Thanks to the multitalented Landon Godfrey for inviting me to participate in a blog tour to answer a few questions about my writing process. So Cal misses your many talents, Landon!
– Martin Ott
1) What are you working on?
I tend to work in multiple genres and I enjoy collaboration with other writers and artists.
- A coming of age novel about a returning vet
- A short story collection based in LA
- A poetry book that is forcing me to explore what matters in my life
- Editing a young adult novel that hasn’t quite found its final form
- Assisting a writer/director and agency in developing my novel The Interrogator’s Notebook into a TV pilot
- Working on my third book with poet John F. Buckley on the subject of superheroes and super villains
- Assisting a writer/director/producer in developing “Summer Snows” from my short story manuscript Thaw vs. Thor into a short film
- Developing a TV pilot with my long-time screenwriting partner Keith Kowalczyk
2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
This is a difficult question as I work in multiple genres and my influences span beyond literature. Writers aren’t as unique as we’d like to think and each of us has a voice that we don’t probably give ourselves enough credit for.
Don’t dodge the question, Martin, an internal voice is now telling me. OK. Fair enough. Here goes:
- My fiction projects tend to be lyrical and musky with a focus on placing the spotlight on difficult characters.
- My poetry is influenced by my fiction and my lyrical sensibilities duke it out with a neurotic need for narrative. It’s a worthy battle and occasionally a good poem emerges from it.
- My sense of humor comes out more often in my writing for screen and television, often to my own detriment.
3) Why do you write what you do?
Characters and their stories clamor for attention in my imagination. I have always been a daydreamer and inventor of tales, even to myself. The characters who yell the loudest and the longest get written. It’s a messy process, filled with conflict even at the point of inception.
4) How does your writing process work?
For starters, part of my writing process involves being a bit of a crank and a recluse, and to not get distracted by the many things that tempt all of us humans. For me, that’s meant shelving a few things like cable TV and fantasy sports in order to write. I carve out time between family, friends, and a marketing career.
I’ve come to realize that inspiration is everywhere, including in my other creative work. I find ideas in day-to-day occurrences, the news, and the stories of the people in my life.
As a late bloomer, persistence is key. Also, I don’t know how to not write. For me, it isn’t a choice. I try to write a little every day. It adds up.
Who’s Next up on the Blog Tour?
Follow the blog tour on Twitter at #mywritingprocess . Next up is John F. Buckley, a friend who has become one of my favorite writers and a huge influence on my work.
A recent graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, John has been writing poetry since March 2009, when his attempt at writing a self-help book went somewhat awry. After a twenty-year stint on and near the West Coast, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife. His publications include 295 poems, two chapbooks, the collection Sky Sandwiches, and with Martin Ott, Poets’ Guide to America and the forthcoming Yankee Broadcast Network. His website is http://johnfrancisbuckley.wordpress.com.