Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Michael Snyder--Part 2

And now, back by popular demand. Heeeeere's Michael!

5. Your story is decidedly different and is targeted toward the 18-34-year-old audience. Do you see more opportunities for this kind of fiction coming in CBA?

I sure hope so. I love to read Nick Hornby, Douglas Coupland, Richard Russo, Mark Haddon, Lisa Samson, as well as a few old dead guys and gals. I’m a big fan of outstanding movies and pretty much any great art that mixes pathos and humor.

Love him or hate him, there’s a reason that Christians devour Donald Miller’s work. He’s like the CBA version of Dave Eggers. I believe (and have no proof to back it up, other than just talking to folks) that if we write in ways that are relevant to X’ers or Y’ers or whatever they’re called these days, they will buy and read and talk about our books.

Disclaimer: I’m not claiming I’ve attained this lofty goal, nor am I comparing to myself to the aforementioned geniuses. I believe the technical term for what I’m doing is ‘shooting off at the mouth.’ Nor am I saying that everyone should write for the pomo crowd. Just don’t be afraid to if/when inspiration strikes.

6. There are two very different opinions as to how to first get published. One side takes more of the artist's approach--write your passion, perfect your craft and then see where you can place the manuscript. The other side takes more of a business approach--perfect your craft through writing what sells easier at first, even if you want to move into something different later. What's your opinion about these views?

Aha! My favorite question (Other than ‘where do babies come from?’ and ‘Does this hurt?’).

First, some background. I’m not very smart. That’s why I don’t write suspense … too many details to keep up with. Second, I like to study craft, not markets and trends and all that. That’s what my day job is for.

So my opinion is always to write what moves you. If it makes you laugh or cry or squirm or ponder, write that. If it makes you mad or sad or causes an impish grin to invade your face, write that. If it moves you AND fits into a recognized genre, so much the better for you!

Life is too short, my kids are too young, and the odds too long for me to sit and calculate what I think someone else wants to read. The question for me always comes down to what interests me. What moves me or amuses me. (Sorry, don’t mean to make it all about me.)

I have some great friends who write great fiction that fits neatly into the established genres. They have bigger brains than me and that’s okay. They can figure things out, make concrete plans, and actually see the plans to fruition. It’s like magic to me. I don’t get it.

I’m not ready to dub myself an artist just yet. But I aspire to artistry. It would be very cool to write fiction that changes people.

7. Now that you've sold two books and have the second one to write--are you scared? Are the looming deadlines overwhelming? How is the contract affecting the way in which you approach writing?

Um, well I wasn’t scared until you brought it up. Now I’m all atwitter. (Sorry, I always wanted to use that word in a sentence).

Actually, I’m not too worried … yet. I haven’t discovered any unused hours lying around. So I just try to maximize my schedule and get as much writing done as possible. Family has to come first, then the day job, then the writing.

I’m trying not to think about it too much, but I do believe the pressure will mount as the deadline for book 2 approaches.

But here’s a dirty little secret about the professional editing process … It’s fun.

I know everyone says they love their editor and that he/she is making it a better book. But in my case it’s true. He also sends me little reminders to eat lots of fruit and floss every night, which I think is a nice touch. The thrice-daily Zig Ziglar motivational podcasts have become a bit tedious however.

8. As someone who's just crossed the line into "sold" territory, what would you most like to say to those on the other side?

I’ve probably said too much already…

First off, try to relax. When I finally decided to write what I wanted to write, I had to acknowledge that no one would ever buy it.

Second, buy my books. Buy copies for your friends. Or your enemies. Or friends of your enemies. Or even your family and their pets. (I’m trying to learn this marketing thing.)

Most importantly, write a ton. Read more than you write. Write fearlessly. Have fun with it. Love what you do or do something else. God’s gonna do what He’s gonna do. So you may as well enjoy the ride.
Read Michael's blog, Gritty and Bright.


Kristy Dykes said...

Talking about Zig Ziglar, YOU've motivated me a lot this A.M. Thanks for the zeal and zest in your words. BTW, I love "atwitter." It's almost as good as "jettison." Thanks again. And thanks, B., for bringing this interview to us.

Jim Sanders said...

Great interview! It left me all atwitter, and ferklempt (one of my favorite words.) I don't have a big enough brain to write suspense either, so I appreciate the advice to write whatever moves you.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Bravo! Everyone* over here gave you a standing ovation, Mike. Several brushed away single shimmering tears, while others gazed thoughtfully toward the horizon, pondering such phrases as "write a ton" and "I'm not very smart" and "I don't get it." We were all deeply moved and will most likely take your advice and write novels about this interview.

Did you know I love the fact that I can mess with you, and you'll still be my friend? That's good. This really is a great interview. You're a natural.

Thanks, Brandilyn.

Love, Jeanne

*everyone = all my various selves

andy said...

eat fruit and floss.

your deadline approacheth.

Gina Holmes said...

Wow, Brandilyn, awesome questions. Mike, you always make me smile with your wit. Thrice daily Zig who motivational podcasts?

You gave great answers, Mike. Can't wait for that book!

Cheryl said...

Great interview! Thanks Mike and Brandilyn!

Elaina M. Avalos said... crack me up!

Mike . . . I'm inspired by what you've said here. Isn't that weird? Teasing. I love this line, "God’s gonna do what He’s gonna do. So you may as well enjoy the ride."

Thanks for posting the interview, Brandilyn. It was fun to read!

Ernie W. said...

Thanks Brandilyn and Michael for this two-part post. Walking in the path Michael took, it's encouraging and a boost of hope to continue writing and not quit. Michael, congratulations on the two-book contract.

Ernie Wenk

Michelle Pendergrass said...

If I buy Molly and Chuck copies, do they get autographs? Maybe a free jerky treat or something?

William G. said...

Wait... what about the hard questions? Like, did that pee pillow ever dry out????