Lit Literature member interviews

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Point Given, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    @patchworkz7, good luck with all your writing projects—sounds quite impressive! I work in publishing myself, though of a very different kind (scholarly music publishing—yes, there is such a thing).

    My next question: have you spent much time in the Fan Fiction forum here at TF.N? :)
  2. Protectorate Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2013
    star 1
    @patchworkz7 Would you be able to elaborate a little more on why you like "The Invisibles" by Grant Morrison? You said that you can go back and find new stuff on every reread. That's the opposite of my experience, and I think the story hasn't really aged well. On a reread, I really couldn't ignore how much of a mouthpiece King Mob was for Grant's thoughts. That ended up really bugging me, and I could only really see it as a work solely from a young man's perspective. I wonder if Grant still feels that way towards the "establishment" now, particularly because he is now "the man" of his story, a highly respected artist and comic writer that most likely has to act as a gatekeeper towards other up and coming writers.

    Maybe I'm oversimplifying what he was trying to do, but I found my reaction to "The Invisibles" to be in stark contrast to a reread of "Preacher", which I thought held up a lot better. What am I missing here? What did you love so much about that comic? Your comment intrigued me enough that I think it might deserve another look.
  3. patchworkz7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    star 4

    Oh, wow...this is a big topic, and this is only my take, but I think you're right that King Mob is Morrison's voice, but only a little bit. I think EVERYONE in the comic is his voice. Some of this comes from hearing Morrison's own thoughts on this, and I was lucky enough to catch him at a lightly attended con back when INVISIBLES was coming out and told him how much I loved ARCADIA, the storyline the almost killed the comic as the numbers on it dropped dramatically, and he grabbed my hand shook it, and said; "You're the person I wrote it for then...everything I wanted to say is there." Stuart Moore, editor of INVISIBLES at the time, was standing there and made a further comment that ARCADIA almost destroyed the book.

    So, basically, it's King Mob growing up and realizing he IS thinking and playing a young man's game. From his punk inspired roots to his tour of American hyper-violence and big budget action, he goes to the east and decompresses and comes back and someone who wants a better way. He finally dies in a phone booth and is reborn as something new; he changes sides.

    Tom O'bedlam realizes what the game is early on and leaves it. He'll train INVISIBLES, but he realizes that both sides are simply creating the war. There is no "side". The most delicious food turns to fecal matter in your digestion which in turn gives fresh ground for new things to grow in. The universe is a closed system, and you can choose to play or not.

    The Blind Chessman is the opposite of Tom, as he hasn't abandoned the game, but he no longer plays it. Instead, he sits on the side and watches.

    King Mob, through the scope of the story, changes from the young radical to a young executive who hacks his own story and "creates" the Invisibles game to make people understand what they're experiencing. They're only experiencing the universe, and when reality crashes down at the end of time, everyone is there and everyone gets a final chance to live whatever they thought their dream should be.

    King Mob learns to fight the system by being part of the system and introducing it to strange and alien concepts. He makes the world weirder, and in doing so he breaks the other side's control. Jack Frost/Dane stays forever on the outside, but he's learned the same truth; there's no separation. He takes his new band of Invisibles and throws them against the system in order to make them realize this truth.

    It's also generational; the Invisibles of the 1920's to King Mob's cell to the cell that deprograms agents (and we see the "good guys" are using the same techniques as the "bad guys") and finally we have Mister Six, a man who effortlessly glides through identities because he's realized it's all a construct.

    It all gets a bit PKD via Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it works, and when the penny drops and you realize the whole thing fits on many different levels, and has basically subverted the old idea of good vs evil I think there's a lot there, and rereading helps me redigest it every time.

    I love Preacher too, even if it has a bit of flab in the middle, but that is very much removed from the level of storytelling that Morrison is trying to work with.

    Arcadia lays it all out in rather stark terms. It's basically a mission statement of; We're going to introduce these elements into the population in an effort to act as a vaccination against the more aggressive strains of these elements.

    I think Morrison was changing his mind about a lot of things, because he has Edith essentially question everything about de Sade later in vol 3 by pointing out that there's something missing from de Sade's view of sex and liberation. We see a young man's view of weird sex in vol 1 and a more mature deconstruction of that view in vol 3; "I grew up on a farm, public pissing and farting is not a radical assault on my senses" to badly paraphrase Edith.

    The final sequence in the comic is Dane (Morrison) basically saying; "Yeah, I had my say, and I could be right or I could be wrong...think about it and go do your own thing. The only thing stopping you is you."
  4. Protectorate Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2013
    star 1
    Interesting, I obviously need to give it a another look.
  5. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Just in case you missed my question two posts above: do you spend much time in the fan fiction forum here at TF.N, either as a writer or as a reader?
  6. patchworkz7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    star 4

    Sorry, I meant to go back and answer that; no, I'm afraid I don't, mostly because fanfiction just was never a thing for me. I completely respect the people who do it and think it's a great creative outlet, but it's just a community I've never been a part of.

    That's another reason I like the idea of fanfic even if I don't spend time with it; there's usually a strong community element to it in the same way that there's a cosplay community or a Mandalorian community.

    I'm honestly at overstretch on my real world responsibilities, and my internet connections sometimes suffer save for the few close circles. There's a few professional writer's groups I'm a part of that I wish I had more time to spend discussing things with, but there's only so much time in the day.

    I have actually toyed with the idea of doing a fanfic of Mij Gilamar finding his first wife's killer and some of the stuff that would have happened in IC2 if we'd got it (a shame that Scout was never officially knighted by Djinn Altis) and perhaps a few other things, but the time I get to spend writing is usually taken up with writing gigs or even just keeping in contact via email with friends.

    Thankfully, my new clinic job is a 9-5 job, so there's hope of me having a bit more time to spend on writing in the future, so who knows?
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  7. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Personally I would rather see what would happen in IC3 a.k.a. everybody but Shysa, Dala and Spar dies [face_skull]
    [IMG]

    And don't tell me they survived, that was an elseworld tale just like the story about the alive K'Kruhk and his little Hidden Temple [face_not_talking]
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  8. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    @Gamiel, that also stated that there were only 212 Mandalorian Protectors. Skirata's clan weren't Protectors. ;)
  9. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    As I said: don't tell me they survived[face_not_talking]
    :p
  10. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    They survived. ;)
  11. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Hush, don't speak
    When you spit your venom, keep it shut I hate it
    When you hiss and preach
    About your new messiah 'cause your theories catch fire

    I can't find your silver lining
    I don't mean to judge
    But when you read your speech, it's tiring
    Enough is enough

    I'm covering my ears like a kid
    When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
    I'm turning off the volume when you speak
    Cause if my heart can't stop it, I find a way to block it I go
    La la, la la la...
    La la, la la la...

    I find a way to block it I go
    La la, la la la...
    La la, la la la...
    Last edited by Gamiel, May 19, 2014
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  12. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    So, if I may, back to interview questions for @patchworkz7 (if indeed we're still interviewing him):

    What's your process for crafting an original character, whether within fan fiction or original fiction? Have you based any characters either on yourself or on people you know well?
  13. patchworkz7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    star 4

    Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore this. The wife was in a nasty car accident Memorial Weekend thanks to a driver running a red light...she's fine but her car is a total loss. Bit of a mess of a week, but onwards!

    Right...characters.

    So, plot is basically what the characters do. I'm actually someone who can outline a plot pretty well (working for Black Library I had to produce full outlines, same with the other IP's I've pitched for), but I also think you need to leave room for characters to move.

    Firstly, I'm not fond of the idea of taking a real person and trying to wedge them into a fictionsuit. Real people are boring, and even the interesting ones probably wouldn't react the way you need them too.

    Basically, if I have an idea for a story, I'll think about what the I need. In the case of THE INNOCENTS, I needed a main character who had family but was slightly distant from them. Instead of making some big family drama, I just made him adopted, which added all sorts of things in. You can work this either backwards or forwards; so...the main character is someone who can change into a wolf and anything in between and has enough control he can actually form a claw without shifting all the way.

    Bit of a loner, but still affable. Someone who you'd have a pint with, maybe a touch uneasy. He's essentially an enforcer for vampires, but vampires messed with his adoptive sister when he was younger. So you start drawing those things out. How will he react to people. How do other people react to him. If he has a sidekick, what sort of person hangs out with him, what sort of allies does he have?

    What happens is you start to round the plot and develop the story, but in thinking about this one character, other characters start appearing. Because I had a rough idea that there'd been something with his adoptive family's sister, I started thinking that he wasn't the wild child, she was, and he protected her, and when he left home he didn't so much become an enforcer in his mind as someone who protects the other monsters. Suddenly this guy wasn't so tough. His motives and his character starts to change. The person riding shotgun takes shape. It's a she, because it's a sister figure. Why is she there? Not romance. Respect. Another outcast....a Navajo who walks the Witchy way with a dark secret.

    I had the plot shaped out and I won't give the meaning of the title away, but suddenly the old title of CHANGERS didn't make sense, because this was really about the beings known as THE INNOCENTS, and then you start to see thematic bridges and links and where and how metaphors will work, and you don't force it, but you let it come.

    So, whether you start with a plot idea or characters, you start plugging in factors to that character, and you get an idea of the sort of person they are, and that informs how you approach the plot. Suddenly there was an entire subtext about family and bloodlines that didn't exist before. And the more I wrote the more that came out in the writing, and I would go back and polish passages to change wording so that there were subtle nods to the emerging themes.

    I think writers who base characters on themselves or friends are setting themselves up to really stumble or make the story feel unnatural, because even if you're someone who heavily plots out your story, as that character comes to life on the page and in your head you're going to make changes, even if it's how you phrase something, and it needs to feel right with the character and plot.

    I have seen people who have written things and I read them and I can see they've just plugged in a famous character or actor or someone I know and it's jarring on multiple levels. I really do think it's bad form.

    There are writers who are absolutely plot driven and barely sketch their characters out and who do very well...I'm not really attracted to those writers. If we're talking comic books, Jonathan Hickman is very much a plot writer and I actually like some of his stuff because he gives good spectacle, but his characters are just ciphers.

    Let a character surprise you, especially in long works. And let the characters tell you how to get somewhere. Sometimes you can have a plot laid out and end up where you need to be but as you write the character takes you there a totally different way than you'd been planning on, and that's when things get exciting.

    I've also had characters spring out of nowhere to fill a role. There was one point writing the DAWN OF WAR adaption for Black Library where I took a character that was already established, already had their own....way about them, and I tweaked it a little so that it wasn't out of character, but brought bits of the character we'd only glimpsed out further. My editor really liked it and I've always wished that novel had saw print (game studio went under before we finished it) because I was always proud of rounding that character out and turning him into a bit of a cheeky bastard.

    For THE INNOCENTS there's a character who was never there until I started writing and needed someone to fill a role and once he was there I saw things that could fit the themes I was establishing and suddenly it was like I'd planned him to be there from the start.

    I'm not sure there's a wrong way to create a character, but the act of character creation is ongoing. When you stop letting your character evolve that's it...you need to step back or have a rethink or ask yourself why you're holding the character back. I think people grow...even if at heart they stay the same, the way they deal with things change as a result of what they experience (iow, the plot), so never let a character stagnate. And if a character feels like they wouldn't do something or wants to wander a bit and you're not going completely off the map...see where the road they're going leads.

    Does that help? I feel like I'm speaking gibberish when I try to explain how I see writing. When I write it's like music, except the notes are words, and I line edit like mad sometimes in order to get the right feel.
  14. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    Duuuuuuuude you need to get out more! Real people are WACKED! I'm not advocating copying anyone 1:1 for fiction, but there's no better way to connect to your reader than inserting little subtleties real people do into your writing.

    (and no seriously, if you think real people are boring you've been hanging with the wrong crowd. People watching alone can reveal what kind of a kriffed world we live in)
    Last edited by Barriss_Coffee, Jun 4, 2014
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  15. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    =D= I don't have anything useful to add, I just wanted to applaud this.
  16. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Good to see you back, @patchworkz7. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's accident, but I'm glad that she's all right.

    Wonderful post—thanks so much for sharing your thoughts an advice on character creation (the passage quoted by @Cynical_Ben is definitely spot-on). I appreciate your point about not shoehorning real-life people into one's fiction writing and the awkwardness in which that so often results. But that's certainly not the only way to incorporate the traits of real-life people in one's characters—even just incorporating individual elements here and there can, as @Barriss_Coffee points out, be a very effective way to connect with readers and engage their own experiences.

    Plus, as Barriss also very rightly points out, real people are too interesting! Witness these very interview threads! ;)

    Just IMHO—but then again, the only publications I have to my name are three boring scholarly articles in musicology. :p None of this is to say I don't very much appreciate your perspective as a professional writer of fiction. :)
    Last edited by Findswoman, Jun 4, 2014
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  17. patchworkz7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    star 4

    I assure you that the people I've known in life have been anything but boring. If nothing else I've had enough excitement to last me several lifetimes...

    One of the best things a writer can do is live and go out and talk to people, any sort of person. I've talked to hookers, junkies, cops, business people, cab drivers...every class and occupation. As a rule I'm more comfortable among the blue collar and the downtrodden, but I was someone who hopped social groups at school. I could hang out with everyone because I didn't really have a clique, and so I could talk about sports with the jocks, nerd out with the nerds, etc.

    What I'm saying is that while you should always be hovering up stories and people watching and talking to everyone and anyone...simply lifting someone completely and stuffing them into a story tends not to work out so well, but if I am writing about police then I can't help but drawn on police officers I've known. If I'm writing about addicts then it's going to be shaded by the junkies I've known. If I'm writing about a working girl I'll draw from everyone from the stripper I was friends with to the nurse who once told me in detail of her life as a sex worker.

    And, you know, you can use multiple people as sources. That's the great thing about fiction, and sometimes I may not even realize where I'm pulling stuff from. A character may be cobbled together from parts of real people; the attitude of one person, the background of another, the spiritual beliefs of yet another, etc, but I think the question was about taking whole people and just dropping them in.

    I just think that's limiting.

    Aristotle couldn't explain the genesis of ideas, so I'm not even going to try, but somewhere back in my brain stew all that stuff boils together and as I need it, a lifetime of experience and talking to people and seeing what people are like starts swirling together to form a character and their actions. I'm not saying characters spring from a void, just that I think it's poor form to just try to force a real people or yourself into a story. That begs to let both character and story down.
  18. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    My question was just about basing characters on people one knows—which need not mean just dropping them said people into the story wholesale without any change. My intention was for "basing on" to cover the entire range of ways one can use the traits of real people when crafting fictional characters, but I can see where that might not have been clear at first. In any case, you answered the question admirably, for which I thank you. :)

    And now to another question (which hopefully won't be a repetition of one that was already asked, since it's been a while). You say that you approach writing as if it were like composing music: I'd be interested to know more about what you mean by that. Do you compose music, too? Are you a musician of any sort?
  19. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Hey guys, I'm just popping in to say that due to my RL schedule being hectic, as well as a lack of interviewee volunteers, I'm putting the thread on indefinite hiatus.

    Still, PG and I interviewed about 30 people over the course of a year. Considering there's probably not much more than 50 Lit regulars, that's not too bad, if I do say so myself.

    So, unless @Point Given or any of the lit mods object, or if someone else wants to take over the thread (PM me if so), I'm giving this thread a big rest. Go bug Patch* in the social thread. :p




    *Sorry to hear about your car. The most important thing is that your wife came out unscathed.
  20. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Alright, hiatus over. Woo! Now it's time for our next subject, @Findswoman! [face_party]

    1. Tell us about your username, why you chose it, what it means, etc. And what is the best way to address you?

    2. What made you sign up for the Jedi Council Forums? Do you post on any other forums?
  21. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Thanks so much, Todd! It's a pleasure to be here. :)

    Well, I've always found the Gand species particularly fascinating, with their tradition of the findsmen being a wonderful example of a non-Jedi mystical tradition in the GFFA (if "favorite SW species?" is one of the later questions, I can elaborate more). But we've only ever seen male members of the species so far in the EU literature. I figured, well, if there are Gand findsmen, maybe it's time for there to be some Gand findswomen also. Hence my username. :)

    Edit: I'm fine with either my full username or the short form Finds, which I think I first came across during my FFURG days (see below).

    I was drawn in particular to the fan fiction community here after having read some members' stories on the SW Fanon Wiki (TrakNar and Goodwood in particular), and since I was starting to resurrect (and hopefully finally finish) some long-dormant fan fiction of my own, I figured this would be an ideal community in which to do so.

    I also used to post regularly on Rebelscum and FFURG (and occasionally JediDefender) several years back when I did more action figure customizing and collecting; at one point I was a moderator on FFURG. Unfortunately, real life commitments have kept me from being active in that hobby for a while now. Maybe someday...
    Last edited by Findswoman, Jun 13, 2014
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  22. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    @Findswoman 3. Where are you from? What are some of the best parts about where you live?

    4. Tell us how you become a Star Wars fan, and SW lit in particular.
  23. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    I grew up in Chicago, but went to college in Ohio, grad school in Berkeley, California, and I now live in Madison, Wisconsin because of my job. Although I have lots of fond memories of California, and although the weather there was definitely better, I enjoy being back in the Midwest again; I'm close to my hometown (where my mom still lives), and it's nice to have some actual differentiation of the seasons (summer should be hot and humid, in my book! :p ) Also, out here we can afford a house; there was no way we could in California.

    Well, like so many folks, I first became acquainted with the movies as a kid and enjoyed seeing them whenever I got the chance—ANH was basically my favorite childhood movie. My real fandom began to pick up in high school and early college as I started to learn more about the various background characters via the various EU guides, which were always among my favorite pieces of SW literature (still are, in a lot of ways, just because they're so easily browsable). When I did action figure and doll customizing, I looked to the various guides (especially the WEG guides) and occasionally to the comics as inspirations for projects.
    Last edited by Findswoman, Jun 13, 2014
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  24. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    @Findswoman 5. What other franchises do you like besides SW and which are you most passionate about?

    6. What places have you traveled too? Any favorite locations?
  25. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    I am fond of Star Trek, most especially the original series; I had a Spock crush for a while (which my husband thinks reflects badly on him :p ). For a time I followed Deep Space Nine fairly regularly, though, too. I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books, though I'm behind on seeing the movies (I think the last I actually saw was no. 5), and I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films too, though I generally preferred the books.

    Inside the US: Lots of places in the Midwest, particularly in Illinois on road trips with my mom between Chicago and St. Louis, to visit family. Northwestern Washington (mainly Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula), also to visit family. Central Ohio, because I went to college not far from there (including excursions into Cleveland). The San Francisco Bay Area, because I went to graduate school there. Several other places for conferences, musical performances, and the like, most notably New York City and Pittsburgh, both of which I loved.

    Outside the US: My first visits abroad were (a) a vacation to England and Scotland with my mother in my teenage years and (b) my honeymoon, which was in Ireland. Between 2007 and 2009 I made several long-term visits to Germany to do research for my dissertation, mostly in Hamburg and Wolfenbüttel, but also in several wonderful smaller towns in the North. I also got to make short visits to Cologne and Berlin while I was there, as well as to Belgium (Antwerp), the Netherlands (Delft), and Paris.

    Favorites: I was very impressed by New York City and would love to spend more time there sometime. Abroad, I have very fond memories of my time in Germany, especially in Hamburg and several of the smaller towns, because there I really felt like I got to be immersed in the culture. But I still count my hometown of Chicago as one of the best cities on earth. :)