A big welcome to Daniel Nayeri, co-author of Another Faust and Another Pan and author of Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow!
Are there any other art forms that inspire you when you are writing? Do you listen to music, look at art pieces for ideas or watch dance and gymnastics?
That's a great question. Yes. I have about three songs I pick for each story I write, and I listen to them on repeat--one song at a time. So basically, for a month, I'll only listen to one of the songs on repeat, something close to 500 times. I've always enjoyed hearing things in repetition. It creates a rhythm that I can zone-out to.
What is your biggest and hardest to ignore distraction? How do you cope with it?
My day job. As an editor, I spend all day reading brilliant authors and working with insanely talented illustrators. First of all, they're incredibly intimidating. Second, I could easily take a dozen manuscripts home every night and forget to eat dinner. I try to keep the worlds separate, however. I'd rather spend longer at the office reading manuscripts than bring them home. I wake every morning and write my own stuff for a couple hours before I head off to work. That way my mind is still blank. I also try to read a lot of books that other houses publish (especially graphic novels and adult fiction), so I can keep up, and so I'm not always reading in one category.
All that said, I'm constantly on stimulation overload. The other distraction is video games. I play everything on every system (Dark Souls and Gears 3 right now with a side of Dungeon Defenders and Fifa), so I limit myself to an hour a night and weekends.
Is there one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started writing?
Everything other than sitting down and writing sentences is the literary equivalent of a diet fad. Sit down and write. That's all there is.
Do you write in or out of sequence? What part of your novel comes first? What comes last?
Completely in sequence, beginning to end. I outline as well, so I know where it's going.
How do you choose your main character? What about perspective? Do you tend to write in third or choose the character telling the story based off of part of your plot?
I often develop the story I'd like to tell first. Sometimes, I'll think of a world, and then I'll think of the person who would be least capable of dealing with that world. Or similarly, if I have a plot in mind, I'll look the person who is most averse or uniquely disadvantaged. I start there. I think of the biggest hurdles I can think of, without going for the easy ones like "a blind visionary," or a "writer who can't think of anything to write."
When you are reading, what makes a character compelling to you? Is it the same aspects that make a character you are writing compelling?
All my favorites characters are a little tweaked, a little obsessed. I like people who're wildly successful or wildly broken or wildly uncomfortable or wildly hard to deal with. But all a little wild. Characters like Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone, Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop, Ignatius Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces, Don Quixote, Philip Marlowe, Yotsuba, Queequeg, you get the idea. People who are completely not-with-program. I like that. I like to write those types as well.
AND we are adding in a giveaway to celebrate the upcoming New Year!
To win a $20 Giftcard to your choice of Amazon, Barnes&Noble or The Book Depository comment on this blog post telling us which of the following short story trailers is your favorite! These are the four stories featured in Daniel Nayeri's Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow!
A big thank you to Daniel Nayeri for joining us and to everyone reading! As always, you are what makes blogging so special!