Sean WilliamsAt last week’s AWM writing race, we were joined by one of Australia’s truly prolific authors. Having published more than 40 novels and 120 short stories, Sean Williams has excelled in both fantasy and science fiction, has been a multiple recipient of the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards categories, and has featured on the New York Times bestseller list. Here’s what he shared with us…

…on his writing routine…

I like to write every day, starting in the morning and, if I’m in the middle of a novel, until I’ve written 1000 words. If you do that every day for a year, you’ll have 3-4 books, easy. And I’ve been doing it since 1990. Hence my RSI.

…on writing science fiction…

The best thing I ever did re learning about technology was subscribing to New Scientist. I’m a big believer in passive research, absorbing tech and stuff just by reading. Also I find it interesting (and if you didn’t, why would you write about it?). So through reading this stuff every day I develop a gut feel for what’s been, what’s here now, and what’s coming. Not in a “predicting the future” sense, since only a fool would try to do that (to paraphrase David Brin). More in a sense of how people interact with technology, how they name it, what they aspire to do with it, etc. So finding the right name for my tech is very important. Names are how we engage with things in everyday life. It has to work or the tech will die, or be ripped off by someone with a better name. So I want my tech to feel like something people would use, but I also want to seed enough tech details so someone who actually knows the science can tell it makes sense. Because that’s important to me too. Except for when I’m handwaving, which I always am when writing about transmitters. I think there’s a fascinating series of feedback loops between scientists, technologists and sci-fi writers that are still being nutted out.

…on TV adaptations…

I do indeed have some things happening in the film and TV world. One book (The Crooked Letter) has been in development for several years, and may have stalled there, as often happens. We’ll see. I’m currently negotiating a deal for my second novel, The Resurrected Man. For that one I’ve co-written the script and the pilot. (For Crooked Letter I just co-wrote the pitch.) Then there’s the movie of my short story “Passing the Bone”, which I hope will be shot next year. I didn’t have much to do with that one, except to sign the contract, but I know the people involved and they are terrific. I have great hopes.

…on collaborating with other authors…

To answer the collaborative question… here’s a collaborative answer: http://www.readings.com.au/news/the-way-we-work-garth-nix-and-sean-williams. I know that’s cheating, but it seemed simplest. This is pretty much the same way I worked with Shane Dix. It’s the opposite of how I work with Sean E Williams. And Deb Biancotti and I do a whole different thing. Each collaboration has its own rules.

 

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