David Ward-Nanney [davidwardnanney]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My reading was similar to everybody else's. Start with The Three Little Pigs, graduate to Judy Blume, Conan, The Destroyer, Faulkner, Tolstoy. It is like wine. Newbies like it sweet, old hands appreciate depth and complexity. This is why I find the record number of Harry Potter readers so reassuring. Many of them will mature into better readers and love books. The future of books, simply based on a generation brought up on Harry Potter, is very good.
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?
Literary Fiction, although John le Carre has made me take a closer look at espionage.
My mouthpiece is www.nanney-land.com.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Very simple. I sit down and write. Every day. There is no process, just opening up the dam.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I've reached that very disillusioned space as a writer where I read as a writer, always looking at how better writers handle a scene or time or characterization. It is not inspirational at all, simply looking at how to do it better myself.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
People, place, instability and plot.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
First is easier to write but third reads very well.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Robertson Davies, John le Carre, William Faulkner, Evelyn Waugh, P. G. Wodehouse - this is a difficult question because writers are brilliant in flashes and a lot of work goes into getting to that command of an art form. Unfortunately the work beforehand can be tedious.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
A character needs to be able to display a perspective and show that unique perspective through inaction or action of his or her own.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
One-on-one I tell a good story but very different from my novels.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
C. G. Jung was asked, two months before he died, what he thought of all the attention his works had received. He said that he was surprised because all of his work was about himself.
I write for myself and am grateful when it connects with someone.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
My writing to date is only about my messy self and without writing I would be on Prozac, Heroin or some other self-medication.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, especially when a number of people are saying the same things about my writing. That would be a trend and if you cannot pay attention to the trends, then you are missing what is happening to us collectively. It is a kind of death to creativity to not be able to see trends.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
Writing is not competitive for me at all.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
There are four exceptional readers I know. Unfortunately only two of them have actively provided opinions about my advanced drafts.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
If your voice is not evolving, then you are not maturing. I would be embarrassed if I wrote like someone ten or twenty years younger than I am.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
If I try to force goals on my writing, my creative machinery shuts down. My biggest problem is finding time to do all that I want to do, not squeezing it out of myself.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I do not need help in concentrating. I simply need more time.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Notes and relevant snippets are put into a notebook. I write on laptop in a very particular format and rarely print the novel itself. As part of the process, each draft is printed as it will be (i.e. bound in book form with a cover). Technology makes this very simple and inexpensive. I like to read my work as close to how it will be designed/printed as possible. This also helps to evolve the design and typography so that by the time a final draft is being put together, it is clear and honed for everybody involved. Everything evolves with my creative process.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
Writing is a solitary act. I am wary of letting the air out of the tire through "sharing." Most of my conversations are about everything but writing.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Large publishers have put themselves into a terrible position by largely relying on agents for new material. Agents and publishers often rely on junior staff. As a writer I sometimes wonder if publishers and agents have lost sight of the essential connection between writers and readers. I believe that technology will settle this score soon enough.
What are you working on now?
My third novel, How Jung Fluffed My Cotton Candy Powder Dreams. I just completed the second draft, which I highlight at www.nanney-land.com. I am busy making notes and doing background reading for my fourth novel. (June 2010)
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?
To quote Andrew Lytle, "Burn it. Burn it all. If it is any good, it will come back." If you do not have the confidence to show it to people, then you have an issue that needs to be resolved. Half the fun is finding out what that issue is. By the time you've figured it out, your writing will have changed. The old writing will not be reflective of you as you are now.
East of Eden