|Sara Lippmann's Doll Palace due out in September!|
Here are my answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour questionnaire--which I'll be passing along to three writers--Frank Hinton, Bud Smith and Paola Fornari Hanna.
What am I working on?
I'm working on a few things right now--short stories mainly, but I'm also working on a novel, which--shhhh--I can't talk too much about. I'm protective of it, afraid to reveal too much of the plot. I can say, though, that it's a story about culpability, about the American family and the American family of God.
I'm also working on lots of short stories. The one I'm working on right now is called "Box of Nazi" and promises to be exceptionally weird.
As a short story writer, I'm always arranging and re-arranging stories for potential collections. I'm also starting to think about how to create a collection of humorous travel stories called--surprise surprise--I Must Be Off! based of course on this blog, which I update regularly.
I write book reviews, so I'm working on those. I'm starting to get a tummy, so I'm working on getting rid of that. My review of Dan Powell's Looking Out of Broken Windows is at The Lit Pub now.
How does my work differ from other work of its genre?
Maybe the difference is that my work isn't as good? I don't know. It's a difficult question. There are so many people writing these days. I hope my work is unique in some ways--in terms of humor and form maybe--but this might be an ill-informed hope. Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), which I published in 2012, definitely plays with form, and some people have told me they laughed. Some wet their pants; some spit their coffee on their rowmate on a plane. Some snickered politely. Some got angry with me. Some bought it and never read it--but they bought it and that's the important thing.
In terms of genre, I'm all over the board. I play the field. I'm promiscuous. I'm a multiple personality. So it's really difficult to talk about my work in one genre.
Why do I write what I do?
I recently answered this question for Mike Young at Literary Orphans, so I guess I need to say the same thing.
Is it weird to say characters attack me? Not like ideas that come and go, not like ideas you have in the morning and forget by the evening. These characters and their stories set up shop in my head; I guess that's why I write what I do. I think this is quite normal for writers, so not weird, right? In the immortal words of Sheldon Cooper, "I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested."
How does my writing process work?
Intermittently. As I say above, stories need to live--to persist--for a while inside me before I write them down. Some of my characters need a long, long time to figure their stories out. I might think about a story for months before I start writing. All sorts of digestive metaphors come to mind, but I think gestation is more like it.
I write best early in the morning, but lately I haven't had the energy to get up early. Life changes have affected my rhythm. I need to get back to my routine of writing at 4:00 a.m. And now it's after 9:00 in the evening now, so my bed is calling.
I must be off,
Continue the Writing Process Blog Tour with Bud Smith, Paola Fornari or Frank Hinton.
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.