I was tagged by the most excellent L.M. Bryski (lmbryski.com) to answer some questions about myself and writing. So, here it goes. I can assure you, it’s boring so…You’ve been warned
When did you start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to?
A lot of times you hear folks talking about how they started writing when they were still in diapers and things. Not me. I started writing sometime in high-school. I didn’t do it a lot then and once I learned how to program computers, I wanted to apply stories to that. Still do actually. Becoming a game designer was where I started, but I realized that with the sorts of games I wanted to do, I was either going to do the programming (where I might make a living) or writing (where I won’t make a living). So, I went on programming, but didn’t make it into game programming. Instead, I’ve kept a pretty solid wall between programming and writing.
What genre do you write?
At the moment, I’m writing fantasy, but I’m not married to that. I like to tell good stories. If I found one outside of fantasy that I like, I’d write it.
Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
I have 3 current projects. The first is a high-fantasy I’ve been chiseling away at for about a decade and it still needs an outrageous amount of work. The second is called Wine Bottles and Broomsticks, it really is my favorite at the moment, and the third is a steam-punk fantasy that doesn’t have a real good name and I’m only just now in the process of sketching it out. The Winebottles project is really my main project. I started it in early August and I’m about half-way through. I’m extremely impressed with myself over that story, actually. Not only is it not something I ever thought I’d write, it’s getting very good reviews from everyone I’ve shared it with so far. The last project is just now getting off the ground, it’s a steam-punk fantasy that I’m going to try to hammer out for NaNoWrimo
What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?
The first thing I can remember writing was back in high-school. It was a sci-fi short story I’d written for an english class. I don’t remember a lot about it, except that it had something to do with the foolishness of war.
What’s the best part of writing?
You know, I’m not sure I can say. It’s just something I like doing. I love all things related to making stuff, wood working, programming, small construction projects, cooking (I’m not great at this), and stuff like that. As far as I’m concerned, writing a story is the ultimate art of making (game programming is a pretty close 2nd though).
How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night?)
I’ve got a day job and kids. These things dominate my time and I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like to write. On a super focused week, I might get between one and two hours a day for a day or two running. Normal weeks run about 30min before work and 30 min on lunch break, with maybe 5-10 minutes in the evening, with a few breaks in there. I usually miss Saturday, but sometimes I’ll get the chance to binge on Sunday. I generally write best when my concentration isn’t broken, which is really any time of day.
Did you go to college for writing?
Nope. I got my degree in computer science.
What bothers you more speeling errors; puncutation, errors, or errors for grammar?
I’m bothered by egregious infractions of all three, but minor errors I don’t much care about. If I have to read a second, third or fourth time to understand, it’s bad.
What is the best writing advice anyone has given you?
I don’t think I could pull out any specific advice that I would call the best I’d ever heard. I can, however, point out some of the worst advice I’ve ever come across. At some point in my digital travels I came across a bit of advice describing dialog tags other than the ‘he said and he asked’ as henous, especially when adverbs are involved. It sat wrong with me, so I pulled a few books off the shelf to take a look at what other authors do. Guess what, they were all employing dialog tags and adverbs. These books were good.
What advice would you give to another writer?
Just write. Don’t talk about it, do it. Listen to all advice you hear, remembering that it’s advice, you can take it or leave it, but if someone points something out, at least do them the favor of considering it.
What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
My favorite thing to do is bop around on twitter and other writer’s blogs. Jut seeing that others are thinking the same things I am, and experiencing some of the same difficulties keeps me going.
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
I dunno. Perhaps Coraline, by Neil Gaiman.
What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
I can’t say that any one particular movie has stuck out in my mind as being the best. I don’t watch a tremendous amount of TV, but I would say that from the perspective of fantasy writing, I watched Jim Henson’s The Labryinth with a critical eye earlier this year and I was more satisfied with that story and the imagery than any other movie i’ve watched this year.
Who is your favorite author?
That’s a hard question. I’m going to go with Douglas Adams. I recently picked up the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy for the first time in a long time a month or two ago. The writing in the early part of the book is actually kind of terrible, but it’s funny and engaging, and that’s why I like it. Plus, there’s something about the hapless MC that I enjoy. It’s tough to do it right, but he does. I realized that after I started working on Wine Bottles and Broomsticks that my MC is an awful lot like Arthur Dent. It wasn’t really intentional, but that book most certainly had an influence on my writing.
What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
Re-write my precious high-fantasy The war of Shadows. That story needs a lot of help. I’m going to finish my first full draft of Wine Bottles and Broomsticks and start a second book in that series. In the mean time new chapters will go up on channillo.com monthly until I’m done. The third thing I’d like to do is get most of a full draft of a steam-punk fantasy written. That’s going to be my NaNoWrimo project. Lofty goals, all of them, but It’s what I’m aiming at.
Where else can we find you online?
I’m on twitter @daveskoster
My blog: www.onwritingdragons.com
Facebook: Dave S. Koster
and Instagram @daveskoster
I absolutely can’t believe you made it to the end of this. Good for you – You deserve a glass of wine or something.