Saturday 5 October 2013

Author Interview – Michael Dismuke

What’s your greatest character strength?

One of my top attributes would be my ability to evaluate situations and problems from all angles. I try to keep an open mind and calculate the variables to form a bigger picture and understanding. I tend to see the good and bad in many things which can make decision making tough at times, but it allows me to see deeper into any given situation and to form a better understanding beyond what was presented. This ability allows me to better solve complex problems and topics.

Why do you write?

I write because I love to create things, situations, and to evoke feelings in others through story telling. Ever since I was a child I dreamt of new and different worlds and tried to recreate them through whatever means available to me at the time. No matter if I was drawing, programming, or creating games, it always began with writing. No matter the medium I used, it enabled me to take an idea and share it with others to enjoy. I believe all of us, at heart, have big ideas tucked away inside of us. We just express them differently. Some calculate while others paint. Some build while others sing. My gift was creating worlds. Writing was my escape, and my way of sharing.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Colorado and still reside there today and love it. I highly doubt that I will ever live outside of the state, but I won’t make any promises. Most of my writing has, in some way, been inspired by my surroundings. Colorado has mountains, lakes, rivers, sand dunes, swaying grasslands and vast plains. Geographically it is a great location to use for writing. There is so much more, but I couldn’t even begin to say all the wonderful things here that have inspired me. My first novel takes place in the plains while my second novel begins in the mountains. I have short stories based out of Denver and future stories each with ties back to Colorado. It is what I know, and for whatever reason, I feel safe writing about it.

How did you develop your writing?

I started programing games, text based games, on the computer at a very young age. They basically were interactive stories similar to pick-your-path books. That was my first attempt at writing; however I began creating worlds at a much younger age. I drew maps, landscapes, monsters, and made up stories to go along with it. They were truly interactive worlds which is probably why I attempted to program them later on. In my twenties I began writing massive campaigns about vampires for Raven Loft. They took me months to build starting with the region then moving on to creating a dynamic environment filled with towns and people – each with their own story. It was an amazing feat for me, and to share it with others was even better. It wasn’t until my early thirties when I decided to switch gears and turn my stories into novels instead. That is when I began work on The Necro Device.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I prefer to write in Present Tense and to lead with action. When I began work on my first novel I was struggling with it quite a bit. It wasn’t until my English Professor pointed out my faults when I was able to zero in on the past/present tense conflicts I was having. I was trying to tell the story in the present but was writing it in the past/present. It was awkward to say the least, but I rewrote the entire story in present tense without the conflicts which really helped me sharpen my writing skills. By the time I began work on INVASION it had become second nature to me. I was able to explore more and even ended up re-inventing it so that it worked best for me, but first, I had to force myself to break out of the mold. I realized that chapter style writing alone was the single biggest restraint holding me and the story back, so I removed it. I replaced chapters with events and something magical happened. It allowed me to be free for the first time. The world became dynamic. I could reveal information from multiple resources, deepening the story – it was limitless. The story was no longer just a ride, it was an experience. No more did I have to write in the now. No more did I have to follow this narrow, strict, one-way path from beginning to end. It opened so many doors that I’m still overwhelmed by the format. It has so much potential that I can’t wait to explore it further and push it to its limits.

Could you tell us a bit about event writing used in Invasion?

Sure, but let me point out the key difference. The traditional chapter style way of writing tells a story sequentially from beginning to end – much like programming was back in the last century. Basically, information is read in order, building on the previous, until reaching the end. Events, however, are similar to programming in today’s world. Each event contains sections or packets of information that combine together to create a story. Each event follows the same structure by combining information and building on it. This method of storytelling creates a dynamic atmosphere because the source of information is always changing. For instance, an individual event may contain three sections. The source of information contained within each section will be different. Some of the information may come from short stories, but a lot of it may come from documents, recordings, or even raw data. One section may contain the main storyline while another section tells a completely different story which reinforces, builds, and completes the other. For present tense writers this concept is limitless because it allows the story to break the sequential mold.


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Genre – SciFi Horror

Rating – PG-13

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