(If you missed my Tuesday post, please go check it out. I asked a question that no one answered fully...Do you know?)
Brighton Luke is so full of awesome, that he needs an Act I and Act II. Today will be questions 1-12 and tomorrow will be 13-20. Brighton is an awesome guy who knows how to make light of any situation-he'll bring a smile to your face when needed. He can perk up a group of people with his wit and he's such a great person.
Mr. Luke is not only a writer of novels, but screenplays as well. You can find him on his website, blog, Twitter, and if you'd like to see some of his humor-check out this YouTube page here.
1. When did you start writing?
I don’t remember.
2. What made you want to write?
I’ve always told myself stories, I’d often spend my “me time” decompressing from the rest of the world by having an ongoing story, or a few of them depending on my mood I’d dive into various ones. It was like having a TV show I’d watch every night before going to bed. Sometimes people would want me to do something or go somewhere while I was having my story time, and I’d be like: “go away, I’m busy, I’m thinking” and that’s what I’d be doing. I still do that actually. There are some stories that I keep for myself as my own entertainment, but I started having ones that I wanted to tell other people. I started off telling friends or my parents or coaches the stories while they were stuck with me on the chairlift skiing, and my dad was always encouraging me to write them down. Eventually I did. Though it’s still fun to have a captive audience on the chairlift.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
Growing up I knew successful, published writers, who’d been on Oprah’s book club and had bestsellers and their books made into movies. They were friends of my parents, so I think I grew up with the assumption that if you were a writer, that’s what you eventually did, was get your stuff published and be successful, but I also pictured it as something adults did. I had a hard time picturing myself as an adult ever, haha, so now that I’ve just graduated college, I’ve hit the oh I’m kind of adultish now, I should work on this whole getting published part. I wish I had made an effort to do so earlier though. Because it’s such a long process, but also because back in 2005 I wrote a YA dystopian novel, and if I’d gotten in published back then I’d of been ahead of that trend haha. So that would have been cool.
4. What genre(s) do you write?
Literary fiction with a dystopian/ political bent, though some of it is a bit science fiction. I also wrote a novella under a pen name that was a satire and a huge departure from how I usually write, I think I have it posted on my website. (Which kind of defeats the purpose of a pen name, haha, but it’s more that, that’s the character I was writing it as, my more devious alter ego). Everyone tells me I should write comedy because apparently I make them laugh. So that’s a goal, to write a comedy at some point. I also have a much wider genre spread of what I write for screenplays than I do for novels. Everything from a terrorism thriller to a musical. It’s a big goal of mine to direct that someday, it’s called Jenny Was A Friend of Mine. It’s based on the music of The Killers, kind of like how Mama Mia was based on the music of Abba.
I find some stories just feel like they are a better fit for a book and some feel more like they’d make a great movie.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
I love politics. Well maybe not love, but it fascinates me, thats what I studied in college. I also get entertained by how riled up everyone gets about it, I can be quite vulcan like when it comes to politics, I think the only productive way (for me at least) is to approach it with logic and not emotions. That enables me to see all sides of it, and really helps in writing, though in order for other people to be as open minded I also don’t have my novels take place on earth. Kind of like how westerns, or science fiction, (or really any fiction) were used to address larger social and political issues using a far removed setting. I want to write things that will entertain people, but I also want to make them think and feel. And I think there are certain things that are best explored via fiction, because fiction has more power to open peoples minds to seeing things a different way, and getting past their preconceived notions. But I also enjoy just blowing stuff up and that kind of action, so it’s all a balance.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Haha, uh… no. Yes. Some weirder than others. I have Aspergers and have kind of rituals or routines for everything. Some are probably fairly common. I prefer to write in the dark. I also have a file called CHARACTERS on my computer, which I originally intended to put photos of people who reminded me of all my characters, (which I think a fair number of people do) but this failed, the start of the file is that, but mostly it’s somehow turned into a file full of photos of Jennifer Connelly and Hugh Dancy haha, and now I for some reason have to have that file open on the screen while I write even though it’s not filled with images of various characters, even if I’m writing about people who could by no stretch be represented by either of those two, I still have to have the file open.) I also get into the mood for writing by watching certain video montages I’ve made. I guess they are sort of equivalent to those fan made trailers you see on youtube, only I make them for my own WIPs (and they don’t get posted online so I don’t complete embarrass myself haha. But they really do get me in the zone and psyched up to write). That and I love editing videos.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
Outline, extensively. Once I think of an idea and mull it over in my brain for awhile, I sit down and just write all of my ideas for it. And then I close the file, and open a new one and do the same thing, just write another outline straight through, and I do that a few times. And my outlines are long, about 40 pages. I keep doing that until I have the plot and characterization making sense. I then do a beat sheet for it. And finally I’m ready to start writing the actual story. At which point I don’t write in order at all. Since it’s already so heavily planned out I just write whichever scene I’m feeling at the moment.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Pretty much the stuff I mentioned in question 6. The proper music, proper pictures, proper lighting (I have yelled at people who have come in and turned on lights while I’m in the zone writing “you don’t need the lights just walk slow!”) the videos.
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
Drop open markers on a sheet of paper and shake it around, thats what my handwriting looks like. I write on the computer.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer? No, not that I can remember. I am often told I am wasting time, but never said in relation to my writing. Generally when I am found watching the same movie for the third time in a weekend. (In my defense it was only playing that one weekend!)
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I tweet (@brightonAwesome), I facebook, I use tumblr probably more than is healthy, and I am quite active on certain IMDb boards (I’m super into movies). I like social media because it’s more about connecting with people based on certain similar interests, where as my “real life’ friends are awesome and we have fun together, but they might not necessarily be passionate about all the same things I am. If I want to talk about writing for hours on end I can go to AQC, if I want to find people are as excited about the shooting locations of Darren Aronofsky’s new film I can go over to IMDb or twitter and what have you, it’s like that for any interest. Plus there are tweet-a-long’s on Twitter where you watch a movie or tv show at the same time as a bunch of other fans and all chat about it on twitter, those are tons of fun.
(Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Act II :D )