A little on Mr. Knowles. He’s a student at the University of North Texas. He wrote a story in our first publication, Twit Publishing Presents: PULP! Summer/Fall 2010.
Chris and I really liked this story and felt it was an awesome intro to the anthology. Who doesn’t want to read about why a zeppelin is a flaming wreck?
Why do you write?
Short version: It’s the easiest method, with the best, most immediate results, by which to tell stories.
Long version: I’ve always fancied myself a story teller, even if it’s just recalling some weird instance with my friends and I. I used to come up with tons of fictional romps, but never really had a method of putting them to paper. Each story really stood out as being best suited for a specific medium: this one would make a good movie, this one a comic book, and this one just has to be an animated series with a kickass soundtrack, etc. Mostly the entirety of my imaginary stories lived in my head and nowhere else. Then in my last semester of college (just this last spring), I took a writing class on fiction, just to fill some elective hours and, ideally, force myself to actually get some story ideas down on paper. Well it worked, rather marvelously, if I say so myself, and with very little effort expended on my part, I got some short stories written that my professor and fellow students all loved. A short time after my first great class review, I was scouring Craigslist, looking for some means of employment, when I stumbled across the ad for Twit’s first anthology, and as it would happen, they were looking for something just along the lines of what I’d written. I submitted it, it got accepted, and the first thing I’d ever authored for an audience other than myself ended up being the first story in their first anthology. Needless to say, the confidence boost was kind of mind blowing, and I realized the narrative format may actually be my ticket to telling all the stories I’d dreamt up over the years. And here we are.
Use whichever version you prefer. The long version definitely feels self-indulgent, but what is writing other than mental masturbation and a way to make some extra cash?
By the way, if you ever want another penman to fill some space in another book, I’m always open to churn out some more stuff along the lines of what you’ve already seen. I need deadlines to force myself to write, and getting in good with an editor would do me a world of good, if you’d be willing to do me that favor.
Thanks again for all of this, and I look forward to more questions,
I’m keeping most of this in for the blog. So, it’s like the short and long are going in. I think it makes better interweb reading.
On the additional stories, we’re ALWAYS looking for stuff in the same vein. Or any other vein. We need short stories that are well written. Chris and I liked the feel of Over the Sahara, because we felt it genuinely hit that 1930s-40s pulp nail right on the head. Ever thought of doing a novella with Mannie? Or expanding that world in general?
Onto the next question:
I know that, sometimes, if I get cocky on something I start slipping. It takes an editor or a second look from someone else to point it out. Do you think the confidence boost helped your writing as a whole? Or hindered it?
It’s all for posterity you say? Oh my…
Seriously though, feel free to use anything I say if it makes for good readin’ …even this weird meta-textual bit.
As for doing more with Manny or something in that vein…Manny’s more like Watson. Well, no, actually I’ve got a character pretty specifically designed to be Watson, meaning the sort of believable character through which the audience sees the unbelievable (sorry, been listening to all of Conan Doyle’s stuff on audiobook). Anyway, the point is, Over the Sahara was more like a random clip from a much, much larger story. I just happened to use it for an assignment, got a good review, and pitched it to you because I had it handy. If you want an expanded world, I actually have a map. Oh yes.
The pulp aspect I can kind of see, assuming you mean the whole idea of multiple stories and multiple perspectives intersecting. I’ve got a knack for point of view. Not saying I pulled it off in OtS. OtS could loosely be termed a POV Clusterfuck. I executed the idea of a floating over-the-shoulder third person much better in the “sequel” to OtS (with air quotes), The Ball.
Anyway, the next question. Are these questions really following an individual track for everyone who responds to to them? Or did everyone say something about a confidence boost? Anyway, did the confidence boost help? Huh…I originally checked this message on my phone during a break at work. Somehow in the interim I managed to twist “did it help your writing as a whole?” into “how did it change your writing process?” I had this whole explanation planned out…
I’d say given that I didn’t really think I could write fiction before, the confidence boost has helped quite a bit. Now I’ve got this cork board covered in little blue notes with the names of scenes I’ve thought of, but haven’t really sketched out yet. Tackle them all, one by one, until I’ve got a framework built. I can’t really say if it’s gone to my head or made me cocky, mostly because I don’t have anything to compare to from before my submission, but it probably has. I’d like to think it’s made me sure enough of myself to just write what I think sounds good, because other people seem to agree. And to not worry about my influences coming out, because I’ve found a lot of people can really sense all the stuff I was watching too much of when I first started piecing story ideas together (I think I may have blushed when someone said, “This really reminds me of Firefly,” during the review session).