Paddy Lynch recently invited me to take part in The Writers Blog Tour. The premise is that each writer answers four questions about their work and then selects a few other writers to take part.
The questions are:
1.) WHAT AM I WORKING ON
Well, if you’re reading this you’ll probably know that I’ve recently set up a new comic blog which I’m hoping to update with a new story each month. I’m working on the fifth script for that. It’s about a group of friends trying to plan a birthday party for their friend who has aged 50 years in the space of 1. It’s probably going to be about 10 pages and should be going up at the start of September all going well. Once that’s out of the way, I’ll be moving onto the 6th story and so on…
I’m also midway through a longer story called The Sadness Solution. It should be around 4 regular sized comic issues. It’s a story I’ve been knocking about with for a while. It’s had to go through quite a few incarnations but I think it’s almost where I need it to be.
I’m also working on a larger untitled prose story that’s slowly coming together after a while working on it.
2.) HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
Like most people are saying, this is probably something you’d probably have to ask the people who read it.
On a technical level, I think writing in different forms has probably really influenced the style of my writing. I regularly write prose, comics and plays and I think they all engage different writing “muscles”. For instance, writing in comics has really helped me visualise what I want when I’m planning out a story.
As well, even though this is just a small technical thing, for comics, I find there’s always an awareness of the space available to you that isn’t as pertinent in theatre or prose so I always (intentionally or not) factor that in early on. And I think that’s great because it teaches you to be economical in what you’re writing. Then, on the other hand, playwriting is fantastic for dialogue and finding inventive ways to deliver exposition. So each different form of writing builds off and enhances the other.
I think I’m starting to ramble…
3.) WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
Regardless of medium, I just find writing is a great way to explore strange little ideas. I’m really drawn to stories that reflect our own world but maybe have one little thing that’s slightly different (something like where people manufacture designer babies or where a man wakes up as a potato).
Magical realism is the term I guess. Obviously, I’m not claiming ownership over this sort of idea but I certainly find I’m drawn to surreal and absurdist stories that possibly aren’t as explored that often in comics.
4.) HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I hear a lot of people talking about finding characters first but for me, it’s definitely the scenario or the situation. From there, it can be a case of finding characters that fit within the idea. There’s a lot of chopping and changing and fiddling with stories to see what works and what doesn’t.
As might have become clear in the first question, it can sometimes take me a few drafts to fully whittle an idea into a solid story. Sometimes this approach can lead to a lot of banging my head against a wall trying to fit everything together but it’s generally always worth it by the end
At the same time, I think it’s really important to actually finish stuff and that’s partly why I set up the blog, just so that while I’m working on larger projects, I’ve still got stuff coming out on a regular basis (which is all important for the morale of a guy in comics who can’t draw to save his life).
Of course, it also completely depends on the project. Something like Big Jim or The Battle of Clontarf don’t fall into the formula. With books like those, where the story is predetermined by and large, it’s a lot more about exploring different ways to tell the story.