The Blank Zen Interview
I’ve done about a dozen web interviews and I always found them like writing a midterm exam where, despite all the agonizing left-brained hassle, you felt you’d pulled something valid or interesting together. In response to these interviews I came up with my own set of questions I might ask another author, but I find they work just fine being left blank. They can serve as issues to muse about without having to sit down and hash out any final answers.
What would you like to see in a positive review?
Postulate a negative review. What would the inevitable troll with an axe to grind say about your book?
Or: write a scathing negative review of your own book. This may seem like marketing suicide, but it may spark some interesting self-evaluation. Just don’t publish it.
Why is your genre inspiring to you? Why are you working in this genre?
What do you fear most in contemporary society? Is there anything in your writing that reflects that?
What do you find most assuring, impressive, or rewarding about contemporary society? And is there anything in your writing that reflects that?
Is there any way your writing expresses an appreciation of human civilization since the beginning? It may be quite a stretch to answer this, but even a shirtless cowboy should be able to BS his way through this one.
Given all the book blurbs from other authors you’ve read, analyze your own book blurb as to its chances of snagging interest or a sale.
Do you use facts files, character files, etc.? At the end of a novel, are they useful? Well-ordered?
Which of your characters do you think your readers would find most memorable? Least memorable? For the least memorable, how could you rewrite/upgrade that character?
How do you promote or market your work? Are there efforts that you feel are more productive than others?
How do you take care of your prime writing instrument, your body?
Have you kept some of your earliest writings? Do you ever return to analyze them for strengths, failures, ongoing life themes?
Is self-publishing an option for you? In what ways does it affect how you approach your writing?
Do you have a sense of your work progressing towards higher levels? Or does that not interest you?
Copyright 2020 by Michael D. Smith
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