Ever hear the line about writers telling lies for fun and profit? I was thinking about that a while ago while reading yet another interview asking yet another variant on the same boring questions. You the ones.
What made you want to become a writer?
What advice do you have for people starting out?
What’s your favorite part of being a writer?
What’s your process like?
Where do you get your ideas?
I must confess, every time I see the last question I want to torture somebody. It’s a terrible question. And it’s one people have started lobbing at me. Every time I find myself suppressing the urge to go on at length about the dark arcane rituals involving the consumption of infant organs and trying to come up with something polite.
But you know what? If I’m tired of reading interviews with these questions and seeing the same tactful answers over and over again, people have to be tired of answering those questions with those tactful answers. They’ve got to be full to the brim with the answers they didn’t give, the tall tales, the lies, the sarcastic rejoinders that civil people just aren’t supposed to share.
I mean it. Anybody will tell you that writers are fragile people. Let too much something store up in their heads and eventually it’ll explode. Sometimes you might get lucky and they’ll just be overflowing with verbena and loam and callipygian, but what if they write military SF? Or horror? You do not want that stuff getting lose into the world as fallout from a post-“How do you get an agent?”-induced melt-down.
Which is why I’m going to do us all a public service and give writers a chance to get all that out of their system. I’ll ask them the boringest, clichest, dullest questions ever, and tell them to go at it. Lie to me. Make it elaborate. Make it good.
First one goes up in a bit. It’s early days, so let me know what you think, what you’d like to see, etc. And feel free to toss follow-up questions to the interviewees into the comments.