- What’s your least favorite thing about writing?
The parts that aren’t writing – the outlining, the planning. I have a very oral sense of composition, loose and aloud. I recognize the need to build a plot and character lattices for my sentences and stories to curl around but it’s grunt work to me.
- Which author would you like to have a drink with (Dead or alive. Them, not you).
Philip K. Dick. He wrote flawed human people in crazed sad worlds. I have all his novels. I think. 42 of them, anyway, bought mostly in the early 1980s in the bookstores of several countries.
- Who is your favorite author that you don’t know personally? Who is your favorite author that you do know personally?
I am hugely impressed with author Jeff VanderMeer, as an artist – Annihilation blew me away – but also as an excellent writer on both creativity and career-planning.
My favorite author who I do know personally – who was in my wedding party – is Geoffrey Kabaservice, a pundit and historian best known for Rule and Ruin. https://www.amazon.com/Rule-Ruin-Moderation-Destruction-Development/dp/0199975515
- What about your discipline (fiction, poetry, etc) do you wish you were better at?
The downside of loose composition is that there’s a lot of editing. I would like to write fewer words in the first draft that I have to throw out later. At a panel, Holly Black said that this was “hacking your process” and that it was hard to do. She’s right.
- What kind of creative rituals or patterns do you have?
In first drafts, I can’t pick up where I left off or skip ahead. I have to look a couple pages back, make a couple fixes, pick up the feeling. I write better standing up. If I start looking at tech sites hoping gear will improve my productivity, there’s definitely writing that needs to be done. The trick is to get through that phase without actually buying any new gear.
Bonus question: how many weddings are you going to this year?
None, to the best of my knowledge. I’m 51 but with young children, so out of the main wedding zone.
Ah, the wedding zone is a thing, for better or worse.
Come out to Writers & Words next month, May 8th at 7pm at Charmington’s Cafe to hear Anthony and the rest of our fab lineup!
Anthony Dobranski writes fantasy and science-fiction novels with big ideas and personal stakes for untraditional characters, in crisp, stylized language. He grew up in the Washington DC area and lives in the city now. When not writing or reading, he likes odd movies, inventive theater, and skiing black-diamond bumps.