A little over a week ago I received a message from my friend Nick Sweeney inviting me to participate in something called The Writing Process Blog Tour. It seemed potentially somewhat spammy as an idea, and as a general principal I dislike the great majority of writers' blogs. The process of writing, I feel, does not need to be of inherent interest to anyone other than the individual at the wheel, so to speak; and those How I Done It style self-blowing internet trumpets wherein a person of whom I know nothing facilitates for my edification a fascinating glimpse into the daily life and inspiration of his or her undiscovered genius serve only to ensure that I will never read their work, because life is simply too short to care about where someone with no impact upon one's existence gets their ideas, such as they may be. Equally, I tend to avoid the work of those who qualify themselves with declared epithets - Banzai Turnpike, Writer or Jedbert Aggrandizer, Journalist. If the person is indeed a writer, an artist, or whatever, then this will be apparent from their work and requires no formal declaration, particularly not one carrying the insistence of a small child putting a cardboard box over its head and screaming I am a robot! The process of writing is not, I would suggest, inherently interesting in and of itself, and so I prefer to keep it in my pants, figuratively speaking.
Then after another few hours I decided it would probably be fun to respond - at least fun for me - and it might get a few more cyberbums on virtual seats, and was therefore probably the sort of thing for which I should make the effort to engage my enthusiasm; and so here we all are, pretending to enjoy ourselves.
Nick Sweeney, to whom none of the above reservations apply by virtue of his consistently delivering the goods, has written a very fine novel called Laikonik Express which is published by Unthank Books. See more from Nick at http://www.nicksweeneywriting.com
Each participant in The Writing Process Blog Tour will attempt to answer the following four questions.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on the cover painting for Liberating Earth, a short story collection edited by Kate Orman to be published by Obverse Books at some point or other. In terms of writing, I am presently transcribing and editing five diaries kept whilst in Mexico City from 1999 to 2005, to be self-published mainly for reasons of vanity some time soon. The work which I really should be getting on with, from which I find myself continually sidetracked, comprises fifteen or so short stories, three novels, and two novellas. All of these exist in completed first draft form requiring editing and rewrites to greater or lesser degrees. The novellas both feature the character Señor 105, a surreal Mexican wrestler created by Cody Quijano-Schell. The novels are called Golden Age, The Small Men, and Early Morning - all science-fiction for the sake of argument, although I like the term blue collar science-fiction because both Harvey Pekar and Charles Bukowski have been an influence. Once I've finished all this stuff I'll try to figure out what to do with it.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
It revives the non-ironic use of gnomes, has no desire to be made into either film or television, nor to be part of any existing popular trend.
Why do you write what you do?
Because if I didn't I would explode, no-one else seems to be writing it - possibly excepting Cody Quijano-Schell, and because I wish to read it. My ultimate, possibly unrealistic ambition is to produce fiction of such astonishing power as to shame others into either giving up, or at least making a bit more of a fucking effort.
How does your writing process work?
I write in blocks of around eight-hundred words a day inspired by the technique of A.E. van Vogt. I try to let the narrative develop itself, bringing in whatever element is necessary to either move the story forward or to at least ensure that I continue to enjoy writing it. I keep to this regime regardless of inspiration until I have produced something which can then be carved into a form suggesting both purpose and foresight on my part. Throughout the process I try to remain aware of my own capacity for bullshit, in order to keep myself from propagating any more of it.
Next week, Andrew Hickey and Richard Dominic Flowers will be on this branch of The Writing Process Blog Tour. Andrew is author of the forthcoming Faction Paradox novel Head of State, and of a great wealth of excellent self-published material, both fiction and non-fiction. Richard is working on an ambitious series of possibly Discordian novels - or at least that's how it looks to me - under the heading aNARCHY rULES, of which I have read the first, which is tremendous and promises much for those volumes to come. He was also one of the first people ever to provide constructive criticism of my own writing, and as such should probably be mentioned on one of those were it not for etc. etc. lists. Andrew and Richard will be answering these same four questions on their blogs, respectively Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! and The Very Fluffy Diary of Millennium Dome, Elephant.