Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hey, He's Local!

Read a great interview with Dan Simmons, a local writer who I haven't managed to read yet. In fact, he's so local that his daughter works at the Borders Cafe where my critique group meets. (Well, until they uprooted the damn thing to make way for a new Seattle's Best Coffee shop/stand/cafe/what-the-heck-ever. The staff is a bit exasperated that many customers managed to miss the small signs they had around the Cafe area the last couple weeks. I could quibble with them as the signs, small with small print, seemed to indicate only that Seattle's Best would be coming to the Cafe. As they had a very serviceable Cafe setup, I figured it would be a simple product change, not a renovation.) He's so local, that I've heard rumors he regularly donates signed copies of his novels to the local used book store, which I used to frequent but never remembered to see if this rumor was true. He's so local that I think I drive by his house on a regular basis. I say this not to sound like a stalker, but just to revel in the fact that I have an incredible writing resource really, really close. (Actually, I have several. This particular area of Colorado seems to be a stomping ground for some kick-ass writers.)

The interview's great. It's got some tone that remind me of my undergrad genetics professor who basically stood up in front of the class at the beginning of the semester and said, "Hey, I've got a great big ego, but I'm aware of it, so now that it's out of the way, let's do some learning." Not saying Dan Simmons has a big ego, just saying that his tone reminded me of that prof, whom I really, really liked. He was my favorite in the biology department because he wasn't the usual patronizing jerk who lorded himself over everybody while expecting you to fall down in abject workship. Anyway, Mr. Simmons has some really cool things to say about story structure that are in-line with the way I visualize my plots. I'm still not at the point where I have the tools and the broad vision to see my structure in all it's 3-D glory (and as much as I love the double-helix, I doubt I'll be able to pull off a structure that sophisticated anytime soon), but it was neat to see another writer who thinks in 3-D terms. We're really rare, as I've found out from the strange reactions I get when I ask fellow writers about software that lets me plot and outline in 3-D.

I guess I better pick up one of his books.

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