Last Friday, Adam Shaftoe tagged me in a Blog Hop. Basically it’s like a chain letter for writers but with the added benefit of mutation (sweet, sweet mutation). In a nutshell, each author writes a blog answering four writing related questions and then tags three other authors. The author doing the tagging then composes four new questions which those authors answer before tagging their own.
Since Adam was so kind as to make me his next victim in this literary ponzi scheme… er… I mean willing participant in this important literary endeavor, here are my questions:
1 – If you could time travel and steal somebody else’s novel/short story/film for yourself, what would it be?
Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Some things are just so perfect at being what they set out to be that they can’t be bested. There has never been a better novel on the topic of revenge than this one. Later works, like my least-favourite Tarantino film, poked at the idea of revenge as a cyclical process in order to explore the moral complexity of their protagonists.
However they were infants fumbling in the dark next to Dumas, who builds us up for the whole novel to cheer for Edmond Dantès as a moral avenger. Then, in the final meeting with Valentine and Maximilien, everything we thought we knew is thrown subtly into doubt.
The book is both a work of bold action, and simultaneously a subtle and incisive look into the hearts of its principals.
2 – What writing sin do you actively have to struggle against in your own work?
Laziness disguised as efficiency. I’m a fan of Hemmingway and generally try to put the minimum number of words on the page necessary to communicate what I find important. This, unfortunately, frequently helps to disguise my laziness when I write 2,000 words to communicate what should have taken 10,000 words.
3 – Pick three writers, past or present, that you would want to have dinner with. Why those writers?
Jin Yong – He is one of the greatest living authors in the world and possibly my one most significant influence. His stories shaped the literary landscape of a whole freaking continent, and together with a few of his peers he launched a whole literary movement. I would like to think I could learn a lot from him.
Ernest Hemingway – The true master of craft. But beyond that, Hemingway lived a truly interesting and varied life. He was a complicated man who carried many troubles until his untimely death, but I think, especially a few beverages in, he’d probably be an amazing person to just have a conversation with.
Ursula K. Le Guin – Earthsea was another huge influence on me as a writer. In addition to one of the best fantasy series ever written, Le Guin is also one of my top-three favorite Science Fiction authors of all time. I’d be honored to be able to sit at a table with her.
4 – You have forty-two words, write a story.
It was hot south of the river. He’d come looking for work. It’d been a con. Slavers. What they’d really offered were chains. He’d done for them. Now he squatted in the dirt and wondered where his next meal would come from.
Ha! And I bet you thought I was going to go all Douglas Adams on you.