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Chat with Brett Savory of Chizine
The other night I had the pleasure of participating in a chat with writer/ editor Brett Savory. Brett was funny, very smart, and an all around nice guy. In the chat, he talks about writers he admires, breaking the rules, and the secret to getting into Chizine. He also gave me permission to post whatever I wanted from the chat right here on my blog, soooo here goes:

ELWilliams.u says (01:57): First off let me introduce our guest

ELWilliams.u says (01:57): Brett Savory is something of a renaissance man. Not only does he have two novels and one collection of short stories published, but he also works as senior editor for Scholastic Canada, is Editor-in-Chief at ChiZine (for which he won a Stoker in 2000), is the publisher of ChiZine Publications and drums for the hard rock band Diablo Red. His short story “Messages” was included in the 2007 edition of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. He currently has three novels in the works: Running Beneath the

brettsavory.u says to (01:57): Skin?

ELWilliams.u says (01:57): It appears to have cut me off

ELWilliams.u says (01:57): A length limit I guess

ELWilliams.u says (01:58): Hold on

ELWilliams.u says (01:58): Running Beneath the Skin, Bottom Drawer, and The Soul Projectionists. He lives in Canada, so he’s agreed to only use small words and type slowly for our benefit.

ELWilliams.u says (01:58): Sorry

brettsavory.u says to (01:58): Ha! I dig the last part. :-)

ELWilliams.u says (01:58): Thank Kurt

JohnMantooth.u says to (01:58): welcome to snutch, Brett

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (01:59): Thanks for coming, Brett. Feel free to swear, drink, shoot up, or leave when you want.

brettsavory.u says to (01:59): Danke, folks! Nice to be here. Thanks very much for asking and inflating my ego. It needs that every once in a while.

ELWilliams.u says (01:59): Since Kurt won that Chizine contest, he's going to start us off with a question or two

brettsavory.u says to (01:59): Kurt: Can I do all those at once? Killer.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (01:59): I’m assuming from your publishing history of over 50 short stories published that you began with smaller pieces before moving on to novels. As all of us are moving in that direction, would you give us some idea of that transition from short stories to novels? When did you decide you were ready? Were there other novels before In and Down? From your experience, what advice would you give to those of us who are beginning or about to begin the novel writing process?

brettsavory.u says to (02:02): Yeah, I started with shorties, then moved to a novelette (the original incarnation of THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED, which was about 15K), then finally went to my first novel, which was IN AND DOWN. It was 86K, but i chopped it down to about 73K by the time it was published. I'm a fan of brief novels.

brettsavory.u says to (02:03): Then I did the full-length version of THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED, which was about 80K. Oh, wait, sorry, got my Ks mixed up. IAD was 62K when I was finished with it, I think! It was originally about 78K.

brettsavory.u says to (02:03): Anyway, did some more shorties in between the novels, but yeah, definitely had to gain confidence to work up to the longer legnths.

brettsavory.u says to (02:04): As for advice?

brettsavory.u says to (02:05): I'd say to wait till you have an idea that will genuinely fill a novel-length work, rather than trying to pad something out to be bigger than it shoold be. The reader can always tell. If you don't have your novel idea, wait for it. Oh, and make sure it's an idea that you're going to stay interested in for draft after draft after draft after draft. . . .

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:06): How many drafts do you usually suffer through?

brettsavory.u says to (02:07): Depends, but both my novels so far, I'd say they went through around 6 or 7 drafts, all told. That's including once an editor gets their hands on them.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:07): that's a little daunting

brettsavory.u says to (02:07): Some people might do less, but I'm an editor by profession, so I'm a stickler. Cut, cut, cut!!

brettsavory.u says to (02:08): That's the other thing. Cut ruthlessly. And say what you need to in as few words as possible. Trim the fat, even when you don't think it's fat. At least for me, I love skinny books that don't fuck around with window dressing.

petralee.u says to (02:09): I have a follow up question to that.

ELWilliams.u says (02:09): Go ahead, Petra.

brettsavory.u says to (02:09): Yeah, shoot, Petra.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:10): I think Petra must be asking her question aloud instead of typing it

kdespins.u says to (02:11): she's speaking to the chat again?

petralee.u says to (02:11): Brett, as far as your advice for waiting until you have a novel-lenght idea goes, I have to say that I found myself running into that same situation myself. My question is have you ever found yourself halfway through a novel, you have your novel length idea, but it's not holding you the way it should.?

petralee.u says to (02:11): You have the whole idea, but it's just not keeping you interested.

brettsavory.u says to (02:13): Luckily, I havcen't had that happen yet, but I've only done two books. I have three more on the go and I still am really interested in them, so I guess I'm fortunate. I know of other writers who've had that happen, though. Probably sucks balls.

kdespins.u says to (02:17): Some writers start with a character. Some start with a situation. Some anal writers outline the whole thing before writing a single word. What’s your process for writing a story?

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:18): I'm sorry, but did Kim just say anal? I'll be leaving the chat now.

kdespins.u says to (02:18): ha!

kdespins.u says to (02:18): I did have you in mind, Kurt...

brettsavory.u says to (02:19): Ha! I spit on those anal writers! I mean, "I don't do things that way." Ahem. What I mean to say is, I'm one of those guys who gets the inkling of an idea, possibly one line, then I start writing a story. I write line to line. Can'

brettsavory.u says to (02:19): t abide that outline shit. The only time I do that is when I'm trying to sell it on a partial, so my three new ones have outlines, but I fully intend to stray from said outlines once they get bought, which I'm obviously hoping for. Heh.
brettsavory.u says to (02:20): DISTANCE and IAD, though: No outline. Just wrote the fuckers, LIKE A MAN.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:20): LOL

kdespins.u says to (02:20): If only we all wrote like men...

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:20): I'm such an outlining pussy.

brettsavory.u says to (02:20): I go back, though, and massage shit when I'm done and even whilst I'm writing them.

brettsavory.u says to (02:21): Short stories, though, even more so. I just dive right in. That's why a lot of my shit ends ambiguously. People think it's artsy, but I've actually just fucked myself in the narrative.

petralee.u says to (02:24): You've stated that your style of writing is to edit as you go - I've always knee-jerk to that but have to try hard to just finish it first. many writers swear on keeping the editor away while the writer's at play, so to speak. does it just depend on the writer and how best he/she works?

brettsavory.u says to (02:26): Definitely writer-dependent. Those without confidence just batter a pile of shit onto the page, then go back and fuck with it; those with MANLY SOULS edit as they go, fully aware of their narrative and in total control of their shit. Even when they don't know where their shit is headed.

brettsavory.u says to (02:26): *laughs* Manly souls. That's good.

petralee.u says to (02:27): see that';s me!! Not manly, but controlled!!!

brettsavory.u says to (02:27): I can't stand just leaving crap on the page. It goes against every instinct I have.

petralee.u says to (02:27): Yeah, I agree...the cringe factor!

brettsavory.u says to (02:27): Must edit while I write. Must edit while I write.

brettsavory.u says to (02:28): Also: when you go back and try to figure out all teh crap that just spilled out of your head, isn't it a bitch to trying to figure out what the fuck you were trying to say in the first place? I would think so.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:28): Would you mind talking a little about breaking rules in fiction? I've heard the cliche (as I'm sure you have too) that you've got to master a rule to successfully break a rule. I bring this up because I noticed you are not afraid to break rules in your short fiction. Talk a little about how you know when to break the rules and when to follow them

petralee.u says to (02:28): YES! exactly.

brettsavory.u says to (02:30): I hate conventions, so I just try to write without it. I've read a decent amount in the genre, but not so much that I start copying other people's shit. That's one danger of following that axiom: Read everything you possibly can! Fuck that, read just enough so that you know what you're doing, then write with your OWN VOICE.

brettsavory.u says to (02:31): That's the most important thing, I think. As for breaking rules, fuck yeah, do that shit. Don't give me anice, tidy resolution. I don't want to have the standard love affair, the buddy relationship, the bullshit setting up and scenery crap. Just dump me into the story with your characters and let me figure shit out as though I was actually

brettsavory.u says to (02:31): THERE, experiencing the events with them, you know?

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:31): yeah. Makes a lot of sense.

brettsavory.u says to (02:31): I like stories with no discernible ending. I hate tidy wrap-ups.

ELWilliams.u says (02:32): Follow-ups?

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:32): Kurt is only speaking to me tonight

petralee.u says to (02:32): he's loving on John right now.

brettsavory.u says to (02:32): Kurt has a man-crush!

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:32): on Petra.

brettsavory.u says to (02:32): Oh, snap!

petralee.u says to (02:33): That's really not funny at all you bastards.

brettsavory.u says to (02:33): Hey, you guys are fun. I'm hanging out here all day from now on. Fuck writing and publishing!

ELWilliams.u says (02:34): Thanks, Brett. We are fun. Except Petra.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (02:34): Hola, all...if I disappear soon it's only cuz I passed two funnel clowds on the way in

brettsavory.u says to (02:34): What up, Sam? Do you have a man-crush on Mantooth, too?

petralee.u says to (02:34): ESPECIALLY PETRA

Sam W Anderson.u says to (02:34): who's petra?

petralee.u says to (02:34): I give up

brettsavory.u says to (02:34): Man, Petra sure takes a beating in here. She probably logs off and cries herself to sleep after these chat sessions, you heartless fucks.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:35): I hope you don't think I'm belaboring the point, but specifically a question we've discussed as a group is the pov switch. Everybody says it's a no-no and yet, authors pull it off all the time, especially in novels, but sometimes in short fiction too. Thoughts?

brettsavory.u says to (02:36): I'm no stickler for POV shifts. If it makes sense for the story and doesn't confuse the almighty fuck out of the reader, do it.

petralee.u says to (02:36): YES!

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:36): thanks, Brett. I'll let somebody else talk now

brettsavory.u says to (02:36): What will happen now is one of you will write a story with POV shifts, send it to ChiZine, and one of my editors will bounce your ass for it. Ha! Burn.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (02:37): YES

petralee.u says to (02:37): No, none of us write with pov shifts

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:37): yeah, because like anything else you've got to make it work

brettsavory.u says to (02:37): Exactly. Anyone read Stewart O'Nan's A PRAYER FOR THE DYING?

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:37): Yes

brettsavory.u says to (02:37): Second-person POV, but he rocks the FUCK out of it. Couldn't have been told in any other voice.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:37): Great book

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:38): I now have a man-crush on Brett for loving APFTDying

brettsavory.u says to (02:38): Also: Damn short. Another guy who kills. And who blurbed my work. Oh, sorry, did I drop that name? Here, let me pick it up.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:38): I'll check it out. I loved The Night Country

ELWilliams.u says (02:38): I guess it's my turn to ask a question. Brett, why do I keep getting rejected by Chizine?

ELWilliams.u says (02:38): Kidding

petralee.u says to (02:38): LOL!

ELWilliams.u says (02:38): A lot of people who write and edit seem to have a tough time balancing between the two and end up becoming one or the other. Has it been difficult for you to balance both? If so, what have you done to keep your sanity?

brettsavory.u says to (02:39): I'm currentlyu reading THE NIGHT COUNTRY. Check out all the fucking POV shifts in that novel!! Amazing. Tonnes of them, yet he kills it. In the right hands, it works.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:40): yeah, it is amazing. I'll go back and look at the POV again since it's been a few years. Thanks

brettsavory.u says to (02:41): I balance writing and editing—especially having started up CZP (—by doing mostly editing. Not as much writing, though I'm hoping to get back to it soon. As for keeping sane, I have a staff of millions. Or 16. Whichever comes first.

brettsavory.u says to (02:42): Sorry, 17. Kurt is a new book reviewer for me.

petralee.u says to (02:43): There seems to be the opinion of many people recently, that the future of publishing is moving away from print and into the world of web. Many people take that opinion and assume that because print publishing is moving in a downward spiral, so is publishing as a whole. I completely disagree with this, I think there are many fanatatics of the written page who would never let that happen. what are your thoughts on this?

brettsavory.u says to (02:45): I agree completely. Books will never die. You'll never get the people who love the tactile parts of reading to swicth to e-stuff. They might supplement with it, but books will never die. And reading, in general, whether e or print, will always be around, in some form or other. Might decline, might even become a small cult or something

brettsavory.u says to (02:45): but it will always survive, I think.

kdespins.u says to (02:46): So I should hang on to my bookshelves? Would you say the same about magazines?

brettsavory.u says to (02:46): You know who else kills short books? Chuck Palahniuk. I want to have his babies.

petralee.u says to (02:46): Yes, I agree as well. I just keep thinking of Farenheit 451 whenever I think about the state of affairs. And brett - I don't think you can....

petralee.u says to (02:46): At least with Chuck

brettsavory.u says to (02:46): I think magazines might eventually die out. They hold no real attraction for me. Too glossy. I love matte. MATTE. MATTE. Just the word gives me a boner.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:51): Brett, could you please explain to us how the Chizine slush works? Do you have a team of editors? Do you have the final say? And what about the major house that wants to buy IN AND DOWN?

brettsavory.u says to (02:51): My agent doesn't want me to kill them all in their sleep, but I told her I'd only need to kill a COUPLE and they'd pay attention.

brettsavory.u says to (02:52): Okay, ChiZine . . .

brettsavory.u says to (02:54): Submissions come in, I get them, then I dole them out to Hannah Bowen, Mike Marano, and Paul Tremblay. They read them, then they pass up to me the ones they think merit a look. I read those ones, then, if I agree, I keep them in a maybe pile. At the end of the reading period . . .

brettsavory.u says to (02:54): I go through the maybe pile and pick the best 10,000 words. Sometimes I buy multiple issues at once if it's really a banner reading period.

brettsavory.u says to (02:55): Sorry, fell back into 2006 there. Not Paul anymore! Now it's Gord Zajac.

brettsavory.u says to (02:55): Paul is all fancy and scoring book deals with Henry Holt and such. What a dick!! ;-)

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:56): Don't try to cover up, man. We know he paid you to win the fucking contest this year. Fess up!

brettsavory.u says to (02:56): Our rejection rate is something like 98%, and it's in Duotropes top 5 toughest markets to crack.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (02:56): then what did you do to win last year?

brettsavory.u says to (02:57): Dude is crazy good. It was totally anonymous. Honest! But I have to say I'm pretty proud of him. He did it in 2002, as well, and that's when I hired him to be a fiction editor, which he was for about four years.

brettsavory.u says to (02:57): Fucker can WRITE like a son of a bitch. Can't wait for his Holt novel THE LITTLE SLEEP.
Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (02:57): Paul is crazy good, and a good guy. And it's obvious you have a man-crush on him.

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:57): I've got a question about Chizine. In the guidelines, you are deliciously brief: dark and well written, I think they read. I've been rejected (ahem) many times over the years, and I think I've noticed a trend. (I am also basing this on the stories I've read at Chizine)

JohnMantooth.u says to (02:58): Maybe you can confirm it for me or tell me I'm full of shit, but I think implicit in the term "dark" is the idea that the stories should have a supernatural or slipstream element. In other words, should I hold off on submitting my dark southern noir tale or give you a try? Thanks.

brettsavory.u says to (02:58): He's 6' 4" of pure manliness.

brettsavory.u says to (02:59): No, don't hold off on trying us with anything dark and well-written. There's no conscious trend on my part to only select supernatural or slipstreamed submissions. I always like seeing your manly teeth drop into my inbox, brother. Keep 'em coming! A guy who finally cracked us . . .

brettsavory.u says to (03:01): is Jeremy Shipp. He submitted to us for years and years, then finally one day, he sent me a fucking cracker of a story, and I couldn't believe it was the same guy.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:01): "Camp", right? Great story.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:01): Okay, thanks Brett. I'm sure i'll send something fairly soon.

petralee.u says to (03:01): Jeremy Shipp? I read that! Was a great story!

brettsavory.u says to (03:02): You know who else submitted to us about 7 times and never sold us anything? The ubiquitous Brian Keene. We joke about it on panels together sometimes. No matter how many hits he'd bring to ChiZine, Keene just doesn't write ChiZIne stories. And he knows it.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:02): I apologize if I repeat anything...I have no access to the history. I did have several questions, but farmed them out to some of the others in the group when I thought I wasn't going to make if you got a really great question, just assume it was from me...

petralee.u says to (03:02): Now that's funny!

kdespins.u says to (03:03): ask the one you farmed to me; that hasn't come up yet

brettsavory.u says to (03:03): They've all been shit! *laughs* Kidding.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:03): I can see the Keene thing. Totally

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:03): But, I am curious what exactly the tie-in is between Leisure and ChiZine

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:03): they must not have used my questions

ELWilliams.u says (03:03): Not this one.

brettsavory.u says to (03:04): Yeah, with ChiZine, in general, there needs to be a literary flavour to it. Not always, but nearly always. And go for weird/surreal and with resonance. Don't explain everything to me. I hate that most.

brettsavory.u says to (03:04): Okay, Leisure. . .

petralee.u says to (03:05): I feel like an ass saying this -

brettsavory.u says to (03:05): I was sick of hunting down and selling banner ads to small presses to pay 1 cent per word, so I got the idea to hit up Don at Leisure. The same year we won the Stoker, we got the sponsorship (but it was before the win, so Don wasn't swayed by that) . . .

petralee.u says to (03:06): but I really need to go. I am just got a call from home. Brett, it was so GREAT chatting with you! Thanks for all of your insight into writing/editing. And I hope we get to hear from you again!

brettsavory.u says to (03:06): Basically, they have zero editorial control, but we make them banner ads to run on our site and they send me cheques to pay the writer. Simple arrangement. And one we've had for over 7 years now. We barely have anything in common, regarding content, but we both publish "dark" stories, so that's the connections.

petralee.u says to (03:06): Sorry for jumping in.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:07): bye, Petra. And congrats again

brettsavory.u says to (03:07): Good to e-meet you, Perta! Send me an email once you're done DISTANCE! Cheers!

brettsavory.u says to (03:07): Not Perta.

petralee.u says to (03:07): Thanks John! Thanks everyone. Sorry to leave so abrubtly. And I'll send you an email as soon as I finish it!

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:07): Yes, congrats again Petra. We love you and you suck.

kdespins.u says to (03:08): Can you settle an argument among us? Is it pronounced Chee-zine or Chai-zine? Yes, the winners will taunt the losers.

brettsavory.u says to (03:09): Chee-zeen.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:09): NOOOO!

ELWilliams.u says (03:09): YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kdespins.u says to (03:09): ha! I was right!

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:09): Remove my story from your site!

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:09): FUCK.

kdespins.u says to (03:09): Sorry Kurt Deeenan

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:09): HA!

ELWilliams.u says (03:09): We had an hour long debate about this at WHC. Shit you not.

brettsavory.u says to (03:09): Technically, it should be Kee-zeen, it's true, but it just sounds weird.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:09): Yeah, I'm not submitting anymore

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:09): we're intellectuals

kdespins.u says to (03:09): so it's italian?

brettsavory.u says to (03:10): Chiaroscuro. Kee-ar-oh-skyoo-oh.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:10): Hell, I can't even pronounce Chiaruousosuosus or whatever that damn word is. My art teacher friend tutored me and I still couldn't do it.

ELWilliams.u says (03:10): I've finally beat Kurt at something.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:10): I actually have one more question, if I may... but only if somebody else doesn't have something, as i've already asked a lot

brettsavory.u says to (03:11): Yep, Italian. Named after the painting style made famous by Caravaggio.

kdespins.u says to (03:11):
I have one Sam question after John, unless Sam wants to ask it.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:11): It sounds better coming from you

brettsavory.u says to (03:11): Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-zeeeeeeeeeeen. Don't mind me, just entertaining myself.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:11): On the HWA message boards , I have seen many of the pros denouncing markets that do not pay professional rates. How do you feel about this? More to the point, are there any magazines out there that you feel merit a submission simply because of the quality and the content of the magazine? And if so, which ones? Thanks.

kdespins.u says to (03:11): I'll try to use an accent then

brettsavory.u says to (03:12): Oh, and Peter Crowther came up with the name. Damn, there goes another name dropped on the floor. . . . Can someone pick those up for me after I leave? Thanks.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:13): Only if I can use them later

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:13): I'll wash them first

brettsavory.u says to (03:14): I'm in that elitist camp that thinks you should get fucking paid. Then again, paying 7 cents a word, I can be in that camp somewhat comfortably. A very few 'zines can pull off the "prestige" thing. Maybe Lady Churchill's and a few others, but not many at all. I think when you're starting out, sure, sell your shit for beans to build confidence

brettsavory.u says to (03:14): but then start building up to getting actual money. The better markets pay the dough.

kdespins.u says to (03:15): You most likely see a lot of really good stories that you reject in favor of the professional-level stories you publish in ChiZine. In general, what do you feel is the most common difference between a really good story and a professional story? Any dos and don'ts for making a story more in the professional vein?

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:15): Good question, Kim.

ELWilliams.u says (03:15): Or Sam

kdespins.u says to (03:15): Sam

brettsavory.u says to (03:17): I can only speak for ChiZine and my own tastes, but I would say don't do a bunch of character-development at the start of your story. Start with action. Always dump the reader in head-first, and THEN pull back and start peeling away the mystery like an onion. Don't over-explain shit. Don't try to impress with flowery language. Some

brettsavory.u says to (03:19): nice turns of phrase won't go unnoticed and tend to elevate the piece, but laying on the purple prose will make me snore. FUCKING SNORE, YA HEAR ME? Be subtle or harsh, as needed, not just becvause that's your "style" or some shit. Show dynamics in writing, in sentence structure. Develop an ear for true dialogue. Keep it

brettsavory.u says to (03:20): sparse. Make people talk how they would REALLY talk in a given situation. And resonance. Leave enough unexplained at the end of the story that I'm left thinking about it for days afterward. A tall order, but that's what's needed.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:20): Great answer, Brett.

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:21): That's a question I've emailed countless "pros" before, and that is the best answer I've read.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:21): That must have been a great question

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:21): So you've got that going for you.

brettsavory.u says to (03:21): Cool, man, thanks. :-)

ELWilliams.u says (03:22): Well, if no one else has anything...Brett, is there anything you want to talk about, throw out there, rant over?

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:23): Yeah, Brett, feel free to pimp yourself as much as you'd like.

brettsavory.u says to (03:24): OK, well you can go to and learn all kinds of shit about me and my work. Do it, but many things. Buy the CZP titles!

brettsavory.u says to (03:25): Okay, sorry, Kurt, um, yeah, there're a couple of comic book things kind of in the works, but nothing close to completion.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:26): I've got a follow up to that then

brettsavory.u says to (03:26): One is an adaptation of DISTANCE with Homeros Gilani. The other is an adaptation of "The Time Between Lights" from my collection. That one's with Eric Orchard. Great artist from out east here in Canada.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:27): How do you even get started in comic books...I've kind of got this world-building thing going on right now that I think would be even better that way...Although apparently ChiZine didn't think so much of it as one of the stories from it didn't even crack the top fifteen in the contest

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:27): But my analyst is making a killing off that, so somebody's happy

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:28): do you sense the bitterness here, Brett? lol

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:28): Sam's on pain meds

kdespins.u says to (03:28): he's sensitive, I tell you

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:28): he's got mommy parts

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:28): and old...I'm entitled to be bitter...and keep of my fucking lawn

ELWilliams.u says (03:28): off?

ELWilliams.u says (03:30): follow-up?

brettsavory.u says to (03:30): I got yer follow-up right here, Williams!

ELWilliams.u says (03:30): That's what he said.
ELWilliams.u says (03:31): Well, this seems to have fizzled out

ELWilliams.u says (03:31): anything

ELWilliams.u says (03:31): anyone

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:31): I'm good.

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:31): I really can't read any of this through the tears anymore

kdespins.u says to (03:31): fizzled or not, I thought it was superb

ELWilliams.u says (03:31): Oh, it was great

ELWilliams.u says (03:31): And I like seeing Sam cry

Kurt Dinan1.shocklinesforum says to (03:31): Great job, Brett. I doubt any of our other chats will be this loose

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:31): I appreciate the time and openness, Brett

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:32): Kim likes making Sam cry

kdespins.u says to (03:32): it's just so easy

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:32): Thanks for answering our questions

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:32): Thank you Brett...I apologize for being late

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:32): and putting up with out antics

Sam W Anderson.u says to (03:32): that's what he said

kdespins.u says to (03:32): Thanks for all the thoughtful answers

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:32): our

ELWilliams.u says (03:32): Thanks Brett.

ELWilliams.u says (03:32): Oh, and if you want to come back for the Ramsey Campbell chat, let us know.

brettsavory.u says to (03:33): Cheers, all. Thanks for having me, and I hope you and your significant others can all deal with the man-crushes you've developed over the past hour or so. Oo! Yes, I want to come for the Campbell chat. I want to see Ramsey type like Ozzy.

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:33): And one more question. Would you mind if I posted some excerpts from this on my blog?

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:33): If you'd rather me not, I understand

JohnMantooth.u says to (03:34): as it was kind of wild and wooly in here

brettsavory.u says to (03:34): Have at 'er, man. No problem. I have nothing to hide.

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John - Wow, what a great chat. Brett was wonderful and forthcoming with you guys. Thanks so much for posting the transcript.

Hugs from CT,

PS - You've been bloggethed (blogger, LJ, MySpace). :D

Great chat. Thanks for posting. Though Brett and I might have to have a throw down about the "reading enough" bit.

Don't read too much! It's bad for your voice! Well, okay, maybe it's just 'cause I'm a slow-as-fuck reader, so I'm jealous that everyone else has read so much and it takes me a month to read a novel.


Of course every writer is different and has to do what's best for them. That said...

Maybe I'm naive but I don't really worry about my voice being affected by what I'm reading. In fact, I welcome it. Our voices will always change and, hopefully, grow with each book/story. Read and steal and read some more!

And as far the fear of sounding like someone else goes, I poo-poo that. Heck, you could try to sound like WRITERX as much as you want, but YOU are still the filter; a filter with its own set of experiences and thought processes that can't help but coming out different. It's still gonna sound like you. Says me.

I guess maybe the key would be the read a sprinkling of many kinds of things. The danger might lie in reading a bunch of the same author, or a bunch in a similar style. 'Cause you know as well as me, Paulie, that sometimes you can tell when a submission comes in to ChiZine (or Fantasy) that the author's been reading waaaaaaay too much . That's the kind of person who needs to either diversify or stop reading so much of that particular stuff. Because even subconsciously they wind up stealing that writer's ticks or that style's conventions, etc.

I agree that it depends on the writer, though. Some people have a better filter than others, while some just soak it all up and spit it back out and it winds up just reading like a rip-off.

It's sort of like when you go to another country and you kind of pick up the accent, or use words you normally wouldn't, just because of your environment. When that starts happening, you need to get back to your hometown before you can get your own voice back.

Damn, that should have said "waaaaaay to much *insert author or genre style here*. I used carats last time, though, and LJ thought it was code. Stupid machine!

I agree that all writers should read as widely as they can. Even the example you gave, I would conclude either a) the writing is just bad for a myriad of reasons or b) They have talent but haven't progressed past the mimicking stage of writing. It's it b), I still wouldn't tell them to stop reading. I'd increase their reading load.

But what if they cried? What if they curled up into a foetal ball? Would you still increase their reading load? Meanie!

The sad thing is, though, no matter how much some writers read, they don't progress past the mimicking stage. They think that's the way to success—to imitate what sells, rather than just listening to their own voices—and no amount of reading is going to change that poor devil. Truth.

I'm a blue meanie.

For most of the writers who fail, they never realize how much hard work it is. They expect it to come easy, and it doesn't. You've reached a point where you don't have to read as much per se (though I'd still make you read, punk!) but too many would-be writers start there.

Word! And now, see, we're on the same page, pretty much. How did that happen? Ha!


Thanks for stopping by guys. Very entertaining discussion. And Paul, when can you join us in the Snutch Labs for a chat?

Just wanted to add this was a frickin' sweet interview, thanks for posting!

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