunch of old floppy disks a few years back) and I've handed ownership of all my work on the story over to him so that he has carte blanche
to work on them as he sees fit (the setting was all his idea and he contributed about two thirds of the actual writing and most of the plot). The first chapter used to be up on the internet somewhere but I can't find it any more. The other collaboration I've been involved with started off as a comic book role-playing forum... after the comic book company in question went bust in rather spectacular fashion, the group kept together, and after a few site moves is still keeping the stories going. I'm fairly much just on the periphery, these days, although a couple of my characters still pop up occasionally. I haven't been there in a couple of weeks - a move from one bulletin board program to another scrambled my characters around a bit and I'm was going to wait for things to get settled before going back to fix stuff up, then I ended up too busy to do anything for a while - but I'll be back eventually. And a number of the original characters of the group ended up getting their own spin-off web comic, Allos
5. Do you have any ideas that someone might consider 'out there'?
Certainly. Different people have different ideas of "out there" though... one of my characters in the group described above, I've been asked never to repeat the description of in polite company (which is why I was more than usually circumspect in the previous answer... said polite company reads this blog, knows where I live and is proficient with pointy things). I've got opinions that aren't all that mainstream, although more just "odd" than "seriously weird". But if there's anything I write about that sounds a bit "odd" or "iffy" to you, let me know and I'll try to explain it.