10 Questions with Michael R. Colangelo
Michael R. Colangelo is a writer from Toronto.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been a tech writer for about fifteen years, and I’ve been writing fiction for about ten. Before that it was journalism in college, and before that I read a lot because I was an unfriendly kid. I started actually writing fiction because I needed a creative outlet, and I kept with it because I made a sale about a month in, but I suppose I’ve always been drawn to writing in some form. The lines just get clearer as you get older.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Write a lot. Finish everything and then send it out even if it sucks. Keep everything even when you aren’t selling it (or it sucks). One thing nobody tells you is when you start selling fiction, publishers and editors are going to start asking you for everything you have. You’re going to run out of stuff to show them if you aren’t prepared for it. Then you’re back in the slush.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
I can’t make heads or tails of any resources whatsoever these days, and we can probably thank self-publishing/e-readers for that, or the sudden surge of online idiots in the past couple of years. If we’re talking about craft books, honestly, they’re all worth something.
What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I’ll read anything that comes my way, but I’ve a preference for genre fiction, mostly crime and horror. Pulp over more lit-leaning stuff lately. Authors? No, never authors. Unless they’ve only published one book — but that’s hardly fair to authors who’ve published forty. There are authors whose work I liked as a teenager that I don’t connect with now (all comic books, everything published in the 1980s), and there are authors whose work I like now that I didn’t connect with as a teenager (all Peter Straub, all historical fiction). I’ve also attended readings from authors who’ve written stuff I definitely haven’t liked, and they’ve absolutely murdered everyone in the room and outside of it (Rob Sawyer). Does that count? I don’t know. It’s all so very circumstanced.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Write every day, even if it’s just a page. Even if it’s terrible. Even if it’s something you have no interest in. A broken sentence you typed in Notepad on your mobile phone while waiting for the bus is better than nothing at all. Because if you do that for five years you’ll have something to work with, at least. Nobody’s that busy or that drunk all of the time that they can’t write a sentence a day.
Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
It’s an interesting question because I’ve only been looking at writing novels again very recently. I write on the fly and then outline in a separate file as things take shape. This is done so that my protagonist doesn’t spend the book waking up, eating, and going to sleep for two hundred pages as I spin my wheels. The only problem with outlining everything up front is the concept is boring as hell to me, otherwise I would. There’s an old piece of writing advice about not telling people what you’re working on because then you’ve told the story out loud and there’s little incentive in your mind to write it. It’s true, try it some time. Outlining up front has the same effect on me.
How do you deal with rejections?
Maybe it’s because I’ve slushed submissions for so long, (and have done so since the very beginning), but I really don’t have any angst when I get a rejection. I’ve seen the odds from the other side and they are not good.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Checking my records, up until last month I hadn’t written/completed anything new since 2011. I wrote over 100K worth of fiction last month, so the next twelve months should see at least four novels, about ten novellas, and about a million shorter pieces. And if I can’t hook an agent to sell them traditionally, they’re going straight to Amazon under my own publishing banner.
For the next five years?
Five years? That’d be 20 novels, etc. etc.
Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
You can behold my web presence at: www.michaelrcolangelo.blogspot.com.