I met Sue Babcock several years ago online through a network of fiction writers. We've critiqued each others work and found a home for it with the online magazine Liquid Imagination, a publication for which Sue is now the managing editor and publisher. She writes and generally rocks whatever she is doing. I was really excited when she said she was game for a Categories Interview because we get to visit The Realm of Writerly Awesomesauce.
Q. What’s the best/worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
A. The best advice was to write ever day. My creative writing teacher emphasized this, which was the first time I heard it. Since then, just about ever craft book or blog I've read includes this advice, and I do find that if I am not writing every day, even for a few minutes, three things happen. First - no writing gets done (duh!). Second - the creative side of my brain atrophies. Third - my pet dragon that lives under my desk gets hungry and starts gnawing on my toes if I don't write.
The worst piece of advice - hmmm - write only what you know. If I stuck to that model, I'd never write anything (who wants to hear about concrete, for pete's sake), and my dragon would go hungry.
Most people don't believe me when I talk about my dragon, but I assure you he is as real as my writing. He's aqua blue with cobalt blue points that run all the way down his back to the tip of his tail. Last night, as he frolicked in the cavernous space under my desk, he poked his nose out and scared the heck out of my cat. Now my cat won't sit on my lap anymore, so I make Leumas (that's Samuel spelled backwards) keep my lap warm while I'm working at my computer. I do have to make him turn away from the desk when he sneezes. The flames are hard on my monitor and computer.
Q. Alliteration or onomatopoeia?
A. Definitely alliteration - in moderation! I tend to get taken out of a story with a "Grunt" or "Bang." Even more so with "she sells sea shells by the seashore."
Q. Fork, spoon or spork?
A. Fingers... Oh, wait. That wasn't one of the choices. But everything you can eat with a fork, you can eat with your fingers, and everything you can eat with a spoon, you can drink. So who needs utensils?
Q. Writing wardrobe?
A. I definitely have to have shoes on when I write so my dragon, Leumas, doesn't eat my toes. Beyond that, anything goes. Right now I have on military-style cargo pants and a warm fuzzy jacket.
Q. What were you doing right before I started asking you a bunch of inane questions?
A. Asking you a bunch of not so inane questions. I'm looking forward to hearing your narration of a story in Liquid Imagination. (www.liquid-imagination.com)
Q. What’s on your desk right now?
A. EVERYTHING, including my dragon. He came out from under my desk to see what the heck I was working on. It's not often that he sees me actually typing something, rather than staring at a blank piece of paper on my screen. His blue points shimmer in the light from my window, and his fiery breath just charred one of the stacks of stories submission I wanted to read.
Q. Favorite food thing of the moment?
A. Something fattening - hmmmm, like homemade gingerbread. I decided to lose a few pounds and am getting really tired of all those salads and chicken dinners. I made a luscious soft gingerbread cookie, redolent with molasses, ginger and cinnamon.
Q. Indoors or outdoors? Why?
A. Outdoors. If you've ever owned a pet dragon, you'd know why. Plus, the sun, the grass, the sky, the trees, the rain, the snow, the ice, the garden, the park... Who could not love being outdoors?
Q. Argyle or plain white socks?
A. Argyle, for both me and my dragon. My argyle socks keep my dragon from eating my toes, especially if they are argyle socks with blue dragons embroidered on them; then he thinks he's looking in a mirror. And when I put them on my dragon, he immediately settles down and goes to sleep - almost like magic.
Q. If you could collaborate on a project with anyone living, dead or imaginary, who would you pick?
A. Thomas Jefferson. He was a brilliant inventor, writer, and creative thinker.
Q. Tell us about your current creative project/s.
A. My biggest project right now is the development of the Silver Pen website (silverpen.org). The Silver Pen Writers' Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to assist writers of all ages in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction to produce quality work and to help them develop successful writing careers. The website is still fairly new, and we continue to iron out the bugs as we expand its functionality.
I'm also the publisher of one of the Silver Pen magazines. Liquid Imagination (www.liquid-imagination.com) was started by John Miller, but when he became overwhelmed by life, I took it over and moved it under the auspices of Silver Pen. The staff on this magazine is great, and we continue to publish sci-fi, modern fantasy and dark stories, poems and flash about life.
Finally, I'm working on a novel. I'm hoping it will be a YA novel, but sometimes I wander into darkness where kids should not follow, so I'll have to wait and see how it comes out. It is set in the Middle Ages, in Europe, and follows the path of a peasant boy who is the keeper of an abusive lord's pigeons, as the boy grows to be a man who must be reckoned with.