More Questions

More questions, this time from Ben (scroll down a couple of posts for the rules):

1. Some have said that there are two types of horror stories: those where many characters meet ill fates but others survive because they are smart and/or noble, and other stories where – smarts and moral standing aside – everybody gets fucked. What are your thoughts on this suggested taxonomy, and how do you see your stories fitting into it?

I don’t like my stories to follow the first line of reasoning because that’s not the world we live in.  There’s every chance that you can be good and right and true and still find that the thing under the bed wants to eat you, and nobody else.  Nobility and intelligence should be its own reward.  It wouldn’t be fair if it also meant you were impervious to the things that slide up stairs and drag chains down hallways.

2. Your writing style has been described by some as “sparse.” What has led you to work in your particular style of writing over others?

I’m a visual writer.  If I can’t picture it, I can’t write it, and I find that the best way to keep clear what I want to hit the page is to let the reader in.  I’ll lead the reader down the path, past the old church and up the hill that used to be a cemetary until they dug the bodies up and moved them nearer the river, but by the time we’re there, I think the reader’s already in on the game.  They don’t need lavish descriptions of every little details, which lets me use their imagination against them.  J

3. You’ve declared your intentions to write a Zombie novel. What sort of process are you using as you begin this longer work? Are you outlining intensely in advance, free-writing to see where the story takes you, or some other set of methods to enter into the story? Does this differ at all from your process for writing short stories?

I’m attempting to sketch out scenes, mainly so the whole thing doesn’t have a Final Fantasy you-meet-a-new-member-of-your-party-and-continue feel.  Other than that, my plan is as follows: 

1.      Work out the tropes and rules of a Zombie novel.

2.      Break them in interesting ways.

4. In your life, you have crossed many borders and lived in a fair number of worlds, including Anglo-American culture, Australian culture, Native American culture, and World-of-Warcraft culture. How do these different cultures and, more generally, your experience crossing borders influence your work?

I see my answer to your question in the last sentence.  Crossing borders.  I think the stuff I write that I’m most proud of, the stuff I want to be known for, is about what happens at the fringe, at the frayed ends of one world abutted to another.  Life’s fine, back there, where you know the rules, but take a couple of steps out of your comfort zone and you’re Custer, or Black Kettle, or Burke and Wills, or Grom Hellscream.  When two cultures clash, that’s where powerful stories are told.

5. Since you are Mr. Green, are you ready to confess to the world with what weapon, and in what room, you murdered Mr. Boddy?

I’ll never tell.  They can never get you without a confession, anyway.  It always bothered me that there was a game named Mr. Bod(d)y.  He had it coming, if you ask me, which you did.  By the way, in Australia, Mr. Boddy’s name is Mr. Black, so at least we can all rest easy that his doppelganger is alive and well.


One response to “More Questions

  • benfrancisco

    Figuring out the zombie tropes and then breaking them seems like a great way to start on the novel. I’m doing a bit of that with my YA novel, though I’m also trying to figure out which ones I *have* to follow. In the current draft, I tried to use a bit of a Greek-tragedy trope, and several critiquers were like, “No, you cannot use a Greek tragedy structure in a YA novel.”

    BTW, my answers to your questions are up now, too.

    I always knew you were the one who got Mr. Boddy. It was the lead pipe, wasn’t it? I know how you love those blunt objects for zombie-head smashing.

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