Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five minutes with RWW Greene

A big welcome today to RWW Greene, who's one of the contributing authors to the Something Wicked volume #2 anthology

RWW Greene and wife Brenda Noiseux
So, tell us a little about your short story...

The idea hit me in wake of an argument about Joss Whedon’s Firefly. The opposition claimed there was no reason for latter-day humans to develop American cowboy-like speech patterns, and I set out to write something that, as a side note, proved him wrong.  Throw in some characters inspired by my students, add my worries about climate change, and -- BAM! -- story. There was much revising.

What gets you writing? Tell us a little bit more about your approach.

I keep little notebooks everywhere, and any idea I have goes in whichever one is closest. When I have time, I write the ideas into three-act outlines, and, when I have even more time, I turn them into stories. An idea can come from a name, an article, a long-wait for fried chicken, riffing, something I overhear in the coffee shop line … It all goes into the hopper, gets mashed up with all the other stuff, and sometimes the results make sense.

What do you think are particular challenges associated with short stories as a form? As for longer works, do you have anything planned? 

The shorter you try to make a complicated narrative the harder it gets. There’s plenty of time to play and wander in a novel, less in a novella, far less in short story. By the time you are squeezing a narrative down to a poem or a piece of flash, you’re really having to work. Short fiction relies so much on evocation and white space. You have to carve it right down to what is important.

I turned It Pays to Read the Safety Cards, the story in Something Wicked, Volume Two, into a 93 000-word novel called Leaving Home, and now I’m looking for someone to represent it. I’m also working on an alternative-history novella wherein the Vietnam War never happened because would-be conquerors from the planet Mercury set their sights on Earth.

What's the one short story or novel you keep going back to (we all have them), and what makes it stand out above all the rest?

I can’t pick. There are so many books and stories that I’ve read repeatedly. Probably the first book of that kind, though, was The Prince of Central Park by Evan H Rhodes.  It’s about a kid who runs away from his abusive foster mother, quits school, and goes to live in a tree. I think my takeaways from it are: You don’t have sit there and take it, and you don’t need much in the way of material things to have a good life.

What scares you?

I’m afraid that humanity will never get its act together, and we’ll waste all of our potential.


I blog about writing, teaching, and the 21st century at and live Tweet various award shows and political debates at @rwwgreene

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