Author Showcase: Deborah Walker

February 24, 2011

Deborah Walker @deboree lives in London, with her partner Chris and her two lovely, yet distracting young children. It took her a long time to start writing, but now she’s started she can’t seem to stop.

t: Tell us a little about your writing style.

dw: I write science fiction, fantasy and horror — poems and short stories. I write every day. Writing everyday builds up a muscle in your mind. I get itchy if I don’t write every day.

A story or a poem will start from a seed. This might be a prompt from an editor (I enjoyed writing tweets for Tweet the Meat) or it might be sparked by reading another writer’s work. Or, I’ll become interested by something that occurs in real life. I visited the Chiltern Downs on a very foggy day, yesterday, and saw the prehistoric barrows obscured by mist. Wow – that’s what I call a seed of an idea.

Once I have the seed I always do some research on the subject, usually on the internet, or sometimes I’ll go to the library and get a book.

I’ll start to write a poem without any idea of where it is going. As I write images will occur to me. A poem will be drafted in one sitting. If I’m writing micro poetry I’ll complete around five first draft poems in one sitting.

Then I like to rest the poem, maybe a day, maybe longer. On subsequent drafts, I’ll polish. I’ll change the words or the line order, refine the imagery, and with micro fiction adjust the words and syntax to meet the constraints of 140 characters. With poetry I might dip into Roget’s online thesaurus to find the perfect word. I work until I reach a point where the piece feels finished to me, and then it’s off to submission and on to the next piece.

t: What inspires you to write a micro poem over a “full length” poem?

dw: The most important thing for micro poetry for me is audience and accessibility I like the fact that micro-poems are published on twitter. I subscribe to all the twitter zines, and I enjoy a small taste of poetry in my twitter soup. I like to think of my readers doing the same.

The shortness of the form means that micro-poems are very satisfying to create. I edit until I have a sense of completeness, whether that be a short story or poem. That feeling comes a lot easier in a 20 word poem that it does in a 5000 word story.

Twitter length is suited to publishing haiku, and I enjoy haiku very much: the ‘aha moment’, capturing a moment and forming that moment of revelation in the reader’s mind. I think of my prose tweets as micro-poems. They often contain poetic elements such as imagery, rhythm, repetition. I’m publishing poetry in a sneaky way; the reader might not know they are reading a tweet poem.

t: How do you start a twitter poem?

dw: When I’m in the mood to write micro-poetry I go to my favourite twitter sites and read some poems to set me into twitter mode. I’ll have some ideas, some seeds roiling in my brain. All I need to do is unhinge my mind. I find that if I know that I’m writing micro-poetry, I naturally conform to the length. Occasionally a micro-poem will escape the constraints of a tweet and I’ll transform it to a larger work. Just as, occasionally, I’ll edit a longer poem to twitter fiction.

t: Are there any aspects of writing micro literature that you find challenging?  How do you overcome those challenges?

dw: It sounds awfully arrogant, but no. I just love writing micro-poetry. I have so many ideas. I could write a half a-dozen micro-poems right now. Ideas make ideas. They spawn like serpents, seamlessly, onto the screen of my mind.

Writing at this length has never been difficult for me. Some of my writer friends might say. “How can you possibly get something meaningful into such a short form?” They are amazed, much in the same way that I’m amazed that they can enjoy writing at novel length. Micro-poems are a communion. They are dependent on the reader to construct meaning. I think the brevity can be very beautiful: a glimpse of something special, the smallest taste of emotion. A revelation can be profound, even if it is half glimpsed, but it is not diminished by this succinctness, it is enhanced, a small seed that unfolds into the reader’s imagination.


3 Responses to “Author Showcase: Deborah Walker”

  1. Great interview Deborah. love your haiku.


  2. Carma Lynn Park Says:

    I really enjoyed reading your interview. Some of what you say clarifies my own ideas of writing micro-pieces.

  3. Debs Says:

    Thanks for commenting Dom and Carma. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview.

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