Two Interviews

Jeremy Jones interviewed me for Clarkesworld Magazine: you can find that interview here.

But there was enough of the interview left over for a second interview with Booklife, which you can find here.

Doing these interviews started me thinking about the writing life again, and what’s involved in that life. First of all, of course, you have to write, and you have to write well. I was thinking about where the prose style I have actually comes from. Jeremy used some highly flattering words for it: “clear,” “sharp,” “prismatic,” and he called my technique “impeccable.” I don’t know about impeccable, but what those other words actually mean, I think, is that my writing tends to be precise. (Sometimes, admittedly, too precise.)  I think that precision comes from a particular place, a place you might not expect it to come from: my training as a lawyer.

Once upon a time, I was trained to be a corporate lawyer, and instead of stories, I wrote contracts. The thing about a contract is, even when it’s a hundred pages long, every word in that contract has to be precise. Every word means something, and if one word is the wrong one, it could mean a great deal of money for your client. So I learned that every word counts, including “the,” and that every word has to be the right one for what I’m trying to say.

So you have to write, you have to write well, and you have to write frequently. Writers are often told that they need to write every day, and I used to not believe that, but I believe it now. Writing every day is like playing the piano every day: it keeps you in practice. And that is why I post at least once a day on this blog. Because I’m so busy now, so incredibly busy, that I don’t have the concentration I need to work on a story every day. But I can easily write a blog post or two. That keeps me constructing sentences, keeps me in a particular place mentally so that when I sit down to write a story, I’m there, I’m ready. I don’t need a warm-up.

And then, there’s a whole other aspect to writing, the profession of writing, and that’s almost as important. Because if you don’t participate in the writing profession, if you don’t go to conventions and join in the conversation that goes on between conventions on places like facebook or individual blogs, then it is, in a sense, like walking while wearing a blindfold. You don’t know what’s going on, who is editing what, which publications are going under or opening to submissions. And you don’t know the issues that people are talking about, which will appear as panel topics during the next convention season.

Those interviews made me think about all this, although none of it is in the interviews themselves. As for what is in the interviews: well, go read them already!

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