Aaron J. Lawler It is simple really - storytelling. It is an age old art that extends back to our most prehistoric ancestors and is how we became who we are today. I am an educator and use storytelling as my delivery method, so writing is like teaching, I just share ideas with an audience. But I am also classically trained painter, and writing allows me to create worlds and landscapes with such texture that I could never represent in a single canvas.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Aaron J. Lawler This may sound a bit strange, but I talk to my characters. Donatello (not the TMNT!) is rumored to have yelled at his statue, Lo Zuccone ("Pumpkinhead") and said, "I know you are alive, get down from that pedestal!" Perhaps an urban legend, but the truth is when you create something from nothing it can take on a life of its own. There are times I will finish writing and am not sure where the surge of creative energy came from. So when I get stuck or write myself into a corner, I shout at my characters, "What do you want?" "Where are we going next?" "How did we get here?" Then, having that dialog is useful - it gives me something to work with. It is far less existential or schizophrenic than it sounds, and probably more like pretend or Calvin and Hobbes.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?Aaron J. Lawler There is a lot of great (and terrible!) advice out there. None of it makes sense if it doesn't make sense for you! Follow your own compass. I write what I am intested in. I start half a dozen projects each year. The ones I get bored with, I put aside. I do not try to force it. The ones that take a life of their own are the ones I invest in. That is my compass, what is yours?
How do you get inspired to write?
Aaron J. Lawler Read. Read everything. Read good books, read bad poetry, read news articles, read the back of cereal boxes. Inspiration is not some mystical force, its a natural way the mind works. We are hard wired to solve problems, that is how we have survived as long as we have. To solve problems you need information. The more information you have, the more inspiration you have!
Aaron J. Lawler A combination of things really... I was interestd in creating a way to explore magical realism and fantasy in a contemporary setting so that it felt real or possible. But I did't want the magic to replace the realism, just live beside it, so that I could invest in my characters. I also wanted to create a place that felt like now but wasn't quite right - I intentionally left out cell phones and the internet to create a timelessness. Lastly, as a teacher I wanted to craft a book that met literacy standards like Common Core but was just a really good story, so this became an homage to Mark Twain.
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