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The Real Writing Process of Tiffani Angus
Episode 30213th November 2022 • The Real Writing Process • Tom Pepperdine
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Tom Pepperdine interviews Tiffani Angus about her writing process. Tiffani discusses how she doesn't keep to a set writing schedule, her approach to research, and the difference between her fiction and non-fiction work.

You can find all of Tiffani's information on her website here: http://www.tiffani-angus.com/

And you can follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/tiffaniangus

And you can find more information on the show and upcoming guests on the following links:

https://twitter.com/Therealwriting1

https://www.instagram.com/realwritingpro

https://www.facebook.com/therealwritingprocesspodcast

Transcripts

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Hello, and welcome to The Real Writing Process.

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I'm your host, Tom Pepperdine.

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And this week, my guest is the author and scholar, Dr.

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Tiffany Angus.

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Now, if you think this podcast is getting high brow, don't worry, it's not.

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In between seasons of this show, I've actually met a few of you fine listeners.

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I understand that highbrow is not the way to go.

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I get it.

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I get you.

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It's chill.

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Tiffany is a lot of fun and occasionally writes porn.

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We're good.

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She's also written other stuff too.

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Her debut novel, Threading The Labyrinth is a great piece of historical fantasy.

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We discuss it a lot and it's definitely worth picking up.

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But what's even more exciting from a writing podcast perspective is

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that she has taught creative writing and has a PhD in creative writing

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and is working on a book to help you write speculative fiction.

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Useful stuff.

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Interesting person.

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Wonderful guest.

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Shall I stop with the intro and get on with the interview?

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Yes.

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Let's go!

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And I'm here with Tiffany Angus.

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Tiffany, Hello.

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Hello.

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And thank you very much for being on the show.

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Thanks for having me.

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You're welcome.

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And my first question as always, what are we drinking?

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So I have orange gin and tonic.

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I'm a bit of a connoisseur of flavored gins and I had to pick today, because

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it was my birthday a couple days ago.

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I must have a dozen different kinds of gin in my kitchen, and the orange

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one was open, so we're having today.

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Oh, okay.

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Beautiful.

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And it's August, it's still the, the last few days of summer.

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It's getting cooler, but it's still not cold.

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A nice, refreshing gin is always a pleasure on the show.

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Lovely.

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Yeah.

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Lovely.

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And where I'm talking to you now, is this your office?

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Is this where you do all your writing?

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It is.

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This is the tiny room in our house that sort, I guess people called

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a box room, and it's my office and it is full of, it's a mess.

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This is, it's a good thing this isn't video, cuz it is a tip right now.

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Behind me are shelves and shelves of books and toys.

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I don't have children, I just have toys on the shelves.

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Yes.

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Yeah.

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What those figurines called that I can see on your shelves there?

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The little pop vinyls?

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Pop vinyls.

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Fun Funko Pops.

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Yeah, Funko pops.

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That's it.

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Yeah.

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They're all girls though.

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Okay.

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Only the badass girls.

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I'm glad to see that they're not in their boxes and that they're actually out.

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It's not that sort of must keep them as a collectible.

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It's like no, they're toys.

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No they're toys and I already broke one and replaced it.

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I was very sad I busted one.

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Is there one that is particularly rare that you're very proud of having?

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I don't know if any of 'em were particularly rare, but I do love,

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The first one I ever got was Antiope and that was the one that

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I broke and I had to replace.

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Wonder Woman's aunt.

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And how long has this been your, the box room is the writing zone?

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So funnily enough, we moved in here eight years and two days ago.

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I, I know we moved in here on my birthday, so I know exactly how long.

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So I've had this room for that long I finished my PhD in this room.

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when I was a lecturer, I worked from here.

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During Covid, this is where I taught from and this is where I write.

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Okay.

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And are you a morning, afternoon, or evening writer?

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Man, I'm, a when-I-can writer, I've tried really hard.

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I've really tried hard to be one of those people who gets up at 5:00

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AM and writes, and that's just, it works for a day and then I say no.

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But it depends on if I have a deadline or not.

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Like right now, we're on deadline to try to finish a book.

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My, my co-author and I on this one project.

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And so like I wrote pretty much all day yesterday.

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I tend to start, or right before lunch because I work out

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and do stuff in the morning.

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And so I'll do a little bit of writing, then I have lunch, then

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I really go to town afternoon.

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But last night I sat downstairs on the couch and worked till about midnight.

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Oh, wow.

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So it depends on, yeah, it depends on what's going on.

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But I don't, I'm not really good at having a writing schedule.

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I think I have delusions that one day I will, but it's never gonna work.

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It's never gonna happen.

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So I just accept that if something's due I can get it done.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And you mentioned there, you know, you're working deadline on

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a co-written book at the moment.

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Is this the first co-written project you've had?

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No, it's not.

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The first novel I ever wrote, which is on my hard drive.

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That will never see the light of day.

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The first thing I ever wrote, I wrote with one of my best friends back in the States.

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We went to university together and then funnily enough, we kept

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getting jobs in the same places.

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And in 1998, I wanna say, we we both lived on either side of a very big cemetery.

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This is in Dayton, Ohio.

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And she took me for a walk through the cemetery one day.

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I'd never been there.

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And there was one of the newer headstones was a pyramid.

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Oh!

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It had hieroglyphics on it.

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Oh, cool.

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And we were at dinner later and I went, Oh, you know what?

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I just thought, what if the hieroglyphics were a clue to something?

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And then right there we started planning out this whole novel with

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three different timelines and all these characters and all this stuff.

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And we wrote it on and off for about 10 years.

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Had an agent look at it like, we got some attention and then

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we knew we needed to fix things.

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And then she moved to LA and not very long after I moved to the UK and it,

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we look at, it's our trunk project.

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It's the thing that helped us figure out to write better.

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Okay.

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Nice.

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So is this been as fun a writing?

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I, I assume it's not taken 10 years?

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No, it's taken about a year.

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It's been different because when I wrote that book with Angel,

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we would be in the same place.

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We would be in, in my office in my extra room in my house there.

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And I would type and she would walk back and forth behind me.

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And then I would write this one timeline and she wrote the other

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timeline and then we would trade.

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So we would have a lot of in-person meetings.

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But this project I'm working on now, I'm here in, in England and Val is in Ireland.

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And so we have Zoom meetings and we talk about stuff, but a lot of it is okay,

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I've posted it on Google Docs, let me look at it, I'll give you feedback.

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So we don't, we're not in person, but we still had a lot of fun.

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It's been a lot of fun to write.

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It's not fiction.

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Yeah, it's nonfiction.

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It's about writing.

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And it's been fun to make it sound like us, cuz we tend

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to make a lot of silly jokes.

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So it's got silly jokes and it has puns and et cetera.

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Excellent.

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That's made it fun.

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That's good.

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And so how did this project start off?

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Was this you guys having a conversation?

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Was there an inspiration sparker, like we should write a book about writing?

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No.

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So a lockdown happened and in spring 2020 Easter Con went online.

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And right before Easter Con I had done an online festival that was

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put together, and I did a workshop about writing historical fantasy.

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And so at Easter Con I said, hey, I'll do the workshop.

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And I did the workshop.

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And Francesca from Luna Press, she said, hey, let's have lunch.

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So we had like little avatar people lunch on our computers.

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And she said, oh, we had a writing book, but it was Gareth Powell's writing

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book that's now gone to another house.

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And she says, we need a writing book.

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I saw your workshop, it was great.

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Do you wanna write a book for us?

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And I said, that would be awesome.

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Let me talk to my friend who, cuz Val writes I wanna say

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Science fictiony science fiction?

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He's more like military science fiction, space opera, robots

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and all that kind of stuff.

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And so I talked to him and I said, hey, here's just cool

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idea, let's do this together.

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And he said, yeah.

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And so the working title is Spec Fic for Newbies: A Guide to Writing

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Various Sub Genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.

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And I wanna add "with puns" on the end of that.

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But he doesn't like that right now.

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I'll convince him.

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And so there's three chapters and in each chapter there's eight to 10 sub genres.

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So it's everything from big dumb objects to military science fiction

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to historical fantasy, steampunk, body horror psychological horror, et cetera.

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And in each section we give a short history.

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Things that are cool about it, things to watch out for, and two activities.

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So it's for somebody who's new to writing that certain sub genre.

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And we split 'em between us and then some of them we've written together

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and it's just been so much fun.

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Except a couple ti a couple of them have been a little disturbing.

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Like, he did splatter punk last week.

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He said, I need a shower now.

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That was just, that wasn't fun to write.

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Yeah.

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And was it fun researching that as well?

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Yeah.

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Cause there's this thing where you think I know how to write this, but I don't

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really know where some of the stuff came from, or who coined the term steampunk?

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I had to find out where that term came from.

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And so we've, for the short history, so each of the sections is only two

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to 3000 words, so it's not huge.

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Because there are whole books out there that talk about the history of

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fantasy and science fiction, et cetera.

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And so we condense everything.

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But it's been a lot of fun to find stories and novels and movies.

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Yeah, so we mentioned a lot of movies too.

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And it's just been fun to figure out how to make the history interesting

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enough and fun enough to read.

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And give somebody a context.

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Okay, here's how this started, here's where it is now.

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Yeah.

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Like sword and sorcery changed a lot.

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And that's one of those things where you could write forever and ever.

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And holding back and cutting it down and slimming it.

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Editing it down has also been a bit of a challenge.

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Yeah.

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And I can imagine there's definitely a lot you can go into on all of those subjects.

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Huge amounts.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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But yeah, it is a great concept cuz I think people who do like genre fiction and

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just not sure where a story fits and being able to sort of find all these subsets.

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And just knowing some of the tropes and that fine line between trope and cliche,

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where you want something that the reader can go, Oh yeah this is this genre.

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This is my wheelhouse.

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This is why I like reading this thing.

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Yeah.

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Rather than, Oh, this is something that's done to death and I've

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seen this again and again.

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But yeah, having that sort of mapped out or even just having a touchpoint

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to say, if you like this you can now explore and you know the genre.

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Yeah, because a lot of the sections are actual sub genres.

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Yeah, but then in a couple cases, we've taken more tropes.

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So we'll have a section on vampires and one on zombies, for example.

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And inside that there's things that like, like we all know about zombies,

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but we don't all know where the actual the trop came from in the first place.

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Yeah.

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Way before, Romero and before that movie in the 1930s, like before all that,

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where it came from during colonization.

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And it's fun to, to explain it and to show where everything overlaps

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because it's so difficult to say, one story is exactly one thing.

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So we have a lot of references to other stuff.

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And things have come up that we, I like, I didn't expect to be writing about how to

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write a sex scene for Paranormal Romance.

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I get through a whole section on how to write a sex scene.

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Yeah.

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Did not plan that.

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Fun to do, or?

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Yeah well, I've written them before, so I enjoy writing them.

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But I know it's one of those things that a lot of people don't quite know

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how to approach, and so I thought, Yeah, I'll put that in there.

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Yeah.

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And isn't there like the bad sex award that you know, very

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notable writers who clearly don't know how to write a sex scene.

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Yeah.

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And yeah.

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And if you go on TikTok, it seems that every uh, fantasy

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book is written by Sarah J Mass.

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Uh...

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Really?

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Um, well, my wife describes it as fairy porn.

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And yeah, just that's generally this, the subset.

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It's very Mills and Boon fantasy.

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Wow.

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Taking Twilight to the next level.

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So that's funny you mention that cuz my friend Amy, who, she works

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at Waterstones in Cambridge.

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We were talking, she said, and she was talking about book tok cuz

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they're doing a thing with book tok.

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She says, I didn't realize this was a thing right now.

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It's horny elves or horny fairies is the thing.

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And I thought, that's a new sub genre to think about.

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So yeah, for the next book.

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And uh, you know, sort of a mutual friend and a friend of the show J.

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L.

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Worrad.

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Yes.

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Who did a very culturally interesting and thoughtful and

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intellectual horny elf book.

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It's still, can't get my head round how intellectual that book was

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considering it was a very horny elf.

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It was brilliant.

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It's sitting on my shelf.

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I haven't opened it yet, sorry James.

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It's yeah, it's definitely worth your time.

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And not for the, the things that you think, but also for the

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things that you don't expect.

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But yeah, he's just a good writer in an annoying way.

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That's just, you don't expect the guy that we know, yeah,

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writing the stuff that he writes.

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I was like, Oh yeah.

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Oh, there's a brain here.

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There's a drinker, there's a drinker we know.

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And a brain behind and a dancer.

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Yes.

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And a bad karaoke singer, but oh, I mean, a wonderful karaoke singer.

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Anyway, we love James.

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Uh, moving on.

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Back to your writing.

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Sorry, James.

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That's right.

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But speaking about your fiction.

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Yeah.

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So when you have an idea, when you're developing a story, do you like to

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start with a scenario, a character or a world that you'd like to explore?

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I tend to start with scenarios.

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A lot of ideas I get, and this is gonna sound really woo woo and

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strange, but you know that time like between when you're awake and asleep?

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Yeah.

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That is when I get a lot of ideas.

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I'll suddenly get an image in my head and the next morning I still

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remember the image, I can't shake it.

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And it's just weird.

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And I think, what would that mean?

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And that's where I start going from there.

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I don't tend to start with characters unless I do this thing that I love

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to do where I take dead people from history and mess with their lives.

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Okay.

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Then I have somebody to start with to play with.

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Yeah.

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But I'm not a big secondary world builder, so I don't start with that.

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I might start with a time in history, so world building in that sense,

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but not fantasy world building.

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So yeah, I waiver between some weird scenario or somebody who's been dead for

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hundreds of years who I wanna resurrect.

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And with that, you've been working on a fiction book this summer as well?

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Yeah.

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So I'm working on, in between trying to finish Spec Fic for Newbies, I've

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been working on more stories set in the Threading the Labyrinth garden.

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Nice.

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To be part of a collection that is all garden themed.

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And I'm also finishing a novel that I've been trying to finish for a few years now.

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But it's apocalyptic, post apocalyptic, that I started way

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before Covid, so I'm allowed.

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Cause I love apocalyptic fiction.

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I read The Stand when I was like 11.

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And I've always wanted to destroy the world and rebuild it again.

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And so that's what that book is.

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Nice.

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Cuz I was gonna ask about researching history when you're saying people

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from history and with Threading the Labyrinth obviously is,

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that garden throughout history.

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And do you like researching historical periods?

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And do you just go online and find resources online or do you

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actually have books and other resources that you turn to?

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So two things.

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A, Threading was a different animal, I'll get to that in a second.

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B, I'm also working on, it's basically costume porn.

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Literally porn.

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But in writing not like a drama that you filmed.

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You're not filming it?

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No.

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Okay.

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No, I'm not filming it.

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Set in the 18th century, so I'm doing research for that.

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So yeah, I, when I did Threading the Labyrinth, it was my PhD project.

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It was my dissertation.

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And so I spent years doing research.

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And because of what it was, because it's about 400 years in English garden, I got

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to go to gardens all over the country.

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I went to the Imperial War Museum when they had an exhibit on the

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Ministry of Food and Victory Gardens during World War ii.

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I went to William Morris's house.

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I went to the V&A, I went to, I went everywhere to do all this research.

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And I also have, behind me on the shelves of craziness, I have four big, giant

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full shelves of gardening history books.

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So when I'm sitting down to do the stories for the collection, I'll go

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through there and find something.

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Or I've done the same thing when I've been invited to anthologies

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and I suddenly think, okay, I can do something about gardens.

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Let me pick up this book and just go through it and see what ideas I get.

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So I tend to do that.

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I use Pinterest for visual stimulation, I dunno where that came from.

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For visual stuff.

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So I have a bunch of different Pinterest boards for different

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time periods for the garden.

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Yeah.

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And I've started a new one for clothing for 18th century clothing.

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For this new project.

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So I like to have the physical stuff handy.

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I can't, I don't use Kindle for nonfiction research books usually.

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I remember where something is in a book physically.

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I'll remember, oh, it was about halfway through on the left side at the bottom.

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And I can find it again and I can't do that on Kindle.

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I'll use online if I can't get somewhere.

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But I like to actually go see the thing.

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Yeah.

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And I suppose actually going to gardens as well and actually getting that sense of

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being in nature and the feel of the space.

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Cause it certainly comes across in your writing the way you describe the garden.

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It's very evocative and if you've actually walked a lot of gardens,

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that would certainly have helped.

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Yeah.

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I took photographs.

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I have, I still have, I dunno, a couple thousand photographs from

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all the different gardens I went to.

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And it would be everything from, here's the layout to here up close of flowers

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to this is what it looks like during this season, especially walled gardens.

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I'm a complete walled garden nerd, so anytime I could find a walled garden,

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I'd go straight for that and take all the pictures I could of everything.

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Yeah.

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Are there places that you are looking to visit for your 18th century novel?

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No, cuz I can't get to Italy.

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Oh, but I can, weirdly, because of the 18th century being what it was,

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I can think about the research I did on 18th Century Life and Gardens here

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and take some of it and move it over.

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But I will have to do some Italian specific research.

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Yeah.

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It'll just take more books and visiting stuff online.

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But because what I'm doing isn't, how do I say this?

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Because the project I'm working on is not really focused on outside, it's more,

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I guess people could have sex outside.

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It's more of you know, interpersonal relationships of a very intimate nature.

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I don't need to know all the big stuff and what was going on politically,

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et cetera, et cetera, so much.

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People's bodies, were very similar.

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Yeah.

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Okay.

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And completely differently, the postapocalyptic where you don't

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really need to I suppose you can go outside at the moment,

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that's, that's enough research.

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But I guess you know, fully creating a postapocalyptic world must take

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a completely different approach.

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How have you approached that?

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That one is, it's actually set in the States.

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Okay.

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So it's set in the kind of place that I'm familiar with, and I'm familiar

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with the strip malls and where a school would be and where a supermarket would

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be and what things would look like.

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And so I've made a bit of an amalgam in my head of different places.

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I never name the exact city where it's set cause I want it to be a bit generic.

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And it's in a quasi gated community, which is also a bit generic.

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Yeah.

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It's not you know, one of the really fancy ones.

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And so luckily I can use that from having grown up in the States.

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I can use that.

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And it's because I use most everything is set in a neighborhood.

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I don't have to worry so much about other stuff.

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There are scenes early where the protagonist is out in the world

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and has to deal with things.

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And I do have a lot happen in a hospital.

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Luckily, one of my closest friends is a nurse.

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Okay.

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And so I asked her about the drug machines in hospitals.

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I needed to know how they worked.

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So right I could find somebody who could give me the low down

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on, on that kind of stuff.

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Which is helpful.

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I had to like, I've always set it like a near future and then after the

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pandemic I realized I really do need to at least hint that this happened.

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Cuz one of the characters is like 19.

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And when she was 12, the pandemic hit.

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And so she talks to her friend about when we were 12 and all this stuff happened.

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So we know that we're a few years in the future.

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Because I think it's weird now to not reference it.

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Yeah.

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That makes sense.

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And with uh, writing historical fiction and pornography and apocalyptic fiction,

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in different genres, do you find that your general approach to mapping out and

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outlining these stories are quite similar?

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You have a consistent approach to your projects?

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Or are they tailor made?

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Oh gosh.

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So with Threading, because it was several years long and because it was, because

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it was what it was as my PhD project.

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It was one of those things where I had to do like, try something

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out, see what failed, see what worked to just keep going at it.

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And I was doing research as I was writing it.

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Plus I was doing research for the nonfiction part of the dissertation.

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So I was doing a lot of other stuff.

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I wasn't just sitting in a room and writing a book over a year.

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It was like a five year process.

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But doing that and then having it done.

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And then thinking, okay, it's finished, how do I fix it?

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Quote unquote air quote, fix it to make it publishable.

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Because something that you do for a PhD and something you do for the

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market are two different things.

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And I had to start thinking about a little bit differently.

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And so because I had to reverse engineer the whole project, it has gotten me

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to think of how I do the next project more consciously from the beginning.

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Yeah.

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Because the apocalyptic book, I started it before I ever started the PhD, so

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it's been hanging around for a decade.

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And again, I didn't plan it out the right way at the beginning, cause

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I didn't know what I was doing.

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And now I'm going back and having to.

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I started using Scrivener in May and I'm like, let me make this make sense.

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And so it's something I wish I had done from the beginning, but now

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I've gone in and reorganized it all.

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So, I know that it is making sense, cuz there's like a parallel

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timeline, there's two characters.

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But projects from here on out, I am sitting down and saying, Okay, let me

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plan this a little bit more carefully so I don't find myself in the weeds wondering

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what I'm doing, hating myself, et cetera.

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So if we call it the Italian book.

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Yeah, let's call it the Italian book.

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So with the Italian book, have you mapped out an outline for the plot

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before you start writing chapters?

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I'm working on an outline.

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The Italian project is gonna be, I think, a collection of novellas.

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Okay.

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So a bit longer than a short story.

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Longer one handed reads, so yeah, I've actually, I'm such

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a, I'm such a stationary nerd.

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I went to the Rymans or whatever it was, to the store.

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Yeah.

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And I got one of those spiral bound notebooks that has all the sections in it.

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Yes.

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So I'm like, each section is a different story, a different novella.

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So I know Oh, how to put this together, because otherwise with the nonfiction

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book going on and with the apocalyptic book going on, and with other

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projects I have, I get overwhelmed.

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So if I have everything in one notebook, I feel much more in control of it.

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So, yeah, it's, if I plan it out then I have more time to think

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about what my character's doing and what they want and what they need.

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Yeah.

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And if I can get that vocalized up front, then I can sit down

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and I can write really fast.

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If I know what's going on, what a character's gonna do.

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I can pound out words really quickly.

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It's when I'm faffing and like walking around in a dark room with a blindfold

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that it just takes me forever.

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Yeah.

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And writing short stories and novellas and novels.

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Cause where I've spoken to short story writers before, it's often just a

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little deconstruction of one concept, and it can be a couple of scenes and

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you just exploring a simple theme.

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And illustrating that, quite simply.

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With a novel, you can be doing multiple themes, real long character arcs, the

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characters at the end are very different from where they are at the start.

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There's a full story mapped out.

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And there could be multiple challenges that they're overcoming where, it could

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be just one challenge in a short story.

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With a novella, how do you approach that, in, as you say, it's slightly

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longer than a short story, so you're not just having that very simplistic

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couple of characters exploring one idea and it's not as expansive as a novel.

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So how do you map that out?

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What do you want to achieve in a novella?

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Yeah, so this particular project, because it's a series of novellas, it's

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different from a standalone novella.

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So like your standalone novella means, Okay, I have this idea and it's not gonna

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fit inside the arbitrary parameters of submission guidelines for X market where

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they say 5,000 or 7,000 words or 10,000 words, and you're like, I can't do it

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in that, but I can do it in 15 or 20.

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Because it's a series, I'm allowed to play that evil trick of stopping

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on a like a bit of a cliff hanger.

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So I'm thinking of it as a novel.

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I'm making arm gestures people at home, I'm so sorry.

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I'm doing like the big Rainbow Arms.

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Yeah.

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So I'm thinking of it as a novel in that sense, but more as episodes.

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So it's much more episodic, almost like each one is a long chapter.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And so there is like a through line for each one.

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There is a tiny arc for each one, but it might just be that, this person has gotten

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to this place they need to go to and dealt with this little problem, but behind

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him is this bigger thing that they want.

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Kinda like the show, Alias.

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Yeah?

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Which, yeah, that was the first time I realized that was how TV worked

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and why that was a problem sometime.

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Because that show was so great, but, this is so off topic, so I remember watching

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Alias and loving it, and every episode ended on this big cliff hanger and there

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was this big thing in the background that everybody was working toward and what they

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did after the first series, because it was popular enough and because of the people

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running the show and the network said, Hey, we want more people to watch it.

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They started making everything way more easy for people to

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come in and just watch one.

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Yeah.

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And it changed the way everything happened.

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Yeah.

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Instead of it being more of a continuation, more episodic in that sense.

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And so that's made me think about this more differently.

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When you talk about episodic and multi characters you track with their own story

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arc, I instantly think Game of Thrones.

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And although it's a different genre and hopefully a less controversial ending and,

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um, unnecessary rape, just get rid of it.

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Mine will all be consensual sex.

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Excellent.

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Yeah.

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But yeah, those books were very expansive with multiple points of view.

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And that overarching plot, but everyone having their own journeys.

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It's a lot of balls to juggle though, as you're trying to write something

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that is gonna be eight, 900 words.

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Yeah.

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Rather than thinking, Okay, here's one like, why do I keep doing hand gestures?

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Is it a little crab?

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Little, Yeah.

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And in my language, I'm like, a little poop, this little poop.

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Yeah.

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So it's a different animal from doing something like Game of Thrones.

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I can't keep that much in my head at a time.

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Yeah.

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And I completely forgive Martin for not finishing because that's

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just a lot of stuff to deal with.

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Yeah.

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, Yeah.

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That's another thing I was going to ask about actually,

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are you a prolific note taker?

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Or do you try and keep it all in your head?

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No, I take notes.

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And I take notes by hand, longhand, because I remember it better.

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Whereas, everybody else like types out their notes or they write

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all of their appointments and everything down on their phones.

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I have to have it written down in paper, so I remember it.

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And so all my notes are there.

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Which unfortunately, leads the problem of having pieces of paper all over my

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office and trying to keep track of them all and telling myself, Oh, I'll keep

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all these in the purple folder, and then suddenly they're all on the floor

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because I threw them on the floor as I finished and then I have to figure out

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which one's going in the purple folder.

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Yeah.

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So I do keep some stuff in my head, but I will get to the point where I write

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it down because I know I will forget it.

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And as you get older kids, that really happens even when you don't want it to.

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Do your suduko.

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Yeah.

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Keep your brain sharp!

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And we mentioned earlier that how you write when you can.

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It can be, you know, sort of just before lunch, it can be up to midnight.

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Do you try and write a section of a story?

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So do you write to a plot beat or an end of chapter, or do you just

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leave it mid scene and just go, Okay, that's enough for today.

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I'm out, it's not really working anymore.

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Or do you have an opinion on word counts?

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When you are writing, do you have a minimum that you try to achieve?

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So, just like how I can't seem to get into the schedule of writing at

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a certain time every day, I've never been able to get into the schedule

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of, okay, I have to do this many words today, this many words tomorrow.

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Cuz something about having that pressure on me and something always happens.

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Like I either have to go to the store and get something or, something

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happens, something interrupts life.

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And so it's better for me not to have that guilt hanging over my head.

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So when I write, I tend to write in spurts, which I know sounds lovely.

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Like before, when I was, when I was still working at the university, I

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didn't get any writing done until there would be a bank holiday.

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And my partner would go out of town and I would have three days to myself

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and I would have just frozen food in the house and I wouldn't shower for

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three days and I'd write 20,000 words.

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So I'd do that kind of thing.

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So that has unfortunately ruined me for being organized in the sense of,

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okay, I write to the end of a scene or end of a beat or end of something.

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I'll just write till I get to a spot where I think, I don't know what happens next

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and I need to think about it a little bit.

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Or if I do know where I'm going, like you say I will write to the end of a

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thing cuz I've planned it that far.

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Yeah.

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But yeah, I try not to, I try not to leave in the middle of a scene, cuz

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I'm afraid I'll come back and not remember what I wanted to happen.

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I'll write myself notes.

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I'll say, write this thing tomorrow.

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This is what happens next, so I don't forget.

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That was literally just gonna be my next question.

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At the end of the day, do you have a little summary for yourself and when

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you start a writing session, do you have to reread a significant amount

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or is it just you have a summary?

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Oh, I'll have a little summary.

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Yeah.

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I don't tend to, I don't tend to go back and reread until I start

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editing and start messing with it.

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I try not to do that thing where I know a lot of writers will sit down

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and read everything they wrote up to that point and then go from there.

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And I just feel like every day it would just get longer and longer to read that.

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Yeah.

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So I'll write myself notes.

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I will say, this is what happens next, I don't know where this person is.

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Double check your notes to find out where that person is,

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because they should be here.

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Yeah.

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And yeah, especially when you're dealing with something

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that has so many characters.

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It was like the apocalyptic book is in a neighborhood and so I've

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named a lot of the neighbors and I keep giving them different names.

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So finally I made myself a list of characters and their addresses

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so I knew where they were.

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And what their kids' names were, and so I could find people again.

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Yeah.

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So I'll write myself those notes.

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Remember who lives across the street and you have to have that person come over.

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And then I'll go look it up.

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That's cool.

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Yeah, I was gonna say that when you've got that sort of enclosed

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or a finite space, a neighborhood.

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Yeah.

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Do you ever draw maps, so you actually have that physical

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and visual representation?

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I have done that before.

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This map I mostly have in my head cuz it's based on a neighborhood that I knew.

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But yeah, I have done that before, I've done it for this one once because there's

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a fire in one of the houses and I had to figure out which house was near and

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who lived there, as I couldn't remember.

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So I had like little boxes on a page with the addresses and the people's names

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to figure out whose house burned down, which seems so mean to my characters.

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You're just a drawing on the page, sorry about your house.

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And you mentioned earlier how you can write until you're not

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quite sure what happens next.

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Yeah.

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You need a bit of a thinking time.

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If you get really stuck, if you really can't think, those uninspired periods,

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is it a waiting game of just, okay I'll just wait for the creative part of my

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brain to work through that problem.

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Or do you have any processes that like help move it along?

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Do you do writing exercises?

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Do you go for walks?

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To just start day drinking and hope for the best?

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How do you get through the uninspired periods?

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Two things.

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One thing, when I was teaching writing, one thing I would tell

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my students, waiting for the muse, you're gonna be waiting all day.

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It's not gonna happen.

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If you do the thing, it like changes your brain chemistry and

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then you can do more of the thing.

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So sit down and even if you write, this is garbage, this sucks, I can't believe

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I'm doing this, blah, blah, blah.

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I went to the store.

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And it'll start to help your brain.

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And that creativity is problem solving.

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So when you sit down with nothing, if I said to a student, write me a story.

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They're gonna go, meugh.

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I dunno what to write about.

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But if I say, write me a story about a dog that can talk that's on another

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planet that's waiting on a train.

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They'll go, ooh.

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Yeah.

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And their brain tries to figure out how to fix it.

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And so when I'm stuck, I will either start asking myself questions, and I

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try to stick with the yes and no's.

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Because if I ask myself open-ended questions sometimes I get stuck.

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But I will also do things to let my, I call it my back brain.

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If, and I've had this before, especially like on that first novel I worked

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on with Angel, there was this one thing I knew something was missing.

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And it was driving me crazy and I said to her, something's missing.

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I don't know what it is, something's missing.

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And so I would go driving.

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I can't drive here in the UK yet.

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I know that's sad, I still have to get my license.

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I have my learners permit, but I haven't got my license.

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But I lived near the country and so I would just go out driving.

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Or here, I'll go for a walk or I'll go do dishes.

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I'll do something mindless and my back brain will figure it out because it was

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always there, it was just hiding from me.

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And I remember that day I called her, I said, Are you home?

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I'm coming over.

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And I walked into her kitchen and I said, I figured it out.

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We did the jumping up and down and yaying.

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Yeah.

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And I said, Okay, now I have to go home and write.

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But yeah, so it's either start asking questions and kind of

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interrogate my way out of the hole.

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Yeah.

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Or go do something else and distract myself and let my brain take a break.

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Yeah, and it will come up with the solution if there's a particular

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gnarly thing I can't figure out.

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Nice.

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And question I like to delve in with all guests on the show is imposter syndrome.

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And I used to have like, have you ever had it to realizing that

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actually all writers have it.

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It's, and it's always there.

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Is there a particular point that you, it really hits in a writing project?

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Because I know sometimes, when you first start, you all excited

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and it's like getting the words down, like all nice and creative.

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Do you get to a certain, like word count or second act, third act,

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where the doubt creeps in and you begin to lose faith in a project.

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And how do you push past that to complete?

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It's hard.

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Threadings been on the shelf for two, two years and I still have been

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imposter syndrome about that book, and it's been published for two years.

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It's a weird thing to ask because I spent so many years teaching newer writers at

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university, and so I would have to talk to them about this exact thing and be really

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honest about them and say, I do this too.

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I need you guys to not do this because you have a deadline.

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But I know where you're coming from because I do it all the time myself.

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And so one of my mantras I came up with, which is, it's obnoxious

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as hell, but it's, why not me?

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You know, you see other people with success or they publish something

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or they do whatever, and you start to think that they have this golden

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shine, but then you know them and you know they're just a schmo like you.

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You go to a pub, you know their secrets, you know they're like just a nerd.

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And so I think, then why not me?

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I've worked hard.

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I've done this thing.

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And that's not even just writing.

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I think everybody does that in life and yeah and there's that funny little thing

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that goes around that's like everybody, everybody feels like this all the time.

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Like we all think we're still 12.

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We're all faking it till we make it.

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And so I try to get outta my own head and think about that stuff.

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And I do look at my little shelf of books and anthologies

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and I think I've done this.

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People wouldn't buy it if they thought it was shit.

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So that's a good thing.

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That, that kind of proves to me that I'm not a loser.

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It's so hard.

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Man, writers, we are sad and pathetic, messy things.

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We seriously are, we are a mess.

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And it feels like so much of our life is chasing that, gold star sticker.

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And for somebody to say, Oh, you did a good job and you're like, thank you.

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Because you don't hear it often enough.

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And that's why it's so great.

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I have so many writer friends and I read their books.

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I say, Oh, this was great.

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I love this.

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This was awesome.

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Cause I know what it feels like when somebody reminds you

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that you can actually do this.

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Yeah, yeah.

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Absolutely.

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And it's one of the gifts of this show, I think, is being able to talk to

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writers about it and seeing that shared experience that you all have and yeah,

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being able to publish this out in the world so other writers can listen to

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it and go, Oh, okay, it's not just me.

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Yeah.

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Because it is such a isolating experience, it's so insular.

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But then I guess like working with Val on the Hot To write Spec Fic book is

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quite a liberating experience because you are riffing off each other and

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having someone that spur each other on.

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Yeah, exactly.

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And we're using our experience and there's that thing where you start to think,

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who am I to write a book about writing?

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And I'm like, I'm somebody who has a PhD in writing and spent 10 years as

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a university lecturer, and yeah, I know what the hell I'm talking about.

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And he's the same.

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So that's who I am to do this.

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I've built my own expertise and my own experience in this.

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And I'm, right now another project I'm working on building is to

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actually build online writing courses.

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With somebody else, with somebody else who's also got a PhD and

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is also a published author.

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And so we're working on building the courses.

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And that keeps coming in.

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I keep thinking, why would somebody like, buy a course that I did?

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And I'm like, because I did it for a living, because I've done this stuff.

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Yeah, why not me?

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And going more onto the editing side now.

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Yeah.

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Cause it's,

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I love editing.

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The old adage, writing is rewriting.

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With your own work, you just said there that you love rewriting, do

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you like to write complete drafts?

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So just you go, Okay, that's draft number one, now I'm

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gonna rewrite the whole thing.

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Or do you like to rework individual scenes and go, no, I just wanna get this section

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right before I move on to the next one?

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I tend to redo individual scenes.

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When I'm working on a short story, I'll try to get through to the end of a draft.

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So one of the mantras I taught my students was, we can edit shit on

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a page, but not shit in your head.

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And so I'm a firm believer in just writing the crappiest first

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draft because get it on the page, we can do something with that.

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And I spent so many years working with writers that it's really honed my editing

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chops and I look at my own stuff much better than I did at the beginning.

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Yeah.

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And so with a short story, I'll get through to the end and then I'll

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go back and start messing with it.

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But with a novel because it's just such a big monster, I'll get to the end and

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then that's when I think, okay now.

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Because as you, as you write a book, you discover things.

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And something will happen.

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I think, oh, I've gotta go back and add this thing to this earlier chapter.

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I'll write myself a note and then I'll do it after I finish the whole draft.

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I try to.

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The apocalyptic book is a bit a different animal, cuz it has been

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built in so many different pieces.

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It was originally, each chapter was a different month and then I realized

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that wasn't gonna work and I made it each one a different season.

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I'm like, no, that's not gonna work either.

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So I've restructured it.

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I don't know how many times now.

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So if I ever finish it, it'll be a miracle.

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But other stuff, Yeah, I'll work on a section or a scene at a time.

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It's just easier that way.

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Otherwise you get overwhelmed.

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Absolutely.

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And when you are going through your sections, do you like

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to read it off the screen?

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I know some people like to print it off and make annotations.

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So when you're looking on what to improve, how do you mark it up?

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How do you identify that's what's not working and that the pace is off?

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Every project is a little bit different.

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So when I wrote the book, it's called The Heart Scare, by the way, that first

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novel I wrote a million years ago.

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When we wrote the Heart Scare, it had three different timelines

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and all these different places.

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And so we got to the point where we had note cards and each scene was a different

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color for a different POV character.

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And in the corner we wrote like where they were, whether there

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was peril or not, all the things.

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And used my living room and laid 'em out on the floor to figure out

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what order to put things back into.

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So we did the physical thing of that.

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When I do short stories, I tend to print them because it doesn't

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take a whole lot of anchor paper.

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And I'll tend to edit on the page I'll write.

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And that's what I used to do with students until Covid happened.

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And then, I couldn't print and I couldn't see people, so I got much

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better at doing it on the screen.

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Because I was a proofreader for a while.

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I was an editor.

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I edited and wrote textbooks for several years.

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Yes.

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And so I got used to writing on proofs, but I've had to

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shift to doing it on a screen.

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Yeah, so for books, I'll write notes because it's too much to print it out.

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So I might draw out a structure.

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Yeah.

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Was there another part of that question I lost?

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I don't think so.

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We have been drinking a fair amount of gin.

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Oh, I haven't had that much.

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Oh, I'm on my third.

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I'm just-

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Are you?

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I'm actively listening and just constantly re topping.

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Oh, I'm trying not to make noise on the microphone, so I

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haven't had that much of mine.

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I've got a directing mic, so I can just like tip my head to one side, you're not

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even hearing the glass, the ice tinkle.

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I should have got a straw.

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Yeah.

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This is why I brought the bottle to the interview.

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Yeah, I was gonna ask this with that editing, do you read

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aloud your work to yourself?

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Never.

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You just, no.

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No.

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No?

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I know a lot of people say, and they say, oh, you should read your work aloud.

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Thousands of years ago, we told stories orally.

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We didn't have written language or what have you, or a lot

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of people couldn't read.

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So we told stories and that was a natural thing.

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We don't do that now.

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I know a lot of people listen to audio books, which is cool.

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They put me to sleep, but I can't listen to them.

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For me, reading something aloud to find stuff is really artificial.

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Okay.

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So I don't tend to do it, which if other people wanna do it fine,

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it's just not my, it's not my jam.

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No, that's all right.

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At all.

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I think it, it's good to have that opposing view, because recently I have

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had a lot of people you know, I just put everyone's opinions out and then it's

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the listeners to make their own judgment.

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No, but it's good to hear a published writer who has taught creative writing,

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who's writing a book on creative writing, who has like multiple books

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out, that and multiple stories out.

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And doesn't read them aloud because yes, you do hear that as a piece of advice.

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It's just proving the point that you don't have to, and that if you don't

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read your story aloud, it doesn't mean that you're not a writer.

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It doesn't mean that it's not gonna be any good.

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No, not at all.

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Yeah.

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It's just a different process.

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So yeah, I'm actually quite happy when I do hear the same piece

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of advice over and over and then someone goes, Yeah, I don't do that.

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Poetry's different.

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Poetry's more of a performance thing, it makes sense.

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But for prose it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

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And as far as finding mistakes, I pride myself on, in handing in like the cleanest

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copy I can, as far as like typos and spelling and all that kind of stuff.

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It's sometimes the bigger things that I can't see anymore, that's

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when I need somebody else.

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That's why I need my editor or somebody to say okay, you know.

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This transitions lovely onto the next question, which is once you've

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got the story the best it can in isolation, who reads it next?

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Does it go to an editor directly or do you have Beta readers?

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Is it your partner?

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Who's the first person to read it once you are happy with it?

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Okay my partner, he's literate, but he doesn't read fiction.

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I think he might have read like one erotica story I wrote.

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I don't know if he's ever read anything else.

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That's cool.

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He's got his own stuff.

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No, that's fine.

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Plus, I don't think, and I tell my students this all the time, unless your

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mom or your dad is actually a writer or in publishing your mom's gonna

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love everything that comes outta you.

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Yeah.

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So don't don't use them for a beta reader.

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But I have a writing group that meets in London.

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And when I lived in London, I would go in person and now we've gone

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online because of the pandemic.

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And so if I have something, I'll give it to them.

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If it's the time of year that's right, I will give it to Milford.

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I go to Milford every other year.

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The Milford writers workshop up in Wales.

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And so they've seen a lot of my stuff.

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They saw a first bit of the novel of Threading when it first was being created.

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And what they saw has nothing to do with what the book ended up being at all.

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Yeah.

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They said, no, this isn't working.

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They'll see it and then like for Unsung, George, Dan saw at Unsung and

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I got, they said, you need to work on the theme here and this, you need

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to get rid of this POV character.

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And so the big stuff we worked on together.

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So I don't have a single person I send it to.

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I have different groups of people depending on what's going on in the

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world and where I am in it and where the schedule, the year is, et cetera.

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Yeah.

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That's great.

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And with your academic background, obviously your first published novel being

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your PhD project, your experience with editing must be like slightly different.

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Cause with that it's I need to do what my tutor says, because I want to get my PhD.

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So I feel there's quite a power balance there.

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Did you feel that you could argue the point with that editing process

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or, and how's your view of editing as you've also taught creative writing?

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Can it still sting?

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Can it still be, oh, damnit they're right, or they're wrong and I'm gonna write a

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strongly worded letter why they're wrong.

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Or is it just I need that input and they're there to make it

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better and I crave that feedback.

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What's your approach to an editor?

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When I wrote Threading, I had two supervisors.

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My main, my first supervisor was Farah Mendlesohn, and she

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mainly supervised me through the nonfiction, through the dissertation.

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My dissertation was space and time and gardens.

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So it was like theories of space and time in fictional gardens and

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in real gardens and time travel and all that kind of stuff.

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My second supervisor was for the fiction.

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And unfortunately I got a few of 'em pregnant.

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I kept going through second supervisors.

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They just kept, they kept going on mat leave and then one quit

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the day after I first met her.

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It got to the point where Farah said, Do not breathe near any

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of my other lecturers, cuz they keep going on Mat leave.

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And I ended up with Una McCormack, amazingly.

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She ended up being my final second supervisor who got me through the

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end, the really the bulk, middle, and end of writing that book.

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Oh man, she's really good at planning everything.

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She knows when she sits down to write a book, she knows every chapter and

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every scene and exactly what happens.

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And then here I show up this complete mess going, here's all my stuff.

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So she helped me focus a lot more and that was really good.

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But as far as feedback, it was, so you do have supervisors when

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you do a PhD, but it's your PhD.

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And so you own it and you're an adult.

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And they'll say, I think you should do this.

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And you sit and you think, okay, yeah, I can totally see that.

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Or you can decide that's not what you wanna do.

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Whereas, if it's an editor at a publishing house who's actually gonna

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publish your book, you tend to listen to them because they're doing this for

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a living, for their living, et cetera.

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And over the years, from doing the PhD, from being in writing groups, from

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going to a bunch of different writing workshops, I've been to some harsher than

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others, I've grown a really thick skin.

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I don't really have any problems with people giving me feedback,

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even if it seems harsh.

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I'm okay with it.

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And that's something that was sometimes difficult to deal with when I was

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teaching, cuz I had new baby chicken writers who had never done workshopping

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before or nobody else had ever read their work before and they had to

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suddenly share it and talk about it.

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And so it, it got me to be a lot more sensitive about certain things,

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but at the same time I'm very, not mean, but is forthright the word?

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Uh, yes, it can be.

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Yes.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And I would tell students like, this isn't working, but here's why it's not working.

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And I think that's the important thing is if you give somebody feedback,

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it's not just fix this, it's fix this because here's, x, y, z that

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isn't working that you can improve.

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And so I think it's, people say it's constructive criticism, but

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I think it needs to be really deeply thought through criticism.

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And so you show I know what I'm talking about, I'm not just pulling this outta

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my ass that I think this is garbage.

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Yeah.

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Basically.

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No, absolutely.

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Yeah.

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And when a project, especially when you've worked on projects for so

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many years, is there like a grieving period once a project's actually done

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and once it's actually signed off?

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Or is it just a sense of relief of just oh, it's done.

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I can actually move on to other things.

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Both actually.

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Yeah, cuz it's great to have it done.

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And like right now, Val and I are working toward this deadline

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at the end of September.

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We got delayed a bit because of life stuff.

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And so once it's done be like, whoa, that's great.

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Finished.

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Yeah.

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Cuz I have other things waiting in the wings I haven't had time to do.

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But yeah, when you finish a big thing, you do have this moment of, I don't

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know what to do with myself next.

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I have all this other stuff.

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But so much time and focus was put into this one and now

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you've taken it away from me.

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I don't know how to switch gears to this other thing yet and

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you you kind of need a break.

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Even if it's just a few days, where you just go and faff and go get a

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massage and get a pedicure or do whatever you need to do, while you're

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thinking the new thing cuz it feels.

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It'll start, it feels too much like production line if I go from one

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thing to the next, within a day.

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Yeah.

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When something has finished, do you have any kind of ritual, open about

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all or bubbly, go on a holiday?

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Do you have anything that you do to celebrate or just take

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a break for a couple of days.

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How do you deal with the time between projects?

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After I finished Threading, it was a lot of, I can now go

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to the movies or read for fun.

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So it was a lot of that because it was such a different project.

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For other smaller projects and for the one, yeah, because Threading

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came out and lockdown happened.

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I didn't have all of my in-person signings and launches were all

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canceled, everything was gone.

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So it was very sad trombone.

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It was very, like, when I signed the contract, I was at Fantasy Con.

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And I signed the contract and went to go on a panel and I told everybody,

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I had just signed a contract, everybody clapped and it was awesome.

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And I had some drinks that night.

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But because with a book you have signing the contract, going through edits, handing

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in the final thing, waiting for the cover reveal, waiting for it to hit the shelves,

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there's so many different stages of stuff.

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If you drink for all those, you'll never stop drinking.

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That's a problem.

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So, so it's like you have to pick which one's gonna be your big thing.

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And so what I do when I finish stuff is I buy a piece of jewelry.

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Okay.

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Yeah.

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I bought, I bought myself a Alex Monroe bee from Liberty

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when I finished Threading.

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Yeah.

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It was awesome cuz I'd quoted his autobiography in my dissertation.

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And it's a bee cause I love bees.

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And so I got to go to Liberty and buy something fancy and expensive

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in the purple bag and all that crap.

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And then when Threading was coming out, I bought myself a bracelet.

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So yeah, I buy myself a little thing to celebrate.

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And then, and then sit in pajamas all day in my office.

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And nobody sees my cool jewelry.

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And would you pick something out before you finish the project?

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Is it, we need to finish this project so I can get the thing, or

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is it you finished the project and then it's just okay, now I'm just

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gonna look for something that fits?

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I've done both.

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The bee I knew I wanted the bee.

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Yeah, like I knew, Oh, I knew I wanted the bee, and I wanted

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go to Liberty cuz Liberty is, I would live in liberty if I could.

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It's such a pretty store.

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I can't afford it, but it's so pretty.

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Yeah.

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But when Threading was finally coming out, I was at this one store that has

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this great jewelry and I said, Ooh, I wanna buy myself a new cute Animaly thing.

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Yeah.

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And so I knew what I wanted, but I hadn't picked out one before.

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And so that was fun.

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But when I, when I got my first royalties from Threading, I bought

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a piece of art from an artist I always wanna buy a piece of art from.

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It's in the hallway.

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It's a Margaret Walty.

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She's always exhibits at EasterCon and she does very gardeny drawings and

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it'll be like flowers with dragon heads.

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I mean, I was kind of leading up to, is there a piece of jewelry or

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art that you have your eye on for finishing as you have a project that

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you are hopefully finishing in a month?

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I don't.

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Oh gosh.

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No, you know what, isn't that funny?

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I haven't thought about it and now I'm gonna think about it cuz yeah, when I

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turn in, when we turn in Spec Fic in a month and then it comes out next Easter.

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Yeah, so depending on the next few months, I might wait for right before

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EasterCon and go find my special jewelry.

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And it'll have to be something science fiction, fantasy themed.

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Yeah definitely.

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And I have my last two questions, but I feel that we've answered them already,

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cause it's just, is anything you've learned from a previous story that

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you're now applying to your latest work?

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I think we covered that with outlining?

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I think the fact that you are now outlining, so I'm gonna

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modify a bit, because you are writing a book about writing.

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Yeah.

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Is there anything that you've learned now on this project that you think

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you might apply to future writing?

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Oh my gosh, that's such a difficult thing because this project is nonfiction

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because I'm writing it with somebody else.

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And I'm taking all that stuff that is, it is internalized.

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Like, one thing as we're writing, I keep thinking, Oh, I need

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to cite a source for this.

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And I think, but I don't have one, this is me.

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This is what I used to teach.

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And so because of that, it's such a different animal from writing fiction.

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But I think maybe using Google Docs has been nice.

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Like using the tech's been nice.

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So because you're working with Val, and so you're getting his

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input on the projects as well and his opinions on writing things.

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And because it's covering so many genres and you've had to do

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some research into those genres.

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True.

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You would've definitely have had opinions about these, these

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sub genres before you started.

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But with the input of Val and the research you've done in producing this book, has

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any of those opinions changed or modified that you think, actually, what I was

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thinking before I'm slightly different, I'm a slightly different person coming

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out of this book than I was before?

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In a way, I am a slightly different person coming outta this, because

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you know, I used to write textbooks.

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I've written articles and that kind of non-fiction stuff.

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But doing something like this that, that students are gonna pick up,

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that other writers are gonna pick up.

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That's gonna last a little bit longer than like an online blog article or something.

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It has shown me that I can do this and I have stuff to say and I do know stuff.

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Yeah.

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As conceited and shitty as that sounds, I know stuff.

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I've spent lots of years knowing stuff.

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Yeah and so I, I've worked with other writer before, but doing this project

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has shown me how much fun it can be.

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And one thing that Val and I do, when we have something to say to the

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other person that might be a little scratchy, we're like, do you trust me?

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Yes, I trust you.

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And that's like the code of, okay, I'm gonna tell you a thing, but I'm saying

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it from my heart and from our shared friendship we've had for so long.

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Exactly.

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Safe.

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It's a safe space.

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Exactly.

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And so working on this makes me now, I'd love to write more non-fiction books.

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I'd love to do this more cuz it's so much fun to do this research.

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And as far as the content, that's changed me in a way because there's

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always sub genres I know about, right?

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Yeah and I've read my students work and I've been talking about

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in class and blah, blah, blah.

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But actually having to sit down and process all of them.

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Now there's so many that I want to write in more.

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And there's certain things like theme.

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Theme is one of those elements that I've just hammer on about to

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my students, I have for years and they look at me like I'm crazy.

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And I've had to figure out new ways to explain it every time to get students

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to really get what I'm talking about.

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And I've had to do it here again.

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And so having to do this has brought home to me how to explain things better,

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easier, more clearly, with more humor.

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I'm doing the hand signals again, doing hand gestures.

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Yeah, that's really exciting.

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I think having genre or just creative writing text about theme and about

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different elements yeah, of the writing process would be really good

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and it would definitely worth reading.

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I hope so.

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Yeah.

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Cause some writing books out there are they're really serious.

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They feel like they take themselves a bit too seriously.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And it could be quite hard, I think, with some writing books

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where they're encompassing so much of the writing process.

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Yeah.

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And it might be that there's a writer who's struggling on theme, you know, on,

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on a specific part of the writing process.

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So you can get the component that you're struggling on and just read that.

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Yeah.

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And the one thing, because of the way this book is put together, so we do have

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a list of different writing elements and in certain places where it's

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natural, we've talked about an element.

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Some of them are science fiction, fantasy specific, like magic systems.

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Okay, this is the right place, I'm gonna talk about magic systems for a paragraph.

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Other spots it might be, Oh, let me talk about mood versus tone.

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And so we haven't covered everything, it's not that kind of book.

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Yeah.

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But it's more, let's talk about this fun sub genre.

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You like this and by the way, I'm gonna teach you a little bit more

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about mood versus tone that maybe you didn't know that you didn't know.

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Instead of, let's go element by element and really bore the pants off you.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And my final question is, and again, I feel that you've answered this

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before, so I might ask it in a different way cuz it's, what's the

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one piece of advice you find yourself returning to when you're writing?

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And you did mention the "why not me" earlier.

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As someone who's taught students, so many, is there.

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If any of your students said, Yeah, Dr.

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Angus had a, a catchphrase.

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One thing that you feel that you are known for as giving a piece

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of advice, what would that be?

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I know they would all come back and say, what I say is we can edit shit

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on a page, but not shit in your head.

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And I'd say it just like that, I curse in class cuz they're grownups, but yeah.

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And they would all look at me and go, Oh, she, she said shit twice.

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I'm like, yes cuz that's important.

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Yeah.

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That was the thing you know, you gotta get over yourself and you've

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gotta get over the fear and the anxiety of what you're writing is

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garbage cuz it's gonna be garbage.

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But I don't have ESP, I can't help you edit something that you're thinking about.

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And that's the same thing for me.

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I can't edit the stuff that I'm thinking about.

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I actually have to see if it's gonna work on the page and then I can edit it nice.

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For years.

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Until I'm ready to let it go.

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I think that's a, a nice place to, to end for now.

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And I feel like in a few years we'll have you back and see what's happening then.

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Cool.

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That would be awesome.

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But for today, Tiffany Angus, thank you very much for being a

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guest on the Real Writing process.

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Thank you so much for having me.

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This was a lot of fun.

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Thank you.

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Thank you.

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And that was the real writing process of Tiffany Angus.

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I hope you found lots of interesting little nuggets of wisdom in there.

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Her next book, Spec Fic for Newbies (or whatever the final title will be) is

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co-written with Val Nolan and shall be released by Luna press publishing in 2023.

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And as soon as it's available for pre-order, I will be

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posting it on my socials.

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Now, I'm publishing this shortly after Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter., So

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I'll say Tiffany is currently on Twitter.

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Um, but I will link to her website in the show notes as it has her blog

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and lists all her published work, as well as her social media accounts.

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Uh, which might be subject to change.

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This is also going out midway through national novel writing month,

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often abbreviated to NaNoWriMo.

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So to all those taking part, I wish you well.

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You're a bunch of lunatics who must be overcome with self-loathing.

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You have my sympathies.

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In the meantime, to everyone listening, look after yourselves and keep writing.

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