Christopher D. Norton [newsaggegator]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
Small business owner, novelist, comic book writer, politician (just recently was asked to run again), activist.
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
Environmental studies. At the time, when I was in high school, I was very involved in proffessional politics, and since I had witnessed a field we had played in as kids being cleared to make way for a house and lawn across directly the street of a house that was for sale, and had not yet discovered the hidden racism under the surface of many of the environmental grassroots organizations I entered politics by becoming the de facto campaign manager for an independent candidate who had come up through the env. movement, and was involved on my own in fighting for such causes; so my guidance councilor suggested I take that at university.
What is expected of you in your job, and how do you accomplish it?
I touch on so many different professions and each of them have so many different expectations, is is difficult to say concisely, save that weather running a business, campaign, website, or writing a novel or comic boob, one must know one's abilities and limitations and design what one does to that, but whatever you do, even if you love what you do it always helps to think of it as a job, e.g. a way to make money for the ones one loves, otherwise a book would lay forever unfinished due to countless rewrites ot make it perfect, a website only ever be a hobby.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
hundreds of different links through my news aggregating, but my twitter and facebook pages are connected, as are my personal/writing network twitter site and my news site, but only through the writer site, my facebook site has many links to writer conferences, etc. and some connecting it to one of my small businesses.
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
I am currently advising my young wife-to-be about her edu, including avoiding all the mistakes I made, but all of them are made much less biting knowing she's well on her way to beginning her doctorate in such universities as the 10-ten schools in the U.K. or at Harvard, and is now finishing up her chemistry masters in the field of oncology.
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
In addition to my formal edu, I read abt 90% of the non-fiction books in the largest library within 60-miles of where I live as well as much of the reference material, also my years in politics made me an authority on many subjects and a jack of all trades in nearly everything ele, but I am always trying to learn just not more information, but reliable uncommon information, and continue questioning and trying to disprove everything I has ever believed I knew, save for the love of my young bride-to-be and our precious daughter.
In which tasks are you good at, and in which could you better yourself?
In every year of my life I would have answered this differently, now I realize as importaint of a question as it is, to know the answer at each time it is relevant, know how to do better, and act on it in time is truely the best thing to know, but simply striving for this will give one more than successfully succeeding then becoming complacent, for with each set of skills one masters or improved upon there are a new set of skills which one has of yet been untested in within "real life", and some in which one has never considered one would need; indeed anyone who has a gud set of answers is either stuck in a rut & not able to fix said problems, listing problems one has already begun to fix but not those pressing skills they need which they have yet to verbalize even within their own mind, or are just not trying to do this.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I see such seminars as just one of many tools to be used in the process of being a self-taught person, even when so being self taught began after the completion of one's formal university edu.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
When I was 17, and even though I was very right even at that young age, I now think most of my reasons for thinking so were due to ego and a misplaced sense of self-importance, humility will get one farther than anyone who would agree with the assumption they the question makes about their own life, in fact those who achieve the most may be found to have the least such belief that what they are doing is importaint, even if it is, e.g. actors oft' don't think their work is very importaint despite it being highly sought after and certainly taking them places, astronauts having in many cases come form the armed forces oft' had guilt complexes about not serving in Vietnam cus other's were dieing while they were getting the glory and fame those who but for the grace of god wud have been them were not getting.
How and why did you begin to be creative?
I believe creativity is something one is born with, one may find it in someone who appears to not have a drop of it in them and nourish it into something, and someone who is very creative can loose it; but I was very creative even from a small child, perhaps because of being and only child I did nourish it as well; by the time I took my first psi course they gave us a routine, test one could be close to a yes on all but one or a yes on all but 2-3 and be on Einstein level of creativity, I had a perfect score.
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
High protein, good work surroundings, trying not to get too stressed, allowing myself to take walks to think about things; remembering what's importaint in my life and prioritizing.
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
B4 school: Tom Sawyer and abridged versions of: Moby Dick, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and that book with the smart fish, In School: The 7-Chinese Brothers and Wild Things.
I was always telling stories to entertain ppl, and my parents always told me "don't tell me about it write it down."
Short Story that was a combination of several movies I'd watched,m books I'd read and the landscape I grew up in.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I often think about the story, on walks or working in other jobs, often for days or weeks B4 writing that section, for comics I will sometimes white the character bios and let them expand and organically form connections between the characters, sometimes over an entire season, B4 writing one panel; in both I will often go back and rewrite anything which has not yet been published, up until the time it is published, I can spend an entire week writing one column for an article and work up till literally the last minute, and when asked to republish it still go back and make changes and still not be happy with it, so I like to get it published large works as soon as possible cus' I know I will never be happy with them, but see anything not being published as a mixed blessing, in that I have more time to work on it.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Nonfiction, I also often watch movies to get in the mood, especially when drastically switching genres in a less than organic way.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
A fusion of 1st person and 3rd person for novels (3rd person describing things from a single person's point of view, which may change several times in the story, and may include dreams and thoughts) almost always pure 1st person for comics.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Yes but its very different, often my writing is better if I tell it to someone, and allot is missing when the audience doesn't have body language and vocal tones to convey info, but the older I get the more I find is done after the initial thoughts are put onto paper through going back and using tools one has learned to better and expand or otherwise work on and out the story, especially in very complex stories involving many connections, and, the more I discover these initial thoughts may just be the beginning of free association till one finds the actual story
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Myself or Iman Sue and my 2-yr. old Daughter, but Sue when I'm writing for money
Does reader feed-back help you?
Very much so, especially when in the process of writing the story, but I don't believe one should ever stop writing to get this, if one is writing just keep writing till your written out for now/then
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
More in article writing for wording than creative writing, which I usually express verbally, but I've found the former is much longer and less helpful than the numerous grammar programs out there
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
There are many times I've known I found it and I then write very well, but as with all writing it seems far less good after time passes, there are also often times I believe I've done very well by channeling other voices, more genre than individuals, but until these are almost unconscious they are often too obvious and I latter change them almost to eliminating any clear sign of their presence remaining
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I often write on my computer, then think about it, often for hours away from my computer, then go back write, etc.; but when I have a long time to devote (weeks) I will spend 3-days just writing till I get so engrossed that writing becomes my primary mode and I have to remember to do thing other than writing; however when in-between computers I'd buy notebooks and fill them at about 3-per week, but writing in 10 at a time; however when putting it back into a computer I find its more helpful and faster to do it from my head than copying it directly from the notebooks.
What are you working on now?
trying to get a larger national/international publisher for a my latest novel than I have now, I have an entire comic book universe with nearly a dozen titles for 9-seasons I've been writing and am now using both for specs for a job writing established comics for others and am looking either for a home for them or enough artists for them to have a gud continuous run, I'm also doing news aggregating, and have been asked to run for office again so will be doing political writing
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?
Look at them with a cold and unromantic eye and without nostalgia, and learn how you've improved since you wrote them, let them show you what you still have to improve; and don't be afraid of cannibalizing then and incorporating the pats that work into newer works.
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
26 years, my father was an amateur photographer with his own dark room, I started taking photos of school events and then when I was in the environmental movement, for evidence of illegal or otherwise environmentally unfriendly activities or situations and take photos of places I would be leading tours of so the ppl. would know ahead of time where they would be going, a GOVT environmental group suggested I enter a photo contest, and despite only getting runners up the gallery liked my work so much they gave me 1st photography gallery show outside of hosting the contest.
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
Although I once wrote for a sports newspaper and am technically still a freelance agent for them, I have mainly specialized in: government, politics, environment, and civil rights.
In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
Online, plus in print: newspapers, newsletters, publicity, law, etc.
Christopher D. Norton
Upstate NY, U.S.