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Something About Writing.

Your work has some wildly different voices to it. Which one do you enjoy writing in the most?

I probably find that modern, third person style I've got most enjoyable to write. It's the most natural, the one in which I don't, later, have to weed language tics out of, and which allows me to write the dialogue I like. Quick, snappy dialogue is my favourite thing to write, so anything that allows me a moment to write that is always a good bit of fun (and it's why I started using that dialogue style, so I could just cut out everything resembling a bit of scene setting). But largely, I just find that when the voice and the story mesh, I enjoy writing it, simple. When the voice and the story don't mesh and the tone and pacing of the story just gets fucked, it stops being enjoyable, and becomes a chore. Mostly because I'm fixing what got fucked and there's no one to blame but me.

What influences have ... er ... influenced these various voices (i.e., who do you like to read and who, among those you like to read, have ... um ... influenced you)?

What doesn't influence me is probably a question that'll get you a shorter list. For me, when I pick up a book or a graphic novel or poetry or play or anything else you can read or learn a narrative from, there's bound to be a trick or turn of phrase that I works its way into me, even if it's just by osmosis. Sometimes it's a bad trick that I reckon I can perform better.

But, more specifically, I've always enjoyed George Orwell, and I suppose I got a little too much of his non-fiction right after High School, when I was an impressionable sort. I remember Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter having a big influence on me. It's a small book, but Ondaatje throws just about every style he has into it. Likewise, I found Charles Bukowski when I was young and impressionable, though fortunately it didn't end badly for me. Possibly because the first book of his I read was Pulp. Fritz Leiber was always impressive, and I learnt a lot from reading his books and short fiction. Haruki Murakami. All that fantasy I read as a kid. All the American comics I read, especially for dialogue. The list is huge. I'm looking round at books right now and thinking, 'Yeah, that, and that, and that...'

My biggest problem is, nowadays, when I write, I don't want any voices near me because of that kind of influential thing. It fucks with the specific voice I'm creating for whatever I'm writing, so I tend to stop reading fiction when I write now. Then, once I finish something, I'll go through two or three books, and then go back and write for a month or however long till I'm done with what was in my head. Weird and wanky, hey?


(This is part of the Ask Me A Question, Get An Answer thing I'm doing on this blog. Anything goes. If it makes it till Friday, it'll end then.)