Today, fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake, author of the Genesis of Oblivion series, returns to answer to questions on the inspirations and technical aspects of his creative process.
1. What is it about the fantasy genre that inspires you to create beneath its umbrella?
In a word… I am a geek.
I have been a fan of fantasy since I was about six. You name it and I have probably read, watched, listened to almost anything in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. I really have no interest in writing in any other. And why should I? In both sci-fi and fantasy, a writer can break the bonds of our “politically correct” society and be free to write anything. Case in point, talking about human slavery, and the pros and cons of it as it relates to our society makes people uncomfortable. Yet, in a magical fantasy setting, a writer can really sink some teeth into the subject and explore both sides of the coin. These two genres are very liberating for probing deep emotional situations in a completely hypothetical realm. And with great conflict comes great drama – which is what I use to entertain my fans.
2. Describe your creative process in terms of you narrative choices, its mechanics and the perspectives you employee to create you own unique voice.
In learning the way I write, most people think I am absolutely insane. Yet, I think the way I write is the reason everyone says I create such wonderful characters. Before I write a scene, I sit and have conversations with myself, sometimes with four or more people at once, and the real “me” is not even involved. If that is not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is. I love to act out the parts. I sit (or stand, or pace, jump, fight, crawl, roll around, etc.) in my office and act out what I am going to write. This may sound crazy, but if something sounds dumb said out loud, it will read dumb as well. I need to become my characters to be able to write them well. I think John Travolta is an excellent example of this. He “becomes” his characters for the duration of the filming of a movie. Even off set. That may sound creepy, especially when you consider some of the psychopaths he has portrayed. But, he delivers an outstanding performance because of it. I take the same approach to writing. If I can become my characters, really understand what drives them, I can write them better.
So, I put myself in their mindset, attempt to feel what they feel. This lets me say what they would say and act how they would act.
As for the “technical” aspects, like POV choice, etc., that is pretty straightforward. I am not a fan of first person narrative, nor of present tense. So, I write in third person past tense. To me, it is the Narrative Mode that has the most flexibility and the greatest opportunity for reader immersion.