Artistic Visionz: For the record,
state your name and approximate age, if you please.
Schuler Corson: Schuyler E. Corson,
AV: Where did you grow up, where
are you from?
SC: I grew up in the small town
of Iowa Falls, Iowa, then known as a farming community, now better known for it's antiques stores. It's one of those
towns that you learn to appreciate more, once you've left.
I still have several friends that live there, so I get to go back every
now and then. I've lived most of my life in the Midwestern United States, other than a couple of overseas jaunts for
AV: Where do you currently reside?
SC: Ames, Iowa. It's a college
town about fifty miles from where I grew up, and sort of a crossroads of culture types. You get to see students from
several different countries and cultures in the grocery store with the local farmers, and the sporting events and musical
programs are varied enough that you get to see and hear something different almost every week, if you want to.
AV: How early on did you take to
writing stories, other than for school reports and such?
SC: I wrote a few minor (read: bad
and undirected) bits back when I was in my early teens, but the ridicule that I got for writing kind of put my interest on
AV: Was there anyone who took interest
in your writing early on? Maybe someone who inspired you, encouraged you?
SC: I was encouraged to read early
on, more than write. My parents and friends were good at pointing out some of the better authors to get my attention,
so I got a good upbringing in some of the better books. I took to reading quickly, so before I was ten I had read not
just the usual kids books, but also the primary Tolkiens and Watership Down.
AV: Have you ever taken any writing
or journalism classes or workshops? Any formal type of training?
SC: There was a Fantasy Writing
workshop offered at my local library a couple of years back, that I took. It concentrated on inspiration and critiquing
of work, which helped me get some ideas fleshed out later on.
Beyond that, no, nothing formal. A few published writers have come
to the local university to give lectures, which I've attended as often as I can. I've tried to keep their lessons in
AV: Does your current job
or profession involve or utilize your writing skills?
SC: Not really. I work night
shift for a local retailer, and beyond writing a few emails, there's not much call for writing there.
AV: What would be your dream job?
SC: Well, in addition to the writing,
I'd love to run a movie theater. Not one of these modern multiplexes, but an old fashioned, art-deco one screen theater.
Something where I can have theme weekends, or just run old B grade movies.
AV: Have you ever had anything professionally
or tried to? Any results?
SC: There was a newspaper aimed
at kids that had asked me if I would consider writing things for them. But the pace was too rushed for me. They
saw no difficulties in giving me less than an hour to produce a publication-ready story on a subject that they chose.
When your art becomes the source of your nightmares, it's time to step away.
AV: Do you find it easier to write
short stories and novellas rather than longer works?
SC: Yes. With a short story
you can easily flesh out the beginning, middle, and end, and go easily from step to step.
With a longer work, you have to keep coming up with smaller bits to keep
the reader interested, or start with a tiny beginning, and end with a world shaking ending.
AV: Is there any particular genre
that you find easier to write? Do you have a favorite genre to explore?
SC: The cyberpunk genre is my favorite
to write. It's meant to be a simple step away from our current fears of local and world situations, with an emphasis
on the fantastic, so the universe is already there, as well as a wealth of source material.
I also love writing in fantasy settings, but you have to fully define a
universe there. (You couldn't put characters from Leiber or Howard in a Tolkien setting, it just feels wrong.)
Also, with the influx of legalities around established works, it's too
easy to get sued, or cast in a bad comparison if you don't fully create your world first.
AV: What influences your writings
SC: Several things. Music,
for instance. If you know a song well enough, you can form a story around it. Also, I use some real life events to source
work. Several years back, I found a town that had only one road into it, which influenced a story about a town with no north.
And little things in the world can shape how I feel when I start to work.
A comment made on a roundtable program about Texas once inspired me to
write a story about Alaska declaring war on Texas.
AV: Music is often a big influence.
Do you have a favorite type of music or a favorite group to listen to while you write? Does this change depending on
the mood of the story you are trying to set?
SC: My tastes are fairly eclectic,
musically, so I tend to rotate through different groups or types a great deal. But the mood does make a difference.
I can get a lot of dark and grim mileage out of some Harry Chapin or Billy Joel, and my ideas when I'm listening to folk and
bluegrass are generally on the lighter side. And,
of course, a given group can have several different styles over
the course of their careers, so you can get some mileage there.
For instance, Queen did some lovely dark music (Prophet's Song, Gimme The
Prize), but also some pure bubblegum schlock that I laugh at
every time that I hear it (The entire Flash Gordon soundtrack).
AV: Are there any authors who have
inspired you, or that you admire or enjoy more than others?
SC: Tolkien, of course. The
man was an absolute genius. Richard Adams, Bruce Sterling, William Ginbson, Joe Haldeman and Terry Brooks.
AV: Some write a first draft complete and then go back and edit it, while some edit as they go. Do you
have a certain method for completeing a story?
SC: I pretty much edit as I
go, starting from an outline, and fleshing my ideas out. I'll also stop
mid-project, and read sections out loud to
myself, seeing if I've caught the feel that I wanted.
AV: Have you ever expereinced writer's
block, if so how often? How long did it last and how did you get past it?
SC: Many times. It's a common
problem, mostly due to an idea that I was playing with failing to fully gel. Some of my work I've been able to just set aside
for a day, others have been shelved for years.
Part of the trick to breaking writer's block is to take your mind off of
the problem piece. I'll sometimes pick up a book that I haven't read for a while, open to a random page, drop a finger
on a line, and start writing around that sentence. Just getting the juices flowing on a different project can let the
subconscious handle the other problem.
AV: And, if heaven exists, what
would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
SC: "Please leave your egos, prejudices,
and religious stereotypes at the door."
A big thanks to Schuyler for allowing us
to get to know him. We look forward to more of his stories in the future!!