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Louis Greenberg

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Writing Process Blog Tour

Robert Sharp tagged me in the latest self-promotional Ponzi scheme, The Writing Process Blog Tour. He has a novella being published by Jurassic London, the imprint run by Jared Shurin that’s become a serious talent-sniffer-outer and a huge supporter and advancer of South African writing and art. They’ve published my work along with that of Sarah Lotz, Lauren Beukes, Joey Hi-Fi (before they were internationally known), S.A. Partridge, Charlie Human, Richard de Nooy, Vincent Sammy and S.L. Grey along with several other multinational genre writers and LASIGs*.

The best part of the invitation for me has been reading about Robert‘s work in London. He’s a political writer and the Head of Communications at English PEN: someone with well considered opinions and interesting to follow.

The answers to the questions in the Blog Tour are kinda incidental, but here they are:

What am I working on?
I’m currently deep the redrafting phases of Underground, the next S.L. Grey novel. It’s not my favourite part. There’s none of the fun discovery of a first draft and none of the nitpicking pleasures of technical last drafts and proofs, but it’s probably the most essential stage, turning the rough splodge of brain-happy into something that others can understand and enjoy.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I thought about this for a long while and came to the conclusion that it’s a kak question.

Why do I write what I do?
There are two alternative answers to this. The pious, stock response: I always start off writing the book I like to read. You’ve read that before somewhere, haven’t you?
OR, because I have a demon “avalanche of ponies”** crashing through my head relentlessly, leaving my synapses clogged with an avalanche of pony crap until I write what they what they want me to.

How does my writing process work?
It works when I am relatively well rested and have a good cup of coffee and four hours to switch off the internet and not to blog. It’s ideal if I have a decent stretch of time in a row to concentrate and I try to manage my distractions (read: paying jobs and blog tours) into the afternoon when my creative brain has gone to sleep. I similarly try to block out a week or two in a row – that way, if I have a bad day, I know I can always make it up later in the week. I’ve also quite successfully managed to alienate everyone who used to email me, so I only get a message every few days.

Next up, I’m tagging the genre-defying South African writers Sarah Lotz (because I know just how much she loves blogging), Savannah Lotz and Charlie Human. We were recently on a festival panel together and had a great exchange.

* Literary Authors Slumming in Genre, a term I saw in a discussion piece on Pornokitsch.
** Part of a metaphor Lauren Beukes wrote into her new novel, which her editor demanded she cut. Frankly I think it’s too good not to live on somewhere.


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