Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published recently in Cease Cows, Gravel, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Press, Drunk Monkeys, Birds Piled Loosely, Black Petals, Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, Cheapjack Pulp, and Yellow Mama.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve only been writing for publication for a little over two years. I had some great high school and college English teachers, really enjoyed writing during those years, but that was almost 50 years ago. During that long gap, I was an avid reader of fiction. What got me writing again was an old high school friend who is a retired English teacher. He encouraged me to submit work to his literary site, Lake City Lights.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Try to do something writing related every day. It can be fleshing out a new story from an idea, polishing a previously written story that may have come back as rejected, sending off a story to a new site, or just taking some time to daydream and come up with some new ideas. Also, always make a little time every day to read.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Nothing name brand. I have always read both the introductions and the prefaces of novels and short story anthologies. Sometimes they are a bit too long, but most often they do say something interesting about the writer(s) and what went into their work.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I’ve always liked “odd” fiction. Noir, sci-fi, horror, supernatural, or just odd. Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor wrote some really odd stories. Around the 1900s, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, Walter de la Mare, and Sheridan Le Fanu wrote some great stuff. More recently, Frank Herbert’s Dune books and the early work of Stephen King are always worth rereading.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
I’m retired. Finding time to write is a lot easier for me than it is for people who are working and/or going to school. I just take an hour or two each day to work. If I was working and/or going to school, I’d probably try to discipline myself to work an hour before bed.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I never do an outline. I have an idea and start the story. As I go along, I make changes as the story calls for them. When I am finished with the first draft, I go back and add, delete, and generally polish it into something I’m happy with.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
When I open an e-mail and it’s a rejection, I’m crushed. Kidding! A rejection from one site may turn out to be an acceptance from another site a month later. While I do like a bit of a personal touch in a rejection, I prefer the generic “not a good fit” to something mean-spirited. Constructive criticism is fine. Sophomoric snarkiness is not helpful. If a rejection sites specific problems, I try to address those problems by doing some rewriting.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I have a chapbook of material that has been published by a number of different sites that I plan to finish and am also going to try to crank out a 5000+ word short story.
9. For the next five years?
I’m sure most fiction writers who are serious about their writing envision a novel at some point. I’d like to write a novel, even if it’s a short one, or a collection of interconnected short stories.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
If you have a story of any genre that you really like and none of the literary sites you’ve been successful with in the past like it as well, check out “Every Writers Resource” at http://www.everywritersresource.com. If you scroll to the bottom of the home page, you can click on “Recent Literary Magazines Listings” and view a cornucopia of online sites. If your story’s good, there’s an editor out there somewhere who’ll grab it up.