This is a thing that’s going around the writing community and I got tagged so I thought I’d do it too. I probably won’t tag anyone, because whatever. Jordan Blum tagged me, so head over to his site and check out his process.
Anyrate, here’s what I have to say.
What am I working on?
Like, right now? I talked a little about it, sort of, the other week. Anyrate, right now I’m writing a science fantasy horror novel that I’m calling Wolves at the Shore or We are the Moon Tonight Bathed in Fungal Light. It’s about fungus eating civilisation and swallowing much of the planet in order to recreate it. You could say it’s about the effects of climate change, and it is, but in my own view of it. The globe is a different place in this novel and medicine’s sort of nonexistent, due to the way we’ve destroyed antibiotic efficacy. What else? People become monsters, the earth itself transforms, there are religious cults, bioengineering, and wolves. Always wolves.
Basically, it’s a kitchen sink novel. I’m trying something very different. I typically put all kinds of rules on novels, but this one’s just wherever the book takes me. No limitations or constraints on the form or style or structure. It’s also all from one perspective, which I’ve only done once before, and it didn’t work out very well.
But, yeah, it’s a very peculiar novel.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
No idea. I’ve read only a handful of horror novels. Probably it’s stranger than most other novels, horror or not. Like I said, it’s a kitchen sink novel, and everything’s getting dumped in there. The horror is existential on a global and individual scale also. Climate change is leading us to the end of humanity, but the world will go on happily without us. An uncaring world, an indifferent universe, and we’re a disease that the fungus is converting. Also, wolves. Always wolves. And dust. Always that too.
So to try to answer the question: there’s a mythology common to all my novels and this builds on that. In addition, it’s probably more concerned with power structures, politics, race, sex, and identity than most other horror novels.
But maybe not. I don’t read much horror, so maybe that’s common.
Why do I write what I do?
Don’t have a good answer for this. I used to write experimental fiction and sort of high literary genre. Now I’m pushing past all that nonsense. I think I’m becoming a better writer by giving up the literary genre. But the main thing that identifies my work, I think, is the obsessions with dust, Death, wolves, ravens, the multiverse, and the end of humanity. Why I write that is because I can’t ever stop thinking about it. Then combine that with politics, world mythologies, folklore, religion, and you have my writing, I think. I take everything, swirl it together, and create a new world.
That’s what I’m all about: creating new worlds. Worlds that remind you of this one but then twist reality around. I don’t believe in reality and I don’t understand it, so fiction is my way to resolve that. To map the different realities in my own head, project it into the world I experience, and then use that as a model for me to deal with the world I have to live in.
The real answer is that writing makes me happy. Many things don’t, but this does. It makes me feel whole.
How does my writing process work?
There is no process. Most of my books are written at a feverish pace. When I’m novelling, I dump between 35,000 words and 70,000 words in a week. Usually that’s enough to finish what I’m working on. So process? I dive in and lose myself in the novel.
Makes life strange and hard to go about my daily business, so I’m working on moving towards a more normalised schedule. Trying to write every day, rather than write nonstop for a week, then not write for several months.
But, yeah, I write anywhere and everywhere. I have two laptops and I switch between them while still working on the same project. I write on buses, on planes, on trains, in my bed, on your couch, outside. I blast music so loud I can’t think or turn it way down so I can, or I put on the television, or whatever.
There’s no process. My process is chaos and distraction, and I think those characterise my novels. It’s why so many are probably polyphonic in nature. It’s about clashing ideas together.
But, yeah, just writing whenever I can steal the time.
And that’s all I have to say. Was going to write another essay about writing, but I’ll save that for maybe another day. Probably never. Instead I’ll be writing about genre.