Today we have the second installment in my author interview series, woo hoo! If you missed the first installment you can click here to read Nancy Fulda tell us about how she works. But today we have Gareth Powell, science fiction author of The Last Reef, Silversands, and the upcoming Recollection, talking about how he does what he does.
Maya: So, Gareth, can you describe your writing process?
Gareth: As well as writing, I work part-time for a disabled children’s charity, freelance as a copywriter, and have two young daughters to bring up, so I have to juggle my time carefully and fit the fiction in where I can. This often means I do most of my writing in the evening instead of watching TV, and I tend to go to bed later than I should, which means I’m usually tired during the day. Sacrificing sleep for productivity probably isn’t a wise and sustainable strategy, but it’s been working for me for the last few years, and having a patient and understanding spouse is certainly a big help.
Maya: Have you ever had writer’s block, or given up writing for a while?
I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block. In fact, I don’t really believe it exists. I think it’s a self-inflicted condition. I have had periods where I’ve not known what to write about; but I’ve found that constantly tinkering away with notes and ideas keeps the process fresh and alive in my head, so that even when I’m doing something else, part of my brain stays in writing mode.
Maya: Can you tell me more about this tinkering? I like that image, very hands-on.
Tinkering involves scribbling short outlines of forthcoming scenes or chapters, fiddling with the overall synopsis, and jotting down things to remember for later in the story. By doing it, I’ve always managed to get back on track relatively swiftly.
I think that if you are determined and motivated, and if your writing is constantly in the back of your thoughts, whatever you are doing, then writer’s block won’t be an issue. Instead of sitting staring at a blank screen, you need to know what you’re going to write before you sit down at the keyboard, and so you need to train your brain to think about your story during the day. If you’re subconsciously mulling over the plot of your story while washing the dishes, walking the dog, or doing the shopping, you’ll find yourself coming up with all sorts of connections and ideas that you just can’t wait to get down on paper. Some of my best story ideas have come while I was in the shower, driving long distance, or walking to the pub. If you make sure you always keep a notebook handy, you can jot down notes that will have you ready and raring to go when the time finally comes for you to write.
Maya: I have found this to be true for me, too. Keeping the story stew pot simmering keeps the story hot, so when I sit down to actually write, it’s ready to go. But hey, tell us about your new book.
Gareth:The Recollection will be released in the UK and USA at the end of August this year. It’s the story of a perfectly ordinary bloke who tries to rescue his brother and gets whisked into a future world of cosmic wonder and unimaginable horror; and the story of a girl trying to redeem herself in the eyes of her estranged family. It contains love triangles, space battles, and ancient evils. It is a fast-moving mix of contemporary, character-based fiction and wide-screen space opera. I had a lot of fun writing it.
Maya: Thank you, Gareth. Good luck with The Recollection!
You can get more info about Gareth and his books at his site.
And I’ve got a half dozen more interviews in the can so far for you—well, they’re for me, really, because I love hearing about how other writers write. But hopefully y’all are enjoying these, too. Anyway, more to come!
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coming next: The Lucidity EffectLucidity is now with the editor, woo hoo!
today's yoga practice
upcoming book releases
a few greatest hits
- spike and buffy got screwed--now with proof! (part 1)
- remains of the play
- the yip-yips do not cause childhood obesity
- cool felt picture fun for kiddos
- the 13 year visitation of the demon red-eyed cicada
- lucille ball moment
- writing without pencil sharpening
- recycling other people's junk
- the emotional insanity of writing
- bad things come in threes. or fours. (or maybe fives?)
- crafts for karma
- going all erin brockovich on your ass
- flying kids
- diggers watch tv, too
- the TOOL shed
- butterfly house
- living the tie-dyed life
- yurts: the downside
- the way of the bento
- bikini power vs. the ratty sweater
- "Dusi's Wings" April, 2003. . . . "One thing fantasy can do for us is to give shape to the mysterious in the world; another is to make emotional yearning concrete. The early sections of "Dusi's Wings" do just that...there was a strong grasping towards the spiritual in fantasy here that was very promising, and I look forward to reading more by Lassiter." --review, Tangent Online.
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