Friday, February 22, 2013

How He Does It with Teel James Glenn

I met Teel at EPICon in Virginia Beach and listened to him give his reading without holding the papers and reading. He recited and held the audience spellbound. At the banquet, I saw him in a kilt. My first kilted man.

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

Often their creation comes as a reaction to something I saw or read and I think “but what if- had happened” or from my desire to explore a particular part of a ‘world’-be it a historic setting or a fantasy world. Or I decide who would be best to ‘infiltrate’ that world and I begin building them like would would assemble a chair from Ikea.

As for process, I have written pretty much every way there is- organically with a vague idea of plot and a character I wanted to explore and just let it develop, with a solid outline with the last sentence figured out before I begin the first word and everything in between.

I prefer my laptop for speed, but my first books were written on an old Underwood manual typewriter and many have been written longhand in notebooks on train or buss rides so, when I gotta write- I gotta write!

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

For me, the characters usually come first-sometime years before I have story for them to ‘live’ in. Their personality shapes the plot-even if I have it ‘laid out’ before they enter the picture. I had one character in my novel The Escape Artist who was supposed to be a ‘walk on-’ one night stand for the main character and darned if she didn’t just tell me “hell no, I’m not leaving!” and I had to rewrite the whole of the book to include her. Really.

Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Sometimes I have the exact last sentence written before I start the story and work toward it. Sometimes I haven’t the faintest idea where the darn thing is going and am just as surprised as the characters when stuff happens. LOL. Really.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

Sometimes I chose a setting I don’t know at all just so I can have the enjoyment of researching it- I’ve written tales in Palestine in the 40s, India in the 1880s and China in the 30s without even getting close to them physically or temporally- but its been rewarding when someone who has lived in a local I wrote about (in this case contemporary Hong Kong) was sure I had been there since I mention bus fares, street names etc. with comfortable casualness. The key is research and working hard not to use everything I learn--just the stuff one might notice -a sign or a building that can be seen- when actually there.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I have a pretty eclectic collection of books with all sorts of weird facts and stuff in them, but as time goes on I’m increasingly using the internet just because I can’t fit any more books in my place...

Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I’ve changed the was I write over the years-I used to write the story in pieces--the scenes that excited me the most then wrote around them but now I pretty much start at the beginning an write straight to the end. I am not adverse to rewrites- after time has passed- but I tend to write slow enough that I am building as I go and like to be ‘done’ when I type ‘the end.’

Teel James Glenn

Winner of the 2012 Pulp Ark 'Best Author of the Year.' Epic ebook award finalist. P&E winner "Best Steampunk Short", finalist "Best Fantasy short, Collection" Author of bestselling Exceptionals Series, The Maxi/Moxie Series, The Dr. Shadows Series, The Bob Howard Series and others.

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