Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Author Interview: upthedownslide

Jfly Recommendation: Echo By Upthedownslide

1. What was it that drove you to take on the virtually non-existent adventure/scifi sub-genre in this fandom?

This is hard to answer without stepping on any one's toes because I don't want to insult anyone. The easy answer is that I love sci-fi and I always have. I worship at the altar of Whedon & pledge alliance to our faithful Admiral Adama. If it's got lasers, mind control, the supernatural and one captain in tight pants I'm sold. The harder truth is that I was tired of the 'boy meets girl, boy runs into trouble, girl has soul searching moment, boy and girl frak and make up' paradigm. Granted you can spin that anyway you want, throw in your own dashes of intrigue and drama, but at the end of the day it's the same story. Very rarely did I see something out of the ordinary. I understand that the appeal of fic is the love because that's what brought us to Twilight, but really, do we need every damn story to follow that path? No. We do not. This isn't to say that they all do because that's mass over generalization and the ones that don't follow the hollywood standard are fucking amazing. Really. You know the ones I'm talking about. *coughTAABcough* They tell you to 'be the change you want to see in the world' and I said to myself, 'self, you are fucking important to yourself so let's try this son of a bitch!' I was tired of mall themed romance and college fellatio so I went with what I knew. I started Sins because I needed something new and then that turned into an absolutely massive runaway train I couldn't turn out as fast as the kids were calling so I paused it for Echo. Whodathunk that a futuristic thriller would be easier to pull together than a Vietnam father/son tale? Oh that's right. EVERYBODY!

2. You use a multitude of "call" names for our favorite Twilight Vamps -- i.e. Whiskey, Echo -- what were your inspiration for those?

It's just the standard military phonetic alphabet. Anyone who is saying I stole Echo from Dollhouse is going to get a beating. The only thing I'd change is not use Charlie for Carlisle. Charlie is the standard word indicating the letter C so I figured what the hell. It's been confusing for a few people, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. Pay attention kids. Just because it's fic doesn't mean you don't have to think about it.

3. To write this sort of fic, you almost have to balance a narrative that is so action driven rather than emotional or thought narrative. How do you get in the mindset to do the ultimate form of SHOWING rather than TELLING?

My high school had the best lit mag in the country. We won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association gold crown the year I was on staff. Yeah, it's that Columbia. We rocked the shit and I'm proud as hell of what I did there. Bottom line slash the point of my bragging, they beat it into my head the importance of showing versus telling. I learned how to critique and the difference between good writing and average writing. I know I'm a long ways away from being anything special, but I like to think that I'm doing something different. How do I get into the mindset? This is going to sound lamer than lame but I see it in my head and try to recreate that. It doesn't play out like a movie or anything, more along the lines of disjointed flashes. I see angles and motion and the sway of clothing with the pressure of touch. No one wants to read that the apple fell out of the tree. They want to see the golden orb clunking down to rest amongst its brothers on a moistened ground in a orchard of browns and greens. They want to feel the chill on their faces as the autumn wind sweeps by. They want to smell rotted fruits and feel their children's sticky fingers as they grab at your face looking for tissues and hugs before showing you their bruised bounty. That's the difference between showing and telling. One invokes the senses and ensnares the heart while the other lays limp on the page, unmoving and lifeless. Which would you rather read? That's what I thought and my goal is to give you that as best I can. If it's not enough, you can go read Hemingway. Check out A Farewell to Arms. It's my favorite and there are at least ten sentences dedicated solely to the description of various cheeses. If that doesn't sell it then nothing will.

4. I could easily imagine that while writing this sort of story, writer's block could be a HUGE issue. How do you deal if or when that becomes a block on your creativity?

I pause. I read. I watch. I talk. I listen. I repeat until it comes back. I'm not the sort of person who can ride it out, I need to fight through it and I learned that the hard way. I've had an interesting couple of months dealing with life issues so you can take whatever I say with a grain of salt. I'm probably the worst person you can take advice from on this issue because I haven't exactly put it into practice, but my excuses are way better than yours. HA! Bottom line is, it's different for everyone but I pull inspiration from everything. You either open your eyes to everything and see how you can mold it to fit you or you don't. You can't make it come if you don't want it to and I'm ready for it to come back.

5. All of your writing is vastly diverse: Sins of the Father, Asylum, Echo and even your original you did for the Twilighted Original Fiction contest. How do you pull from so many different inspirations and write with such maturity for someone still in college and younger than most of your fellow writers?

For starters, I was birthed of the gods and have more talent in my pinkie finger than you have in your entire body. I'm also made entirely of awesome and breathe fire on days ending in Y. Someone up on high once said 'write what you know.' When your young, you don't know a lot, but you know enough to get your footing and a start is more than most people have. In terms of putting something more substantial on paper, I'm more of the 'write what you want to know and then research the shit out of it' philosophy. I'm interested in so many different things and they all spin together and come out this way. You can write anything you want, but you damn well better know what you're talking about. It takes eight seconds to punch something into google. Maybe that's the difference between me and a lot of other young writers. I don't pretend to know everything or allow myself to be lynch pinned on my youth. Not knowing something is no excuse to get it wrong. The one thing I do think that's biting me in the ass is my inability to finish anything, but I'm not sure if that's a product of age or a product of sheer fuckery. Things warped together and then my life exploded. One day I'll finish something and you'll all cheer. I hope. As for my maturity? Any maturity I've got comes from always being the young kid in a pool of elders as well as fan-fucking-tastic teachers, peers, and friends. And betas. God bless betas. Jenny, I owe you a strong drink and a lap dance. Scotch you say? Scotch it is.

6. For the younger writer, what advice would you give to help develop themselves as an author?

The biggest mistake you'll make as a youngin' is not listening to advice. You don't know everything and you aren't the next big thing. I know that probably came as a surprise to you, but pucker up kiddo, here comes life with a big wet one for you. You don't have to take all the advice thrown your way, gods knows I don't, but it's a good sounding board. And for the love of all that is holy, just write. Put the pen to the page and make the words come out. If it's crap and you hate it at least you've practiced. All writing is a carefully constructed web of rewrites. You can tell who hits submit without reading it over out loud. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to read your work out loud. That goes for all of you, not just the little ones. It makes such a difference.

7. Why the pen name?

"They're doing it backwards; walking up the down slide." If you can tell me who said it and where, I'll give you a hug or two. I'll know if you googled. We do not support googling when it's being used to cheat.

8. How do you balance the duties of school, social life and fandom?

I didn't know how to juggle everything. I got overly involved in unimportant things and spent an extraordinarily small amount of time on the things that were important, but I'm working on it. That's why I had to take such a giant pause in my updates. I wasn't slacking on my writing, I was hiding from my life. I ain't hiding no mo'. I've been psychotherapied, medicated, and discharged from the psych ward(yes, really, and I've got most excellent stories if you want to hear them.) UTDS is back bitches. Uh Rah.

9. Why is smellyia your hero?

Because she's talented and smart and beautiful and is an unbeatable combination of brown and southern and she doesn't scold me when I start sentences with because. I'd wife her if I could but I don't think Matt & Bear would be on board with that plan. There was talk of smuggling me into her suitcase during international travel so as to serve as her slave girl and companion of various trades but I'm not sure where we're going and when so I haven't packed yet. I clean up real good Amelia. REAL GOOD!

Please continue reading the next interview with another of our recommended authors!



  2. Great, great interview. I look forward to delving into some fics from this author. TLYDF is totally trustworthy. Thanks guys for putting this site together. It really does bring serious game to the fandom.

  3. Whedon..that man stole my heart when he created Angel. Sorry, Edward, I still love you.

    What a great interview! and I am intrigued by Echo, it is now on my ginormous 'to read' list, but it's up there in the top 3.

    Could someone tell me what TAAB is?

  4. amelia said boston wasn't on the way to la. WTF?! she needs a geography lesson. everyone flies four hours north before flying six hours west. EVERYONE.

    taab is the teenage angst brigade by jandco and it is unbelievable.


  6. Holy Hell, I think I'm in love...UTDS, will you be my beta?


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