Tim W. Boiteau’s fiction has appeared in such places as LampLight, Kasma Magazine, and Every Day Fiction. Tim holds a PhD in experimental psychology and lives in Michigan with his wife and son. He’s currently searching for an agent to represent him in selling his first novel.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Write every day, no excuses. Read a wide variety of styles, forms, and genres–again, every day.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I wrote my first story–about a missing lamp, if I recall correctly–when I was in second grade. My grandmother asked me to write it for her, and I feel as if I’ve been writing for her ever since.
In your opinion, how important is a writing degree or MFA when it comes to achieving success in writing fiction?
For some this might be valuable. My degree happens to bee in experimental psychology and I think studying this instead of writing was a great choice. A lot of my writing is informed by science, or at least it informatively defies science. I believe fiction writers need to be effective researchers.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Pick a non-productive pastime of yours (TV, video games, etc.) and ax it. Insert more writing in its place.
How do you deal with rejections?
Don’t get too attached to any story or magazine you submit to. Write and submit so often that you don’t have time to think about the pieces after you send them off.
What books are you reading right now?
Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, John Cheever’s Falconer, Mo Yan’s Life and Death are Wearing Me Out.
What do you think the publishing industry will look like twenty-five years from now?
If we can ever evolve a tool of communication more efficient than language, we might stumble upon something like telepathic mandala novels, but that might be farther off than twenty-five years.
Are you an outliner or discovery writer? Or somewhere in between?
I almost never outline for short story writing–I get an idea, plug in a character or situation, and go. If the improvisation was sloppy, I fix it in the rewrite. I do outline with novels or longer stories, but the outlines are very loose, almost like lists of connected short story ideas.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I’m trying to publish my first novel. It would be great to find a home for it before the year is through. I’m also working on a second novel and plan to finish the first draft by the summer.
Do you ever get criticism from family or friends who don’t understand your passion?
An English teacher in high school reported me for writing disturbing material. This was in the 90s, several months before Columbine. I managed to argue my way out of trouble. I believe in the post-Columbine era, I would have been expelled from school (or worse). I’ve met other more insidious forms of criticism, and the closer the ties are with the critic, the more painful it is. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to have some friends read and praise my work. I wouldn’t be able to write now if it weren’t for my wife’s support. Life is easier when you have a supportive environment. If your environment isn’t working for you, change it.