Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Greggerguy.
With reference to your profile pic and your recurring character, Dogboy, tell us about your affinity for dogs.
Since dogs are seen as loyal and protective, I figured a human-dog character would be a good choice for a superhero. I also thought it’d been funny to have a superhero that needed glasses (since dogs can’t see all that well) and ate a lot. Also, even though dogs are domesticated, they still came from wolves and they can act like it at times; they’re still animals (like humans). I thought this “inner demon” would play out well for a superhero too. And finally, they are pack animals. When they work together, they can take down serious threats and get a lot accomplished. I figured that was a good lesson for another social animal *cough* humans *cough* to learn.
Plus, I just like dogs.
I see in your bio that you are studying digital animation. Are you preparing any of your stories as an animated project?
One day I’d like to turn a story into an animated project, but for now, the animations are mostly short videos used for advertisements. It takes a loooong time to animate something and can be very frustrating. I’m amazed at people who can do it for a living…and do it regularly.
What are some of your favorite (most influential) books and authors?
I’d have to start with the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol; it was the series that got me interested in reading. I enjoyed the short chapters which made it easy to read on the bus or during free time. I tried that at first—having a series of anthology adventures that people could read quickly so they didn’t have to wait for school to get out to see how it ended. I’m hoping to get back to that format someday.
I have to say that the books by Dean Koontz also helped. They were my first non series books. Before these the books I read were like Animorphs or Wishbone. The Koontz books were the first time I found an author I enjoyed and not a series. The dry humor and thriller-action make them hard to put down once I start reading. For a while, he hinted at his books being all part of one universe and that got me interested in trying the same.
In your opinion, what are the elements of a good story?
A good variation in mood is one element. If you have a thriller story, you still want to have some moments of humor. Just like when you’re speaking, you use fluctuation so that you don’t sound monotone. If you have action all the time, the reader has nothing to compare the events to. For instance, you can’t tell a happy moment if you’ve never had a sad moment…it’s just a moment.
If you’re going to do a plot twist at some point, you better have hinted at it before it happened. You also want to have good characters; you want to feel for them (even the antagonist if that is your goal). And of course, spelling and grammar.
Word choice and sentence structure is another important element. You don’t want to have long, winding sentences if you are writing a scene where an ax murderer is going after a group of campers.
How has your writing style evolved over the years?
Hopefully, it’s gotten better. Yeah…I’m sure it has. I’ve looked at some of my writing back in first grade and…ehhh…cringe.
I’ve also improved on my action writing after doing the Wattpad “Write to Rank” contest. It really got me to focus on action. Like the instructor for an art class I’m taking says, “If you’re bad at drawing a circle, you sit there and draw circle after circle. Eventually, you’ll get it right.”
As for the whole “masterpiece” idea, I follow what they taught us in journalism school: you’re only as good as your next story. While the idea for journalism was mainly meant to mean once your article is published it becomes “old news” and therefore uninteresting (and also tells you to watch your ego), it can also mean that each story should be your “masterpiece,” that you are constantly trying to improve.
Thanks again Greggerguy for doing this interview. The questions were well thought out and showed that you researched your subject.