My name's Dave, and I'm thrilled to be the InsideADog Blogger in Reisdence for October. It'll be fun. Not sure entirely what we'll end up talking about, but I wanted to start with something that I live with everyday...
I'm a podcast junkie. I love music, but chances are if you see me walking down the street with my white ear buds in, I'm listening to people talking. Usually they're talking about video games, politics, or most importantly - creativity.
This is my final post for Inside A Dog, alas! It’s been fun. I really don’t blog too often anymore. Mostly because I’m too busy writing actual books these days. You’ll find me from time to time on Tumblr or Twitter, but that’s usually about it. Well, I’m supposed to be getting more active on Facebook, according to my editor, too. And of course there’s my “real” website jonskovron.com, but that’s mostly just news and events.
Just about every time I get up and talk about writing, someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas?” The question is both simple and hard, both important and completely pointless.
Ok. How it breaks down...
There is a thing called “Flow”. It can happen at any time, in any activity. Time seems to stop, distractions slip away. Whatever you are doing…it’s not that it gets easier, but it feels less hard. A weird distinction, I know, but that’s how I experience it. There is a sort of “lack of effort” that happens. It just comes. It has other names, of course. Actors often refer to it as being “in the moment”. Athletes often call it being “in the zone”. Whatever you want to call it, I call it one of the best feelings in the world.
Today is my birthday and I’m feeling a bit sentimental, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I write something more personal. One of my favorite things about being born on September 22nd is that I share a birthday with Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, famously said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I like the sentiment, and Nietzsche had a knack for catchy soundbites. But I think he’s leaving out something really important: choice.
There’s that old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I’m not sure I can get behind that completely. After all, I can do a lot with a thousand words. But I will say that as far as note-taking goes, images are an important part of my process.
I’m not generally a superstitious person, but too many times I have had the experience of stumbling across the right book at the right time for me to completely discount the phenomenon. Books find you. And when they do, something goes off inside you, a feeling of recognition. These books ring a bell.
My novels Man Made Boy and This Broken Wondrous World use monsters from classic literature. The protagonist is Boy, the teenage son of Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of Frankenstein’s Monster. He was in Sesame Street, after all.
I also watched the old black and white James Whale movies now and then on TV for the Sunday afternoon double feature. I even had a little playset that included Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and the Wolfman.
There are many authors who will disagree with me on the idea that tools matter. “Oh, I just use Word for everything. Sure, I know it’s not really designed to handle novel-length manuscripts, and yes, it does start to choke once you get past the eighty thousand word mark, and well I suppose it does tend to crash unexpectedly and lose hours of work now and then. But it’s what I know.”