Adrian Sterling (aka raisinbottom) came in a close third in the recent 2011 final of the Meager Puddle of Limelight Award for Best opening Line. Adrian kindly spared a few minutes to answer some questions about his writing and his contest entry,"Think of me as a time of year" whispered the raccoon, "like libraries in a late autumn afternoon."
What’s the name of the story the opening line is from?
It's not a story yet, just something out of my commonplace book. People still keep commonplace books, right? The pieces are probably going to be put together in a magical realism tale taking place in the modern day drawing from my experiences in the late nineties. The line keeps haunting me so I decided to submit it.
How many times did you change the opening line before you settled on "Think of me as a time of year" whispered the raccoon, "like libraries in a late autumn afternoon."?
I banged it out the way it is. 90% of the time I write and let the chips fall where they may in hopes of catching whatever zeitgeist motivates me. Rereading, proofing and the rest are still a bit painful for my ego.
What’s your preferred genre/wordcount?
I like short stories. I write stuff that deals with the paranormal and other oddities, or a roman à clef.
What’s your current WIP?
A farce about the death penalty based on the line "Killing him isn't going to bring her back." People start killing each other off out of revenge. Sometimes I think about it being a weird detective novel but the comedy appeals to me.
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
Pantser if that means I write by the seat of my pants. I hope to be an outliner and be more organized in the future.
What are your long term goals as a writer?
Get published, a little bit of acclaim and use the cash to take my wife out to dinner.
As a reader, does a good opening line make a difference to you?
First seventy pages mean a lot to me. If a book doesn't catch me then I'll put it aside and blame myself for not getting the author's gist.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
Write every day.
What’s the worst?
I haven't heard any bad advice about writing. The worst thing a writer can do to themselves is think that one idea is the best and only idea they'll ever have. If plagiarists steal, they're gonna steal. Use that idea to keep on creating new stuff or write it better than the thief.
What was the last story/novel you pitched/submitted?
Oh wow, I'm just a hobbyist right now keeping my stuff tucked away in a drawer like Emily Dickinson.
What was the last story/novel you read?
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Everyone's been talking about how I should read it but it didn't resonate with me. At least it didn't come across as being really dated with its techporn.
Do you belong to a writing/critique group? Why?/Why not?
Nope, I'm shy and broke.
Where can readers find your work?
Used to be at my former largely unread vanity website but I took that down in a fit of pique after twelve years. My gags were on Twitter but that was getting in the way of my job search. I'm volunteering my writing at a paranormal blog called The Anomalist.
Where on the web can you be found?
My livejournal, raisinbottom Also Facebook but that's locked up tight.
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?
Be more persistent and be more confident.
Who do you think would win in a fight, astronauts or cavemen?
My money's on the caveman. Astronauts rely on technology and batteries run out while cavemen have preternatural tenacity.
Adrian Sterling currently lives at the Jersey Shore with his wife and four cats. When he's not typing and calling it writing he's toiling at a soul-crushing day job that takes up most of his creative brain activity. Adrian is an inveterate dodecaphile and puts way too much emphasis on Strunk and White. His favorite writers are H.P. Lovecraft, Alastair Reynolds, Robert Heinlein, Michael Flynn and Philip K. Dick.