Questions for Authors Vision 65

Vision 65

Questions for Authors

By Lazette Gifford

Copyright © 2011, Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved

Here are this issue's questions and answers from a number of wonderful authors!  Thank you for contributing!
    1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?
    2. Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?


      C. J. Cherryh

       

      1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?

       

      The last I drew inspiration from was the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon. I was 10. I still love that series


      2.Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?

       

      The only encouragement I can give is this:

       

      1. Writers are people who will read the label on a toilet paper roll when there are no magazines handy. If you are one of those, never mind encouragement, you're going to write for the same reason you read. Inability to stop yourself.


      2. Your prose is never perfect. Forgeddaboutit. Edit only when you vitally need to remember where you are in the story---then start from the beginning and go clean up your prior prose until the inspiration for the place you stopped hits. If you get there and you still have no idea what to do next, take a shower, take a nap, take a walk, and then start the edit from the beginning again. Repeat as needed. If still stuck, go rent a motel room in the cheapest motel you dare stay in, one where the plumbing works but the telly doesn't, and don't go out except to eat until you've written past that scene. If STILL stuck, write: "With a mighty bound, [Name of hero] got out of that situation and headed for [fill in blank] where he found out that [fill in blank]. Then fix THAT spot on your next rolling edit.

       

      3. Writing is a way of studying the universe. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, "Humanus sum. Nihil mihi est alienus." "I am a human being. Nothing is foreign to me." Be curious. Take nothing at face value.

       

      4. If NYC won't publish it, you have alternatives. They just take more work.

       

      Sherwood Smith

      1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?

      Music, oh yes. Being a visual writer, I love music running as a soundtrack to the movie in my head as I dash down the first draft. And sometimes images from films will stick with me, but television and film is such a different medium from writing books — there is so much left out, implied, or just plain finessed — that they do not work for me as inspiration.

       

      2. Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?

      Writers are so different, and their processes vary so much, that I don't really know what would be considered inspiring. I just hope that when the year comes around, everybody will find those intriguing questions, nifty scenes, or interesting bits of dialogue running through their heads that will eventually turn into stories. Because I am as ardent a reader as I am a writer, I want to read those stories!


      Diana Pharaoh Francis

      1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?

      Music always inspires my work, as well as other books, TV, and let's face, everything under the sun. One specific instances are my short story (on my website) about my ugly vampire. Called All Things Being Not Quite Equal, it was a response to The Kindred, a TV show about vampires. They couldn't all be pretty, was my theory. And then there is my world of Crosspointe, which is influenced by Charles Dickens' Bleak House. I come up with soundtracks for novels and for specific scenes. Lately, The Gaslight Anthem's "When We Were Young" has been having a powerful influence on a story I'm writing. I put it on replay and the story unfolds.


      2. Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?

      You know, it's a scary changing world in publishing. But there are a lot of new opportunities. So keep writing. Because in the end, it's all about good writing.


      Lazette Gifford

      1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?

       

      I stopped watching television several years ago -- not becasue of some angsty, 'television is evil' thoughts, but only because they stopped making shows that interested me.  My husband pointed out that I was making my own entertainment and writing had completely filled in the spot where television used to  If I watch anything at all, it's generally an older show I've collected on DVD.  I don't go to the movies (once in the last 20 years, I think), and I rarely play music unless there is some horrible noise I need to drown out.

       

      And yet there are odd influences that have lingered from television and movies.  I find myself writing outsider characters of the type I liked to watch when I was younger and I am often drawn to desert settins with nomad tribes.  I know the desert influence came from watching Lawrence of Arabia -- a show that combines both the desert and the outsider theme.  Western television shows like Lancer, High Chaparral, Quest, and even Young Riders were filled with outsider characters, so it was these, rather than science fiction series or movies, that influenced me and still have some sway in the stories I write.

       

      2. Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?

       

      Write what you love and find your market, whether that is a traditionally published path or not.  And remember that one does not preclude the other (though do be careful with contracts!). 

      Don't pin your hopes on being the next huge hit.  Be reasonable in your expectations and persistant in your marketing. Persue your dreams, but do it wisely and dond't be discouraged when things don't fall right into place.  Keep at it.  You'll get there.


      J. A. Marlow

      1.  Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?


      Movies and TV definitely molded my paths. My big memories are of Star Trek running in reruns and then the movies and new series. The original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers.  Cap that with early anime hitting the US with shows like Battle of the Planets, Robotech, and then US productions such as Mighty Orbots, M.A.S.K., and others, and I was hopelessly captured.


      Since then I've been captivated by the big ifs. Of what could happen way out there, in outer space, other solar systems, other worlds, perhaps even other galaxies or universes.


      2.   Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?


      Even with all the changes going on in the publishing industry, there is one thing that has remained the same through it all: write good stories.


      Continue to write, practice the craft and improve, study other writers you admire. Always reach to become better.


      This means write new work. Write and write some more. The stories still rule.

       

      Blog: http://jamarlow.com

      Publisher: http://starcatcherpub.com



      Darwin Garrison

      1. Are there any movies, television shows, music or other media which has inspired or influenced your work?

      I don't draw much inspiration at all from the traditional Hollyweird media. From my perspective, their creativity is shallow and one-sided.


      I guess the two most engaging shows that I have watched in recent years were Babylon 5 and Firefly, but that's because they seemed to break the mold a bit and resonated better with the deeper memes and/or fun sides of prose fiction.


      I do draw some inspiration from Japanese anime. I have had several story ideas spawn out of watching series such as Elfin Lied, Ghost in the Shell, .hack//SIGN, Eureka 7, etc. What always kind of strikes me is that they are very good at drawing engaging characters and plots out of basically recycled and somewhat cliche concepts and memes but they suck - truly and horribly suck with lethal intent - at endings.


      (The prime example of this is Neon Genesis Evangelion, which had an original ending so bad that they've attempted to fix it, like, 7 times and still can't get something that makes any kind of sense.) That means you regularly get excited about the possibilities inherent in a concept along with the various character archetypes and then watch it all ball up and go to hell at the end.


      If that won't piss off and energize a writer to create his or her "own" story with rational and solid ending, I don't know what will.


      As for music, I tend to collect music that reinforces the "feelings" I have for a story rather than being inspired by music to create stories. As such, my listening tastes tend to reinforce previously created concepts rather than generating new ones.


      2. Do you have any words of encouragement for writers as they prepare for 2012?


      The world of publishing is changing. The walls to making your work available to readers around the world are simply no longer there. The traditional bottlenecks of submission and rejection ad infinitum while hoping and praying for a break is no longer the only path to publication, nor should it be in a truly free-market world of words.


      Those who will succeed are the people willing to learn and hone their craft and then reach beyond that to become current with and understand the business side of publishing. Despite the old myths, no one was ever really going to take YOUR best interests to heart and "deal" with all the "business" stuff for you. The current changes in publishing have simply stripped away the illusion of clothing that allowed the publishing emperors to strut around as if they - and only they - held all of the reins of market.


      The converse of this is that there are no excuses for writers to hide behind anymore. The truth is out that only you are going to take care of your interests. Thus, it falls to the writer to educate themselves not only on how to be the best author they can be, but also how to best market their works and protect the value intellectual property from being usurped by predatory contracting or frittered away for nothing in the rising cesspool of poorly constructed works being slung willy-nilly into the market.


      Quality will out, but only if your customers can find it. Build your knowledge. Build your networks. Then learn to work them with skill.


      Darwin's Website