Interview #62, with unorthodox/quirky/persistent author: Kristopher Miller!
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Unorthodox, quirky, persistent, morbid, and knowledgeable.
Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):
From The Maze’s Amulet:
Elza shouted, “Vargas tull!”
Then the vagrant opened his eyes with a weak gasp. He turned from a tough guy to a scared urchin at the cloudy, bestial face that hissed at him with infernal green eyes. This creature was no longer the woman he and his friend planned to mug and rape. This was an animal with a phantasmagorical mane of hair and a twisted feline face belonging to a lion from hell.
The thug with the knife stumbled back and he dropped his weapon. Elza heard the knife hit the cement with a clatter ringing with the rain but she did not care as she stepped forward.
The thug shouted, “No! Get away from me!” He ran across the street, leaving his friend behind to face the shocking apparition Elza turned into. A car screeched to a stop in front of his friend as he fled the scene.
Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
This is from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere:
Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were killing time. Mr. Vandemar had obtained a centipede — a reddish orange creature, almost eight inches long, with vicious, poisonous fangs — and was letting it run all over his hands, watching it as it twined over his fingers, vanishing up one sleeve, appeared a minute later after the other. Mr. Croup was playing with razor blades. He had found, in a corner, a whole box of fifty-year-old razor blades, wrapped in wax paper, and he had been trying to think of things to do with them.
Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:
For me, the writing process was challenging because I originally had one idea in mind, but the length of that idea needed to be expanded. That required several drafts, several readjustments, and several revisions to get it down to the “right” design and feel. The writing process is often made “easy” by some authors being interviewed, but it is a technical process that requires a lot of steps — and teamwork from editors — to succeed. At the same time, the writing process is rewarding once you realize that an element in the story, whether it be the plot, character development, or the in-story universe’s mechanics, turn out to work the way you want it to and the way that it is conveyed easily to the audience. The writing process is very rewarding because you are able to put your vision on paper. Sometimes it turns out differently than what you expect, but sometimes it is for the better!
As for the publication process, I can say that was easier because we live in an era where people can self-publish their work without having their work being dictated to what a publisher might think would be “marketable.” Self-publishing my work without a publisher would be challenging in that I would not have a lot of promotional resources but then I would also have full control of my work. I’m also a guy who cares more about writing as an art form as opposed to a commercial medium. My stuff is not everyone’s cup of tea, but all I care about is getting my work out there and continuing to make more material that I enjoy creating and what people enjoy reading. This is because writing is a difficult, frustrating, enjoyable, and a highly rewarding activity to partake in.
I love the full control “self-publishing” offers too ;) And it’s always nice to hear about people who aren’t solely motivated by “what $ell$.” What is your definition of “good writing”?
Good writing is writing that a reader can access without having to stumble upon mechanical mistakes and some logic issues that would otherwise ruin a good story. Yes, a good plot is needed, but moreover, the plot with a decent structure, character design and concepts are needed to mesh well in that the reader can access it. But moreover, I think good writing comes from how the author lets these plot and character elements run around before editing them for polish. Good writing is experimentation and taking chances with these elements, but good writing is also making sure that the experimentation works, especially on the readers’ part.
I reject other writers’ notions that the writer is the audience (Cough, Stephenie Meyer, Cough, Mary Sue…) because if it is only for the writer’s entertainment, then it is not really for the reader and this process of writing for the writer’s sake really hinders enjoyment on the reader’s part. I for one have read works in which authors have written for themselves that people have enjoyed but all I wanted to do was bash my head against a wall. One of the most rewarding things about the writing process is creating something that people enjoy and really getting a kick out of their reactions from the manuscript you spent many hours on.
It still takes time to do something worthwhile. In the greater scheme of things, I suppose it also depends on the writer’s motivations (and the type of audience they wish to target). Please share your #1 tip for writers:
Read, read, and read some more. Read stuff that you aren’t familiar with. Read stuff you don’t even agree with. Then write, write, and write some more. Write several drafts of that idea down. Overall: read and write. Rinse and repeat. You will understand how the writing mechanics work when you look at other people’s work.
Yes, it’s important not to stagnate (one of the deadly sins is “sloth,” after all…). Your websites/blogs/etc:
Kristopher Miller’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/catacombsbookshelf
The Catacomb’s Bookshelf, Kristopher Miller’s Official Writing Blog: http://catacombsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
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Much thanks to Kristopher for stopping by — do visit his website for more info about him, his views on writing/publishing, and his books.
Be sure to also check out his guest post for tips on Standing Out as a Self-Published Author!