Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Isaac Marion's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....

Isaac Marion's 
Would You Rather

Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

Feet would be easier, but tongue would be sexier. I think people would rather read a book written by a tongue.

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

What happens to me after that giant bestseller that prevents further bestsellers? Do I die? Get addicted to drugs? Pull a Salinger? Do I try to climb Everest alone and lose my fingers and toes to frostbite and then try to write books with my tongue? More information is needed to make an informed decision. But I guess if those are the absolute options, a string of moderate sellers, because I don't want to be known my whole life for just one thing.

Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

If I knew I’d be able to experience it in some way, I’d rather be considered a genius, but I have too little certainty about the afterlife to make any posthumous plans, so I’ll take the moderate regard right now, please.

Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

I haven’t been in school for a long time...what are conjunctions again?

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

Definitely the tattoo. The font would have to be so small that from a distance it would appear to be solid color over my entire body, so I’d look like some kind of blue-green monster man, and I could jump out of closets and scare people with literature.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

On the surface, this appears to be an easy one. Option number one, of course. But zoom out a little, and it’s a bit more complicated, because if I had a book that was an overnight success, it would give me enough clout to get other books published and marketed, and those ones wouldn’t have to be crappy, those ones could be complex and challenging and contribute positively to the collective unconscious. So, potentially, the crappy compromise book could be a means to a positive end that might never happen if I always insisted on doing things I wholeheartedly believed in. MORAL PARADOX.

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

I write characters I hate all the time. They’re usually the most fun to write.

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

Wow, this took a turn for the macabre. But, in essence, this question has the same outcome as the tattoo question, so once again, I choose to become a blue-green monster man.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

Are you kidding? I love my characters. (Even the ones I hate.) I’d never damn them to the mundane desert of real life.

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

writing without punctuation and capitalization is fun it flows it feels good its like glossolalia i could do it all day but writing without that particular typographic symbol? No sir, that sounds most clumsy and painful and arbitrarily arduous.

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

I’d rather live in a world where books are not banned, no matter how controversial they may be.

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

Ayn Rand died in 1982, before portable music players were widely known, so I could probably put in some earbuds, tell her they are hearing aids so that I can listen to her even more attentively, and then bliss out to some Brian Eno ambient music on my iPod while she bloviates away.

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

I generally prefer writing to speaking, so please apply any required handicaps to my speech and leave my writing alone.

Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?

I can't read the language 50 Shades is written in either, so both options are going to end up as campfire kindling.

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?

I’ve already experienced being critically ignored, and it was pretty depressing. If critics are ripping me apart, at least that means I’m successful enough to merit attacks.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

I definitely, definitely do not want my private thoughts escaping my head, so whatever option keeps them silent.

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

If I was writing these answers with a pen and paper, they would look like this.

Not sure.
Well known now.

And so on. I can’t write with pens. Don’t touch my laptop.

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back? 

One is physically impossible, the other sounds pretty relaxing. Kind of a no-brainer.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

Being naked in a packed room sounds like a scenario with a lot of potential...

Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 

Ugh, you saved the hardest question for last. I hate both kinds of books equally. It’s almost a precise 50/50 for me. I guess if I absolutely had to choose, I’d take the well-written weak story because even if it’s boring and pointless, at least I could learn something from the prose craft.

And here is Isaac's response to Jayme K's question from last week:

Would you rather be forced to kill off the main character’s pet or child when writing a novel?

This may be the first time I've said these words in this sequence: I'd much rather kill a child. Unless the pet is a major part of the story and integral to the character's personality, killing a pet usually feels like a cheap emotion-squeezing tactic. It's just way too easy.

Issac deferred his additional question to me, so 
check back next week to see how A Lee Martinez answers:

Would you rather write a novel that changes someone's life but receives no mainstream attention, or a novel that is incredibly successful in sales but that no one thinks about afterwards?

Isaac Marion was born near Seattle in 1981 and has lived in and around that city ever since. Deciding to forgo college in favor of direct experience, he dived into writing while still in high school and self-published three terrible novels before finally hitting his stride with Warm Bodies, his first published work. He currently splits his time between writing in Seattle and hunting inspiration on cross-country RV trips.

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