My friend Patrik Eriksson makes films. He made Kim Jest Arvid Pekon? and Wozek, among other things. We discuss the creative process now and then. He has a series of questions for me, he says, that I should talk about and that people should read about. So without further ado, here's the miniseries Patrik Asks Stuff. Welcome.
1. How do you know what project to work with?
Just yesterday morning I sat down to figure out what to do next. I had finished the current round of novel drafting and had some time to do other stuff while waiting for the manuscript to ferment. I went to my "Work in progress" folder, which is a festering compost heap of short story drafts awaiting judgement. I picked a story I've been battling on and off since 2010, and decided to work on that. Why? Because it didn't require research into eugenics, like draft X, or animal husbandry, like draft Y, and didn't put me off like drafts Å, Ä or Ö. This draft also tied into another story I'd recently finished, and I had some vague ideas for what I wanted it to do. So I printed it out, then wrote down everything I knew about the story and the world in longhand. This morning I sat down and started writing the story again while looking at the old draft and my notes. So to answer the question: I pick whatever feels relevant at the moment, and stick with that until the story is done. Some of the time it ends up as a finished story. Some of the time it ends up back on the compost heap. Almost all of my drafts have made a few rounds on the compost heap before emerging as fully fledged stories. Some of them are Frankenstories with body parts salvaged from different drafts. Others are like polished bone after dead verbiage has fallen off. The one I'm working on now is a bit of a Frankenstory, incorporating a couple of old ideas into a different setting. If it works, you'll find out.