The newly agented up Oli tagged me with this:
When it comes to writing, what do you know you're good at, and what aspect of writing are you worst at? (Procrastination is not permitted as either part of the answer.)
I like to think I’m good at dialogue – give me two characters in a room and I can magic up a no-holds barred argument (with a gratuitous garrotting thrown in for good measure) out of thin air. I’ve also been told I have a good visual sense, probably a result of spending far too long at art college and hanging around with talented people such as Mister Edwards, god bless 'im.
On the downside, I don’t have too many problems with plotting or story design, although I have a tendency to try and over-complicate things from the get-go – my first drafts are often so horribly complex that I’m often forced into using colour coded spreadsheets, a ream of Post-It notes and copious diagrams on fag packets to try and figure out what the hell might be going on.
I also seem to suffer from an overdeveloped sense of the absurd – let me explain:
When I was 11, part of my history homework one week was to draw the death mask of Tutankhamen (you know the one, it’s right here). I really took my time over the task and produced something that I thought was pretty darned good. I took my exercise book into school the next day, fully expecting it to be collected in and the work marked – except, it wasn’t. A week later, still nothing. By now thoroughly convinced that my meisterwerke would never get marked, I drew a pair of glasses on King Tut and gave him a rather fetching pair of cross eyes. Lo and behold, ten minutes later, the book was collected, marked and returned to me with the following comment underneath my now bespectacled drawing:
Chip can often ruin very good work by being exceedingly silly. 0/10
This is an aspect that I’ve found incredibly difficult to shake off ever since. For example, my last attempt at a straight drama veered quickly off into what a lot of people described as ‘wild implausibility’, but which I like to describe as ‘carnivalesque’ (that’s my excuse anyway). Which is probably why I feel safer writing within the boundaries of a genre. Rules, you see – rules are good.