Blog Chain: A talk with an author (Alive or Dead)

It's my turn! It's my turn!

Here we are with another round of the chain a'swinging, and it's my chance to ask (and answer) a question. I was thinking of making this a two-fer question. That's how excited I am. But I'll hold off and just ask one. I don't want to use up all my barely good material. Okay, here's my blogchain question:

If you could dine with any author, and I do mean any whether alive or dead (yes, we're going into the realms of time travel - but hey, we have science fiction writers on this chain so we can always ask for them to write up the time machine specs), who would you want to dine with? And if you can ask them for advice on one writing element you feel you might be struggling at, what would it be?

I wasn't sure how to answer this one myself. There are a lot of authors-- strangely, most of them are dead-- who I would love to have the pleasure to have a nice meal and a chat. The first author who pops into the mind  is J.R.R. Tolkien. I would find it fascinating to ask about his techniques on how to create such detailed worlds and scenes. But I'm not sure I could hold my tongue concerning some of his parts that seem... well, a bit fluffy--not so much as poor descriptions, just a bit long-winded and airy. Rather not spoil the dinner and find my meal in my lap as he storms out the room.

Another author who comes to mind involves Stephen King. I would love to ask him about his action scenes and how he can write with so many characters yet keep the plot flowing to a logical conclusion without any gaping plot holes or loose story lines leading into oblivion. But I'd be a bit nervous. He's probably ask for a midnight dinner on a stormy night in a haunted mansion, and I would be jumping at every shadow being stuck in a room with a master of horror writing. If the lights went out, I would run out the room screaming (especially if the maid named Annie Wilkes walks into the room holding a sledgehammer and talking about her pig and how I should write a story just for her-- loved King's "Misery" book).

But the one author I would love to dine and converse with would be Edgar Allan Poe. I would love to talk his ear off... perhaps that's not the best metaphor about having a conversation with someone who has been dead for awhile but deal with the mental image I implanted for a bit. I would want to talk about his unique style, his way of creating such descriptive scenes and character interactions in such a condensed way of short story fiction writing. I believe his voice is incredible, and learning to create such awe-inspiring short fiction can only relate into improving longer stories and plots that capture a reader's mind in ways I can only dream about.

So, while I scrub down the shovel and remove the muck from boots after my little hike into the cemetery, (no, I didn't write this as a primer for Halloween - it just happened that way, HONEST!) I would like to find out who you would dine and chat with for a night. Make sure to visit fellow blog chainer Eric for his answer to this topic.

If you will excuse me, I have a few leftover, decayed body parts I have to clean up from the dinner table.

Blog Chain: Biggest Mistakes

My turn in the blog chain has arrived a little early. I switched turns for this round, coming in second. So I'm jumping in a quick response, but this is quite an interesting topic. Laura's up for this round (I believe I'm up first during the next *gulp*). Make sure you read up on her response. You won't be disappointed! Her question:

Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?

This is a great question because I often think of my writing mistakes and on how I can improve from them to further my writing career. Besides learning to type by actually looking at the screen to reduce the number of typos (hey - at least I learned to type with ALL my fingers), I believe my best mistake was a technical one.

I accidentally deleted one of my manuscripts - the whole manuscript - twice.

Why would this be my best mistake? All that work, all those lost chapters, gone without having backed up the files?!?!?! The reason it was the best mistake I made was that I learned to first back up that manuscript in every way possible. But I also discovered two most important things:

I learned to improve on my writing

I allowed the plot to evolve in ways that made the manuscript better.

This second reason had to be the most wonderful outcome to my best mistake. With that one press of the delete button, I didn't stick with a set storyline as I recreated the manuscript. My characters changed. They grew in their personalities and interactions. Descriptive paragraphs allowed for the scenes to have more life: to hear and feel and almost taste the things going on. A singular plot developed arcs, branching out yet maintaining a purpose brought together into a solid story.

Instead of merely deleting a simple typo, I deleted a manuscript. And when I rewrote it, I found it was the best thing that ever happened.

Remember to go see Laura for her answer. Shaun will have his post up tomorrow.