May 14, 2014

Questions, Questions, Question!

According to this blog by Kris Silva, I'm supposed to answer some questions about my writing...The problem, of course, is that I really don't consider myself a writer. Certainly not on the scale and talent level of Kris herself, or the other people she has asked, or was asked by, to do this. They write books, for Bob's sake. I write snarky little posts about movies and then throw in a few .GIFs of religious leaders mining for nose goblins.
I'm sorry, but it just doesn't stop being funny.
See? So how did I manage to get included in a list of fine authors like Sue London, Troy Blackford, Sabrina Zbasnik, Rick Gualtieri? I think the answer is obvious:

I'm someone's friend.

You see, I met Kris a while back on Twitter, and we chatted a bit about writing. I explained that I mostly wrote humor pieces about movies and my own personal life. Occasionally, I would try my hand at comedic fiction, some good and some bad. I also wrote two novellas for NaNoWriMo (link is currently down). One was called Being Kermit the Frog, which was about a man who survives an explosion in a toy factory that makes Muppet toys, only to come out of a coma believing he is Jim Henson. The other is called The (Other) Book of John, which is about a young atheist who, upon reaching the age of twenty-one, finds out he's God. Heady stuff, I know, but I never considered writing for a living. I do it mostly because it amuses me. I also write dick jokes. Lots of dick jokes.

Kris, on the other hand, writes steampunk fantasy novels, Muppet erotica (apparently, that's a thing), and is currently working on a horror-comedy called Wendigogo. She edits others' manuscripts. She makes the actual effort to get published. (And she will be...Mark my words.)

Again, I write dick jokes.

But she considers me a writer, so I have little choice but to answer these questions she has submitted. So let's do this!

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I'm not doing a lot of writing, aside from these blog posts. I'm also slowly putting together a commentary script riffing the movie Twister. My friend Larry Sieczynski and I wrote one for the classic horror flick Evil Dead 2 for Halloween last year, and we quite enjoyed it, as did the people who were kind enough to download it and give it a listen.
What he said.
I also write the occasional song and beg a DJ friend to play them on her show, which she kindly does.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I dunno...It's not as funny as other, better writers in my genre? Also, my "contemporaries" (or, as someone less kind might point out, my "betters") probably wear some form of pants more often than I do while writing. And they don't use their dog as their editor. Except maybe Garrison Keillor.
He also spends a lot of his time being alcoholic Daniel Radcliffe...OF THE FUTURE!
In all seriousness, I like to think I'm a bit quicker with a comeback than most, which is a product of my childhood; my family is full of sarcastic, funny people, so you really have to step up your game with them if you want to be a part of the fun. I also have a pretty solid grip on pop culture, so I can dig deep in there to pull out something odd or goofy that not everybody is going to think of right away.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Honestly, because humor is a wonderful thing, and because I suck at being serious. It's incredibly obvious in the few serious bits of the novellas I wrote. They come off as stilted and unconvincing to me. Therefore, I stick with things that make me laugh, and, hopefully, others will also get the joke.

Also, I have a fascination with the absurdities of life, and I think people relate to those things, even though they might not have personally experienced them. For instance, I wrote a piece a long time ago called "Young Derek and the Suicide Fish". It's about my first fishing experience, where I hooked a bluegill four different times within a twenty minute period. Each time I reeled it in, my mother would look at it, say it was too small and throw it back, only to have it latch onto my hook again. This was either the dumbest fish in the world, or it had just had enough of swimming around and doing whatever the hell it is that fish do and decided to end it all. Either way, I still find it funny thirty-five-plus years later.
"My gills aren't even blue! My life is a lie! Oh, how I crave Death's sweet release!"
Things like that just resonate with me, and, I'd like to think, others.

4. How does my writing process work?

Well, mostly it involves me bitching about how I really ought to get something written on this here blog thingie. Then I sit down and stare at my computer screen a lot. Next, I find some music to listen to while I write. This step is vitally important, not to mention time-consuming. (I have a lot of music to choose from.)

Three hours later, I come up with a title, which I will immediately scrap after writing the first two sentences of the actual piece because it ended up going in an entirely different direction than I expected it to. This happens more often than you might think because I tend not to do outlines for anything. Therefore, when something happens in a fictional piece I'm writing, I'm as surprised as anyone who reads it.

One thing I do, however, is research. Admittedly, it's very half-assed and mostly involves finding a funny picture that is, at best, marginally related to the subject, and then coming up with a caption that will tie it in with the piece.
Research also helps with writer's block.
(See? It works!)
When I'm writing a "slice-of-life" piece, I write it as if the reader is sitting in front of me and I'm telling it to them. This, I think, gives it an organic feel and a particular voice that runs through everything I write. Hopefully, the reader feels the same way.

Bloghop RSVP

Apparently, what I'm supposed to do now is connect this blog to a few others that will, in turn, write a similar (but more interesting) post about their own writing. I don't have four that I know well enough to ask this of them (aside from the ones who have already done it), so I'm just going to pick one:

David P. Maurer - Author, blogger of the political and general stuff, trivia buff, and occasional goatee-haver.
Also: Part-time Dante Hicks from Clerks impersonator.
I know Dave personally, and I can happily recommend any of his writing and music. He's also got a great sense of humor and is a genuinely nice guy, too! How about it, Dave?

There. Are you happy now, Kris? Jeez...

All the best,
Derek and Bosco