Sunday, August 15, 2010

[Interview] Scott Colby

Baeg Tobar is an epic fantasy world that is brought to life through comics, short fiction, novels and other forms of illustrated media.

Scott Colby is one of the project's editor-contributors.

In this interview, Colby talks about his writing:

When did you start writing?

I started writing way back in elementary school. I was very good at finishing my work long before everybody else, which meant I needed something to keep myself entertained. I couldn't draw worth a lick, but luckily I was alright with the English. It wasn't long before I was cranking out ten page novellas and reading them in front of the entire class.

Since then, I've just kept plugging along, trying to incorporate things I've liked to read into my work. When I saw an open call for writers at Baeg Tobar, I sent in a few samples. Luckily they liked me!

How would you describe your writing?

Fantasy with my own little twist.

I've always felt like the genre can handle a lot more than just the typical "go there, find that" quest mechanic, and I think Baeg Tobar is definitely built along those lines. It's really not as far removed from science fiction as people might think. Remove the details, and you're dealing with the same flexible theme: man against something far superior.

Who is your target audience?

I know it's not necessarily the best idea, but I'm not aiming for one audience in particular.

Lots of writers find a niche by aiming to please a certain set of people. I don't really feel the need to do that. You either like me or you don't, and I'm fine either way as long as you've got a legitimate reason for your opinion.

Which authors influenced you most?

Terry Brooks was probably number one. He began as a bit of a Tolkien impersonator, but he's grown above and beyond that.

I also like to think that I've pulled a lot from Frank Herbert, even though I know I can never touch his prose. He's made me like deep, multi-faceted characters who don't necessarily show the world their true faces.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

I try very hard to keep my writing clear. If the reader doesn't understand what I'm talking about, I'm not doing my job, flowerly language be dipped.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

Getting started has always been my biggest hurdle, but transitioning between scenes is a close second. I think the two are very related.

I find the best way to deal with any writing problem is to walk away from it. Look at other things, do other things, and give your mind time away from what's frustrating you.

Lately I've also become a big fan of writing things out of order, of plugging along with what you know about one particular thread until you hit a roadblock. Then you work on another aspect of the plot for awhile until you finally come back to your initial problem. I find this works great.

Do you write everyday?

I've been trying to either write or edit 500 words a day. It doesn't always happen, but the days it doesn't are rare. If I become completely stuck on something, I leave it for another time and either write or edit something else or stop working completely.

Unless you're on a deadline, it's best to let these things come naturally.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

This is more as an editor than as a writer...but I like to think I've gotten Baeg Tobar into a great place. I think we're entertaining, and I think we should be very attractive to fans and publishers alike. It's a huge, complicated, diverse world, and I think it's a lot of fun to see what a wide variety of writers can do with it - but it's also quite a challenge to keep all those writers on the same page, to make sure that everything they do jives and has a place.

If I have to pick one thing I'm especially proud of being involved with, it's Daniel Tyler Gooden's The Unmade Man. I've read it five or six times as an editor, and I haven't gotten tired of seeing it - which, for me, means it's something I really like.

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