Would You Rather
Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
With my tongue.
Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
In the “one giant bestseller,” presumably I wouldn’t stop writing after that one book, unless I died or something, so I’d still have other projects after that — I guess the implication is they’d all be commercial failures? That’s fine. So I’m going to go with one giant bestseller.
Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
I’d rather be a well known author now, because I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t care what happens after I’m dead.
Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
Without conjunctions. A lot of writers I like rarely use conjunctions. James Salter seems not to like them.
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?
Tattooed on my skin! The audio would drive me insane.
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?
I don’t know. I can’t answer that one.
Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
I’d rather write a plot twist I hated. At least I can move past that. The character, I’d be stuck with.
Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
Blood as ink.
Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
Some of the things I’ve written are so directly drawn from real that the question almost seems moot. Both things have happened! Both things have absolutely happened, or at least it feels like it.
Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
I’d rather write without punctuation or capitalization, no question. Seems near-impossible to write anything without using the letter E that isn’t completely tortured.
Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
I’d rather have them ban my book, because that’s good publicity.
Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
The implication seems to be that it would be a bad thing to be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas, but that sounds pretty memorable.
Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
Only the 50 Shades series. I’ve never read them but I’m sure I would find them more entertaining than something I couldn’t actually comprehend. The nice thing about sex is that we appreciate it with a different part of our brain than the part that judges artistic merit.
Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?
I’d rather they rip it apart publicly.
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’d rather have a voice in my head narrate my every move. I feel very detached a lot of the time anyway, so I don’t think it would be all that strange, just annoying.
Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
I’d rather give up pens and paper. I need my computer to feel happy and safe.
Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?
I do write most of my novels lying on my back, so I’ll definitely choose that option.
Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
I’d rather read naked in front of a packed room. One does want people to show up.
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?
I’d rather read a book that is poorly written with an excellent story. Maybe that’s one reason I also write for TV.
And here is Nick's response to JA Tyler's question from last week:
Would you rather have rampant misspellings in your obituary or a negative New York Times review of your book?
I would rather have the review. I don't care what my obituary says!
Check back next week to see how Matt Salesses answers Nick Antosca's question:
Would you rather give up writing (all writing, not just fiction but grocery lists and emails, etc) or sex for the rest of your life, if you had to choose between the two?
Nick Antosca is a novelist and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. His story collection The Girlfriend Game is now available and a novella, The Hangman's Ritual, will be published in the fall.