Jack Dann Interview

Expatriate American Jack Dann is a major figure in Australian speculative fiction. He is, among other things the editor of the recent massive SF anthology Dreaming Again, which has been getting a whole lot of good reviews (Andrew Macrae is reviewing it in the next issue of Overland. (As an aside, I have a story, ‘Twilight in Caeli-Amur’ in it). There’s an interview with him here where he says some nice things about me and a bunch of other writers. Jack is providing us with a story for our Melbourne Futures supplement in Overland 196, which is going to be a special supplement looking at future and alternative Melbournes.

Rjurik Davidson

Rjurik Davidson is a writer, editor and speaker. Rjurik’s novel, The Stars Askew was released in 2016. Rjurik is a former associate editor of Overland magazine. He can be found at rjurik.com and tweets as @rjurikdavidson.

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  1. His point one on advice for writers is ‘You must begin. Every day you must write, no matter what.’
    It’s kinda obvious, isn’t it — but that was the best thing that anyone ever said to me about writing.

  2. I find the very act of writing – non-fiction at least, is often draining emotionally (depending on subject matter I guess) and physically as well as to the intellect.

    Would actors dream of performing, or even rehearsing every day of their lives?

    Every sport has an off-season, and I think that writers need their off-seasons too.

    I guess life also gets in the way, for those in this writing caper who don’t have the luxury of permanent paid writing work, which would certainly be the majority of ’emerging’ writers. One of the poets I most admire works fourteen hour seven-on-three-off factory shifts during the week and can only muster enough energy to write on the days and nights he is not working…

    I also think it’s bad practice to write for the sake of it if you really don’t want to be doing it.

    Sorry for the sport analogy..see what happens when you force yourself to write ? 🙂

  3. I guess it comes down to whatever works for different people. To me, the analogy is music rather than sport. If you are a guitarist, you practice scales every day. If you are a writer, you write — even if it’s just for a blog.

  4. Practicing scales is great for improving technique, and that analogy seems to fit more tightly with Dann’s advice that writers should read, engage with and ‘copy’ the writing of other people. That means taking the time to understand their methods, their intentions and their sources of inspiration. The writers we admire are admired because they are aware of the ‘scales’ and can successfully manipulate them. I’ll take a stab and suggest that Jack Dann would be disappointed to think that his advice has been reduced in an Overland comment box to “Every day you must write, no matter what.”

    I’m not about to disregard the importance of writing every day. The first product of such writing is the draft. May I respectfully propose a second draft of your last comment, Jeff? “If you are a writer, you write – even if it’s just a draft.”

    I think there are a number of bloggers who are writing for more than ‘just’ a blog, and probably value their reputations enough to take the time to critically evaluate the implications of making throwaway remarks.


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