I've known Clif for several years now, but I'm not sure if we met at a convention or via a local writing group. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be funny, and his stories have had me laughing out loud. He's also helped me run a local writer's group when I couldn't do it alone. He's got a lot to say and has graciously agreed to bore people with his maunderings, so without further ado, let me introduce my friend and fellow author, C. Flynt.
Question 1: What do you wish people would ask you about your writing?
Would you accept a ten million dollar advance for your next novel?
Ok, that's a little unbelievable, even for a Speculative Fiction writer.
How about: "How do you manage to stay married to your co-writer?"
What make our team-writing work is that we both admit that the other
brings strengths we don't have to the team. For starters, I'm a better
plotter and she's got a better handle on characterization.
A second thing is that we don't have a single pattern for working
together. This might be a function of our relative youth as a writing
team, but I think it's more that we adapt our style to fit the problem.
One pattern we use is that I outline a plot-driven story. A reluctant
hero has to solve world-breaking problems with a bunch of technology
and derring do. I descibe the critical hair-raising scenes. Then Carol
adds the human parts; giving him a love interest, fleshing out his
side-kick into a real character, etc.
Other times we take each other's drafts and rework them with a blunt
instrument: "I changed everything but the font."
This leads to loud discussions of style, theme and craft until we
finally understand the story and what it should have been.
Question 2: Which of your characters would you most like to meet and why?
The one I'd enjoy most is Sigurd.
Every character we create has a little of us in them. Authors can't
help but think "what would I do" when they figure out how a character
acts and what they believe.
Bard is a diminutive, clever (by his own admission), musical wise-ass.
There may be a bit too much of me in him for us to get along.
Sigurd, on the other hand, is copied from several of my best friends.
There's bits of me in him, but there's more of the folks I joke and
Sigurd is the guy I want at my side if things get dicey.
If you're having a life crisis, Bard will cheer you up and make you
forget about it for a few minutes with a joke and some doggerel.
Sigurd will tell you to stop being a baby, buck up and cope, then he'll
go find the root cause of your problem and remove it. Perhaps with his
famous black-handled ax.
Question 3a: Did you take up the guitar because you were writing about a bard or
did you choose a bard as your main character because you play the
I've been playing music since I was forced to learn violin in 3'd
grade. I hated it, so that debacle only lasted a year.
A few years later, I decided that I really did want to learn violin. I
got good enough that I could sometimes recognize the song I was
In junior high, I fixed up a beater guitar and found a book of POPULAR
SONGS WITH E-Z CHORDS--the kind of book where the song title is in
capital letters so you know to sing it extra loud when it shows up in
By the time I hit college, my guitar was my best friend. I wrote songs
I never shared with anyone (thus proving the existence of a benevolent
diety) and worked my way up to knowing a couple dozen chords.
After graduating college, I found SF conventions. At my third con, I
stumbled into a filk circle in a fellow fan's room and I got hooked on
filking. The shared laughter and songs-- most of them sillier than
others-- was intoxicating.
So I wrote my first filk. I sang it to my friends, and they were
willing to remain friends as long as I didn't sing it again.
I got better. The fourth song I wrote took first place in the Boskone
Filk Contest while I was home with a flu.
So, to make a long answer longer, that's where Bard comes from. I've
been doing music for some 50 years, now. I've sung in bars, played open
mike nights at folk clubs, and spent many hours late into the night
(and sometimes late into the next morning) in filk circles.
There's tricks to understanding what the audience wants, when they want
more, and when it's time to drop the last seventy verses and head
straight to the closing chorus.
Bard distills what I know about music and performing, and what I make
up as if I knew what I was talking about, into what he thinks and does.
This is where the "Write What You Know" comes into my part of our work.
I like to say that should really be "Write What You're Willing To
Learn". But while I had to learn physical stuff like how to cook 9'th
century Middle Eastern dishes (Parvana's Pork in Pomegranate Sauce is
really good) I try to also write the human behavior--the stuff that
I've learned by being a human being for most of my life.
Carol is also a musician, so music shows up in many of her stories as
well. Her Mechville universe includes a musician character and the
songs she sings.
Question 3b: How many songs have you written (and/or performed) for Bard?
I've only written a half-dozen or so songs for Bard. Mostly, I
write a verse or so to give the flavor of what the song is like,
but don't actually finish all the verses.
Sometimes it's more fun to just reference the song and leave the
rest up to the reader. I've not written a single verse to "Sigurd
and the Seven Virgin Sisters".
OTOH, I have written more verses for Brother Banger, the monk
who's wurst was best, than actually fit in the story.
Another thing I've done is take songs I wrote a dozen years ago and
slid them into the story where they fit. A good love song (or even one
of mine) should be timeless. It should fit as well in the 9'th century
as it does in the 20'th century.
They've written a few unpublished novels and placed several short
stories in anthologies. He is also a proud member of SFWA.
Unidentified Funny Objects 7
As Told by Things
You're Not From Around Here, Are You?
Link to Editomat, an editing tool created by C. Flynt.
I Write, I Edit, I Write Again. Witness!
We're Making Better Words, All of Them, Better Words.
I Write to Burn Off the Crazy.
A Good Day Writing is a Day Writing.
It Puts the Words on the Page or it Gets the Hose Again.
Just keep writing...just keep writing...writing, writing, writing!
Writing is Magic.
The First Rule of Write Club is You Talk About Write Club.
If You Aren't Writing, You Aren't a Writer.