Get to know David Wright, co-author of Yesterday's Gone, Whitespace and Available Darkness serials.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a child. I’m not sure which came first, my introduction to comic books or poetry from my fourth grade teacher, but both inspired me to want to write. As I grew up, I found myself inspired by comic strips like Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County along with writers like King, Koontz, and Barker, all people who had a way of creating worlds that people could get lost in. That’s what I want to do through my work.
How long did it take you to write your book?
My first book, Available Darkness, was something I did on and off for decades! I didn’t finish until I met my co-author, Sean Platt. We wrote the first half, then got derailed with work before finishing the second half. That probably took six or seven months, though I could be off. Since then, we’ve been writing much faster.
What genre is your book? What made you choose to write in that category?
We write dark fiction which rides a few genres -- horror, light sci-fi, and fantasy. We’re also interested in experimenting with different genres in the future including children’s literature and picture books.
What was your work schedule like when you were writing?
Our schedule is hectic because we knew in order to get known as the self-proclaimed “Kings of the Serial” we’d have to write a lot. A typical week ranges from 40-60 hours of writing and writing-related stuff. It’s crazy long hours, but I’ve had far worse jobs, and I’m lucky enough to be doing what I’ve always wanted to, so I keep that in mind when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
We released an episode of our serials per week (ranging from 14,000-25,000 words) or a short story each week during 2012. We’re going to do it again in 2013 starting on February 5th.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure if it’s a quirk or even abnormal for writers, but I like to put myself in my characters’ heads and allow myself to feel what they’re feeling. I work through dialogue and what each character is feeling and what they’d do in a situation. Kind of like when you play with action figures or dolls as a child and you act stuff out and allow these figures to embody the characters in your head. I used to pretend action figures were these made-up heroes I’d created in my head.
I suppose if I ever get writer’s block, I could break out my son’s toys and start playing out scenes. Of course, my wife might lock me out of the house.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ideas come from everywhere, every show we’ve watched, book we’ve read, and really every experience we’ve had. They all go into a giant cauldron which bubbles constantly. However, I think most stories that see print begin with a conversation, “What if?”
Available Darkness began as a thought, “What if you couldn’t touch the person you loved?”
From there, it spiralled into this complex story about alien vampires, secret societies, and creating the family you can to get through the darkness of the world. The inspiration for the vampiric sort of curse the main character has, however, came from reading The Uncanny X-Men when I was younger. I loved the character of Rogue, and wondered how horrible life would be for her.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
We’ve written a lot of episodes, but if you collect episodes into full-length seasons, which are the size of most books, we’ve written eight, plus two volumes of short stories in a year and a half.
It’s hard to say what my favorite is. There’s times I both love and loathe everything I’ve written. I think I need a bit more distance from any of the stories to judge them. I love what we did with Monstrous for 47North, though. There’s a lot of heart and horror in that story.
Where can your books be found?
www.collectiveinkwell.com/our-books is the main place to go.
Are you currently working on another book? If so, is it part of a series or something different?
We’re writing the second season of Available Darkness right now, which begins on Feb. 5, 2013. The whole year is packed with continuations of all of our serials, and a few new short stories.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Spend time with my family, play video games, and read (though I rarely have time for reading full books these days).
What does your family think of your writing?
My wife is supportive and helps to free up my time so I can write more. However, because of this, she has little time to read my stuff. While she likes what she has read, she doesn’t particularly like scary stuff.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books?
That I could actually finish something if I stick to deadlines, though I am notoriously late in the internal deadlines between Sean and I. He is a much, MUCH faster writer than I am. Like I said, I need to play all these things out in my head, plus I’ve got OCD, so I’m frankly amazed that I’ve been able to write anything, let alone as much as I have over the past year and a half!
Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Everyone says the same thing -- write a lot, read a lot. And I agree with both. But I would add to tie up your inner critic.
I used to get hung up on trying to get it right the first time. It’s impossible to do that, though. There will ALWAYS be several rounds of revisions! There’s something to be said for just plowing through the rough drafts and then wait for the editing stages before you get too critical.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, and the readers are great!
Most of the mail we get is from people new to serials, and who love what we’re doing and just wanted to let us know and say hi. We also get email from people who thank us for helping them get through a stressful day or to wind down at night. We provide an escape, and I love that people would chose to get lost in our worlds!
We also get heartfelt personal messages from people who connect with something we’ve written and want to share a personal story with us. We occasionally get readers who point out a glaring error we made. “Hey, dumbass, there’s no safety on a Glock!” And that helps us go back and fix things so it doesn’t break the reality for someone else who might pick up on that fact.
I love anytime a reader takes the time to reach out to us. It shows that they care about what we’re doing, and that means the world to me.
What do you think makes a good story?
Great characters in awful situations.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, Iron Man, and later, Spiderman. So unless I’m imbued with The Force, get a cool robotic suit that lets me fly, or get bitten by a radioactive spider, I just want to write stuff as good as those inspirations.
Are you self published or do you have a publisher? If self published, what made you decide to go that route?
Both. We write our indie stuff as Collective Inkwell. We’re also signed to do two serials, Monstrous and Z 2134, with 47North, Amazon Publishing’s sci-fi, horror, fantasy arm.
You can find David, and a list of all the books he has co-authored here: