Today’s author is a little bit different from the normal breed, though her interview comes with great timing after my article about independent film earlier this week. Susan E. Clarke is actually here to talk about her script book, the Chronicles of Syntax, published by Inspired Quill Press.
I’d tell you more but I think she can say it better. Please give Susan a warm welcome.
1. Can you tell us a bit about the Chronicles of Syntax?
Chronicles of Syntax is a Science Fiction story set in the present day and leading toward an oncoming apocalypse. The Angel Network are trying to find people with an alteration to their genetic DNA. They believe that when their powers are combined they will access to memories sent back from the future, which will allow them to stop the end of the world.
The book is the season one script book for my multi-award winning science fiction series.
2. When did you know you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
Around about the time my acting agent started introducing me to people as a phenomenal writer lol. I don’t have a memory in my childhood where I haven’t been writing and I remember the moment as a kid when I realized the power and potential of putting pen to paper. Once I wrote Chronicles of Syntax, my writing career shot off in a certain direction. I didn’t choose writing for a profession, it chose me and I love it.
3. The Chronicles of Syntax is a script book. Have you ever written or considered writing an actual novel?
I have written a novella when I was 16 but this was more to practice my writing skills (although I didn’t realize this at the time). I do want to write a fiction book and get it published, it’s one of my biggest bucket list goals. But script writing and novel writing are very different skill sets and novel writing requires much more of your time than script writing does. I’m hoping to master it within my life time as it would be nice to see my book on the shelves.
4. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?
I’m usually sparked by a situation of a specific piece of dialogue. If it’s good enough, it will haunt me and develop in my daydreams until I have time to sit down and write it. When I’m writing I don’t always have a destination. I put my characters in a space and let them react to each other. Usually, very exciting things happen. That’s how I write.
It sounds very ignorant, and I’m certain I’ll be eating my words at some point in my future, but I’m not one for figuring out structure or the ’10 page crisis’, or anything specific like that. The flow of my writing comes from the natural pauses and emotion within my scenes. I find that if I sit and plan out the whole story before I start to write, I usually won’t write it – because I already know the end.
5. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
Formatting. I’m quite a fast typer and I don’t slow down when dialogue and story is running through my head at a million miles an hour. I put far more value in getting the page in paper to risk slowing down or stopping to get things in the right place. Formatting is one of my most pet peeves, it takes way longer than writing something and it’s dull. But now there are things like Final Draft or Trilby which does those things for you. If you can handle those programs I would probably suggest you try and do that while you’re writing instead of after. But at the end of the day, writing should be something that make you feel free, so do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
The characters and their interaction towards each other. Often I find myself laughing or being shocked by how a character has reacted and that’s wonderful. The story can come and go – you can always pick those characters up and place them in a new environment – but their make up, who the are and the intricacies of the people themselves, that’s a glorious invention and the only part of my writing I’m a little precious over.
7. Why did you choose to publish your scripts in book format?
Chronicles of Syntax is very lucky in the fact that we have a wonderfully large fan base and we wanted to give them something that they could take home and cherish. Also, some edits had to be made in the filming of the series and I felt it was important for them to have the full story.
8. If you could give an aspiring author just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t start writing with the end goal completely fixed down. For example, don’t sit down and say, “okay this is going to be the next Hollywood feature”. That might inspire you but it will also give you limitations. Only ever focus on telling a good story, the rest will fall into place on its own.
9. What are you reading right now?
I am currently re-reading The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.
10. Are you working on anything readers can look forward to?
I am. I will be bringing out several more projects this year so watch this space.
Susan E. Clarke is a multi-award winning Creator with a successful science fiction series. Her work has been shown in festivals worldwide and her stories are much loved by thousands of people. Coined ‘Britain’s answer to Joss Whedon’, Sue is working very hard to live up to this and more.
Do you have more questions for Susan? Go ahead and ask them in the comments section below!