Interview No. 45
Interview By: @NekoMika
The person who was interviewed today is a user that many know as a good story writer. He has also released a novel and is an ex-audio mod as well. Anyone who knows him knows that he is a regular of the audio and writing forum. He doesn't post often but when he does he usually has a lot to say that usually tends to answer questions with as much information as possible. The user being interviewed is none other than @WritersBlock!!
Q: How did you come to find Newgrounds and what made you choose the username that you did?
A: I'm in my fourth year on this site now. It feels like such a long time. I was in high school at the time, my brother and I still lived at home back then. He was a Newgrounds user and he was getting right into making games on Flash. Before I signed up for Newgrounds I was on a small music website posting lyrics to songs I'd written on acoustic guitar, and those guys there got me using FL studio. Once I started making music with FL studio, my brother approached me about making music for his games. He put me onto Newgrounds, where I primarily focused on music for a while and got to know the audio community pretty well. My brother and I didn't really do many games, and only one really made it up to Newgrounds that was all his programming/art and my music.
Q: I see you used to be an audio mod? How was that experience and if you could be one again would you take up the job?
A: Yeah, it was at a time where I was really into the audio community. I was making a lot of music, learning a lot of tips and tricks from some of the amazing guys there, and I was investing a lot of time into helping out with their monthly audio competitions and such. It was sort of a natural progression at the time. It was nice to have that extra bit of responsibility on the site, it makes you feel like you're making just that little bit more of a difference. I've got to commend the guys that are still doing it because at times, you really need to sink a lot of time into it, to keep everything running smoothly.
It was good, but on the same note, I don't think I could go back to it again. I was asked once, ages ago, and I seriously considered it, but I didn't end up chasing it all the way back to Wade. I figured I've moved on from that, and while the audio forum and the audio portal are great places, it's just not me any more. I still make music from time to time, but it's just for fun, it's not like I want to do videogame soundtracks or make a name for myself as a musician any more.
Q: How many novels have you created thus far or at leas tried to get published?
A: How many novels have I finished? One. How many novels have I started? I'm not entirely sure. Probably about a dozen in various stages of progress. How many have I tried to get published? None so far. The novels that I've started a few years ago don't mean anything to me now. They were training wheels. Same as my first completed novel. It just lacked an intensity and depth that I'd need for my writing to be gripping. That novel was written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2009, so, over the course of 30 days, that novel came into being. Since then I wrote 25,000 words towards another novel in July 2010 and 50,000 words towards another novel in November 2010 for my second NaNoWriMo. They're all practices in speed writing. When I actually finish my first novel to the extent that I'm willing to send it to a publisher, it'll take me a lot longer than 30 days, and a lot more tedious planning.
I'm hoping to have my first novella sent off to a little independent publisher sometime before the end of the year, but I haven't worked on the story in a long time, and it's currently in limbo only a couple of thousand words in.
Q: I see you have won a few flash awards through collaborations with other users. How did these experiences help you get better acquainted with users on Newgrounds?
A: I've got three awards from collaborations. One was from a flash contribution. One was from a story adaptation. And the other was from music contribution and a little game design.
I got into the flash collaboration because of some of the audio guys involved, and I just felt like messing around with flash and trying my hand at a bit of animation. The people I worked with were great, especially since they were far more skilled than I was.
The second collaboration, the script, that was a lot of fun. I'd met the animator through the previous collaboration, and he's a really talented guy. He does plenty of art, animation, music and writing, and when we talked about doing a halloween animation from one of my short stories I was really excited. We talked a lot throughout the project, even though my part was pretty much done, and it was pretty awesome that we were just about on the opposite sides of the planet.
The third collaboration was with a guy I've gotten to know quite well over my time on the site. It was pretty much a case of him spontaneously deciding to make a game and then talking about it while he's making it, running ideas past me, then asking for a bit of music.
It's great to be able to communicate with people from all over the place, to throw ideas around and make stuff happen and have a bit of fun while you're doing it.
Q: If someone is having trouble trying to write a short story, writing a novel, or has writer's block what advice do you have for them?
A: I've picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way. I think the most important thing is that you've got to be sure you WANT to write. If you're not getting any enjoyment out of it, there's not a lot of point in you doing it. But don't let that put a damper on your writing. If you want to write and feel like your writing has been feeling "uninspiring" lately, it's probably because it is. Maybe you keep dropping into a pitfall of cliches. Easy remedy: Don't let rules dictate what you write. Style, characterisation, plot, grammar, there are lots of things writers are and aren't supposed to do. Just figure out your own style. I find breaking codes and conventions often frees me up to express things in ways people don't normally express things.
Get right into the details. One way to beat the writer's block/defeat cliches is with details. Even if they're wildly unbelieveable, you're telling the story, you call the shots, and the last thing you want is to be too vague. Get right in there and make your mark. The more you do that, the more you'll establish your style and fall into a good rhythm. It could be with writing novels you want to nut out the skeleton of your plot, blast through a terrible draft and then work through, writing your style into it, or work bit by bit, or whatever, bottom line is, you've got to figure out what works for you. The more you write, the more you'll figure out about your writing patterns.
Q: How has your time on Newgrounds been?
A: Great. I mean, I've mostly spent my time in the audio and writing communities and I've got to know a lot of great people. At the moment, I am focussing on making connections with local writers and professional writers, but I wouldn't have any of that if I hadn't started out here. It's a great place to develop your skills.
Q: I see you have also written a lot of audio pieces. How do you get ideas for making good songs like those?
A: You're better off talking to the guys in the audio forum. I don't have a method. I just pull up all my little audio toys and play around. There is a lot better music in the portal, there's really no shortage of talent there.
Q: I see you enjoy the writing forum a lot. Do you enjoy most of the short stories and other posts you read there?
A: I don't spend a lot of time browsing the forum as of late, but when I was reading through all the stuff for the competition, a few names always rose to the top, like RapeMuffin, AdamCook, Coop and GumOnShoe, just to name a few. There were a few talented writers on the forums before that that just didn't really come over to the Writing Forum or didn't stay active on here. I'm interested in seeing how things turn out when the writing portal rears its head.
Q: I see you have come along with posting since you first posted on page 220 of Audio Advertisements. How has your experience on Newgrounds been since that day 4 years ago?
A: A lot has changed. I graduated high school. I took a gap year, started writing, went to uni, and I'm in my third year of creative writing now. I think I've come a long way from where I was to where I want to be. I'm trying to get a little 28 page zine stocked at zine tables at local poetry events so I can start selling my writing, so even though I'm not on here nearly as much as I used to be, it's still a great resource for creative work, feedback and collaboration. And I think to a point, it's an even better resource now becuase it keeps growing and adapting and accomodating for a wider variety of creative processes.