John Bennison [awriteblog]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I don't remember the first book but one that will always stick in my mind is 'War of the Worlds; H G Wells'. I read it when twelve years old on Guy Fawkes night. I was enthralled.
I've written intermittently in the past and then started earnestly last year. Something in my mind triggers of the need to express myself.
Friends and family read it although I have posted on a writer's site too.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Thrillers mostly although I'm fairly open on this. I like a little fantasy and historical too.
I have a blog; awriteblog.com where I have a link to some short stories of mine.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I go through what I'm to write in my mind. Occasionnaly I make notes especially, with regard to a germ of an idea or if I need to correct something already drafted. I almost never sit down without having gone through a long mental approach.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
It isn't so much reading that inspires me but some thought or idea that appears in my mind. The reading helps develop that inspiration. It can be anything too. Blogs, Newspapers or a novel.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A good narrative voice that takes you through the whole story. It's like a friend really.
Add in a pace that keeps interest, characters that are fleshed out and a plausible plot and that basically sums it up for me.
The plot needs to have you asking; 'What happens next?'; the characters need to be sympathetic enough for you to care and the voice needs to take you over the next page effortlessly.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I don't have a preference. My first novel is mostly in the first person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
This changes with time. I find a lot of writers start off well and then their style becomes predictable and sometimes formulaic.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Someone you could imagine seeing. A little physical description helps and foibles and quirks that differentiate the character from others in the story.
With mine I think of what the character's purpose is and then imagine him or her physically; often with a famous person as the core. The rest tends to come naturally after that.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
No, I'm absolutely useless.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Yes, it is a therapy.
I think I also write more fluently when I'm emotionally stimulated; it doesn't have to be a conflict or a negative thing either but they can help.
Does reader feed-back help you?
It can. It helps to make me focus on how others may see it. The writer can get too close.
However, it can also be a distraction. You can end up trying to please everyone and falling between all the stools.
I look for feedback fairly late in the process.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I've entered a very few but not lately and not won anything.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I try to get my draft to somewhere near completion before I share it, otherwise, for me, it would feel as though it had someone else's input too early and might distract me from my overall vision that I have in my mind.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
Yes I do. Sometimes the voice is more fluent than at other times and I have to wait for the voice to sort of mature in my mind before I release it too. That takes varying amounts of time and different stimuli.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
None really. I try to write something every day but if the muse isn't there I don't puch it. My mind is usually active enough to create an urge to put somegthing down or correct something already written.
I count the thinking process as part of my own particualr discipline too.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Nothing. I write without changing anything about the place I work in.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Yes I write on the computer. I occasionnally make notes and almost always print it to read and make notes on the hard copy. This can be done several times.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
My blog and others I have found. I've joined a few writer's message boards but find them a bit repetitive at times and sometimes some of the members are more interested in posing than in imparting anything sensible.
A few writer's and editor's sites have been useful.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Not had any yet really. I will try to get an agent first.
I have attempted to get a couple of shorts published with a couple of magazines but I don't think that experience counts really as there have only been two.
What are you working on now?
I'm coming to the end of redrafting my first ever novel.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Reread them and see if you'd do it differently. That's what I did.
I wrote a short about thirty years ago. I looked at it last year and rewrote it. That stimulated all sorts of other things that really surprised me.
Never ever discard anything. It might not feel right now but later in your life you'll look at it differently and maybe change it into that special piece that we all dream of creating.
No writing is ever wasted.