Tag Archives: technique

Working Writers – Scalzi and The Big Idea

I really like reading interviews with writers about how they sat down and wrote their latest book/story etc.

I don’t so much like interviews where the interviewer gets all “I want to win a creative-non-fiction writing award so let me describe the sound of the gravel crunching under my feet as I walk up the path to the writer’s secluded retreat on the campus of some university where they scratch out a meager living writing the kind of prose that makes the average person smack themselves on the forehead and say ‘I’m not buying that!'”

So I tend to like inteviews BY writers with working writers who are churning out book after book, story after story, publishing them, moving on, interacting with their fans and other people in their space.

I also like what is known as ‘genre’ fiction: mysteries, sci-fi, historical fiction, more mysteries.

So I suppose it should come as no shock that I was pleased to find The Big Idea column on John Scalzi’s site where he interviews other writers about how they wrote their latest book. (Scalzi is a Hugo Award winning writer, amongst other things, and a popular blogger).

I suspect this is his way of sidestepping the first question writers always get asked (“Where do you get your ideas?”). He asks other writers to answer the question, and they do. Because it’s being asked by another writer and not a lazy journalist, what you get are thoughtful answers in story form (not a brush-off like “I get them from the idea subscription service in Ohio”, a line that most successful writers have a version of, up their sleeves).

And these people are real people who have had all kinds of jobs and have had to fit their writing in around them.

Just what I need to hear.