Tim McDaniel teaches English as a Second Language at Green River College, not far from Seattle. His short stories, mostly comedic, have appeared in a number of SF/F magazines, including F&SF and Asimov’s. He lives with his wife, dog, and cat, and his collection of plastic dinosaurs is the envy of all who encounter it.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve wanted to “be a writer” since my teens, but I didn’t take it seriously until I got back home from my Peace Corps service and thought, “Now it’s time to seriously try this.” I was lucky enough to sell my first story right away, to F&SF, and that was a great encouragement to keep going! (Took a few years to get my second sale, though…)
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
I like Heinlein’s rules — Write. Finish what you write. Send it out. Send it out again when it is rejected. For new writers, I think the hard part is often “finish what you write.” It’s so easy to hit a rough patch, and put the work aside.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
I live on Ralan.com, which is my main source for finding markets.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
SF/F, and I have a lot of favorites! Jack Vance and Theodore Sturgeon are great inspirations.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Make the time. Even if you only have fifteen minutes, you can write, and slowly inch forward on completing your goals.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
Even for my short-short stories, I usually outline. I like to have an idea of where I am heading, and what stops I will make along the way. Of course, I don’t always stick to that outline.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
I think, “Great! Now I can send that market another story!” And then I take the story that was rejected and send it someplace else.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Keep selling my short stories, and get serious about completing my novel. It’s so easy to neglect the novel in exchange for the quick gratification of finishing and selling another short story!
9. For the next five years?
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
As a Luddite, it’s taken me a while, but eventually I plan to have collections of my short fiction up at Amazon. Not yet, though.