Interview with Wildbow


  1. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I still disagree. I think the character was underdeveloped (and a little undeserving of his reputation because of that), and many of his choices were like, "Really, John? How long were you doing this for?" but the choreography more than made up for it for me. I separated it from the story itself - which should be a bad sign, but hey - and loved it for the thrills I wouldn't be able to get from reading the screenplay and questioning this or that.

    So yes, the story was weak. It is not a good novel. But it's an excellent swirl of visuals and they nailed the atmosphere for their fight scenes. I'm wondering what there is to for a sequel, though. It felt like they covered everything and already stretched the story.

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  2. Emma (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I chopped the people getting the drop on him due to being out of the business for so long. He was rusty. His body was older. He had been out of the business since before Tarasov's son, the puppy killer, was born, or at the very least, since he was a child. Kid had to be at least 20 (hard to tell with movie magic). We'll say it's 10-20 years without fighting, possibly without training himself as well. In his peak, he was a scary mo-fo, but now, he's still scary but he's older and not as fit as he used to be. People were going to get the drop on him.

    The sequel, in my opinion, is just going to be a cash grab. People liked the first movie and they're hoping to make more money with a second one.

  3. SnowyMystic (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Honestly Wildbow, reading about your experiences is quite motivating. Thank you t4nky for doing this review, actually in general thank you for doing interviews, getting some activity is good for all of us, and the insight into the people of the community is quite good.

  4. Tintenteufel (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    A very interesting interview. Nicely done, t4nky.
    It is always nice to get some more insights into such things. But the questions are really not the ones I would think of as usual. Liked to read it very much. Doubly liked the Art and Music recommendations I did not know. :)

    However...some small part of my just died, reading about the amount of dedication it took. The shit rolling down the hill. :| I do hope it was the weak, selfish slacker-part that likes to spent his wednesday mornings wearing a bathrobe and watching old cartoons.

    Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction
  5. t4nky (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Tintenteufel: The amount of work actually has made me get my head in the game. I wanted to make a living off of this, Wildbow told me what I needed to do. And honestly? Fifty hours a week sounds like what a normal job would entail, if a lot less. If you want to see if you can make time for watching cartoons, that's fine. I want that too, in fact, I think everyone here wants that or something similar.

    "An uneducated man may rob a rail car. An educated man can steal the railway."
  6. Billy Higgins Peery (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Are we going to see any more interviews from you, T4nky?

    "Any number of hitlers, are still not my problem." -Tempest
  7. Psycho Gecko (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'm not saying it's the best movie around, but I think part of it you have to remember is that even the best hitman is still only human. Throw enough people at him and eventually one or two of them will shoot him. Unlike him, however, they didn't get a follow-up shot (or they were downright stupid by trying to use a plastic bag instead). John Wick is a big fan of Zombieland as often as he takes the time to shoot them a second time. There's even a bit where he unloads one burst of rifle fire into a guy's chest, then gives him a second to the head just to be sure.

    The part I enjoyed most was the world they created where you have this Continental Hotel with its truce, and an established underworld currency of gold coins. Makes me wish I'd thought of that. They even had a doctor who, unlike pretty much all other action movie doctors, doesn't even try to talk the protagonist out of fighting wounded. He just gives him some painkillers so he won't feel it.

  8. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    @ Tinten (and Tanky, to an extent) - take note of the part where I discuss how I drew inspiration from a variety of places. I do not believe you should give up cartoons - they're a source of color and character and inspiration that you can use to add to the personal kaleidoscope of inspiration. I often encourage aspiring writers to consume ~more~ media, to understand everything at play that makes a work popular and how they might emulate it, why they do or don't enjoy it, and more. Having a little revelation while watching a cartoon might make one scene just 'click', and then you get compliments from readers about how they liked it.

    The time you spend not writing is important in its own way. I know my personal functioning and my writing quality drop steeply if I don't have downtime and time to unwind. When enjoying certain media doubles as inspiration and downtime, then that's ideal. Even in other ways, it can help - I know that I spent a lot of time playing Binding of Isaac, my mind on idle, just making free associations while I was barfing bullets at the devil and swinging a cat's hairball at poop monsters.

    However, I would stress that there's are sacrifices. It's maybe the hardest thing, and maybe the most important decision an author has to make, the sacrifices they'll face. Tanky looked at it through the lens of hours/week worked, 50 hours a week, not so bad, there are jobs that are harder. It -is- enjoyable on a level, but the reality is that when you throw yourself into the writing, you're ~always~ writing. I tried to convey that when I talked about my daily routines. You don't turn it off, you don't put it away. It's just an all consuming thing. Hours spent in front of the keyboard, writing? Yes, thirty-five to fifty-five hours. But I know that I need to devote time to letting my brain rest, to free associate, or explore ideas. This is evidenced by the weeks where I make the time for sitting in front of the keyboard and typing, but something else (my brother's wedding during the writing of Pact, a hard week at school, work, Christmas holidays) takes up the non-keyboard time, and I just can't do it. Something inevitably gives.

    50 hours in front of the keyboard, but more hours go into the writing, even if they're harder to define. I have to make time for those hours, it adjusts the plans I make, how (little) I socialize, and more. I've heard about an author who was at a party, staring off into space, when their significant other nudged them and whispered 'stop writing', and they realized they were.

    I think it's important to think about things in broader terms. Beyond even the 'I won't make a lot as a writer, so is it really truly worth it to have a car? Are kids really in the picture, expense-wise and time-wise, or is there a chance I'd just give up on the writing altogether for the benefit of the kids? You have to know yourself pretty well to make the call.

    It's better and worse than you think. I suspect it varies depending on how extroverted you are. While I can meet two needs (feeding inspiration and unwinding) at once as a fairly extreme introvert, I struggle a lot when I try to work more people into my life. Someone else might be able to manage maintaining social relationships and unwinding while struggling to feed inspiration, or they might maintain social relationships and inspiration, but face a crisis in mounting stress without outlets. There are other balls to juggle or things that change the weights and sizes of the balls, in terms of time, money, education, how tidy you keep your surroundings, and more.

    If you're dead serious about this, then you should know and expect that you probably can't juggle all of the balls, you should know yourself and which balls you can afford to let fall to the ground at the lowest cost to you. But I would hesitate before jumping to the conclusion that you have to lose the cartoons. Cartoons are awesome.

    @ PG - A hitman is only human, but my feeling is that John Wick is only human in service to the blockbuster, at the detriment of the John Wick myth. The mistakes he makes and the successes of the enemy are to make it a more exciting movie for your general moviegoer, not his human failings.

    The same goes for other elements of the movie. If the Continental is truly that powerful with that many talented killers working for it, it doesn't make sense that someone (Perkins) is going to break the rules for a doubled bounty. It would be in better service to the film for them to establish that there's a callow lunatic working in the Continental, who hears about the doubled bounty and laughs and says 'I wouldn't do it if the bounty was dectupled, you don't cross the Continental'. Then if somebody does cross the continental, a bullet in the head isn't fitting enough an end. They didn't sell the Continental to me any more than they sold John Wick.

    It's a lazy movie.

  9. Tintenteufel (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I get most of that, Wildbow, altough one has to experience it by oneself, I think, to truly understand.
    But I think my little remark got a bit blown out of proportion. I could never give up cartoons or videogames or movies or such completelyl - I did no get my Minor for an Analysis of Early German Cinema just to cut it out of my life a few months after the fact.

    It is just...sometimes you just slack off, you know? You have all the material you need, the characters are there, the setting, even the story in parts, but instead of simply writing on a completely lazy saturday morning you just sit there and do nothing for an hour or sixteen when it could easily have been two hours quality cartoons and fourteen hours something else. And sometimes, sometimes it creeps onto you where you got a whole week like that, just doing nothing even tough you know you can an want to and such.
    (Feel free to insert ¨playing Europa Universalis or the latest Walking Dead till my eyes hurt and I burned through a complete season in one afternoon).

    That is what I meant. I really...envy is maybe too harsh since I am impressed by it and hope you keep pumping out that quality stuff. Admire maybe your ability to ¨just do it¨ with that great a dedication.
    Which totaly is something one has to work on, I do get that. But how to ¨make a call¨ if you do not know if there is even a call to make? One can not possibly think, not even fantasize, about a life with writing as a job when he can not even discipline himself to write more than a few sketches and rough outlinings of a character. So fulltime is pretty much off the table anyway since I have to be able to gauge what is possible and necessary. And I am not there by a long shot. It took more than a year for you, as I understand it, and lots of time already working that insane amount of writing.
    It takes work, really fucking hard work, and that is something not easily understood - even if I write and like it, like it very much, and tell stories online already and like to write while I walk or tune out during a lecture or analyse a book or movie or cartoon or whatever in regards of the narrativ.
    So what I meant probably was something along the line of: I hope I get over the laziness and hedonism that leads to not doing anything. :) Im pretty sick of beeing the mid-twenties Netflix guy.

    Well, look at me rambling.
    Anyways still an interesting Interview and good insights into ¨the job¨ and headspace of serial writing professional. Recommended it to a few friends (whose life and innocent souls I just ruined by introducing them to Worm.:x ).

    Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction
  10. Psycho Gecko (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Regarding writing, that time you put into it is pretty much only made possible because you started in a situation that led into you making money off it. For the rest of us, especially people only about as good as I am, it's kind of a problem for the rest of us. We can't devote as much time to trying to write well because we have jobs or school or whatever. But if we were to quit working to write more, there's no guarantee we'd make a cent even if the increased time did improve the quantity and quality of our output.

    Though I do like being able to think about writing while in the middle of mindless, repetitive tasks. It gives my brain something to do, and it sometimes helps me come up with ideas that wouldn't show up in front of a computer screen.

    Back to the movie: That's a good point on the Continental not quite living up to its reputation. I kept wondering why, if they were so into this truce, they didn't give a crap when John had to fight someone off. It's still a good concept, but they could have executed it better.

    As for me, John's problematic decisions weren't quite as bad for me as the glaring ones made by the villains, but that could be my particular perspective on villainy. By far the biggest problem is why they never thought to have the idiotic son leave the city, or even the country. Who cares if he thinks it's not necessary? These are supposed to be Russians. They should know enough about human trafficking to get someone out of the country against their will.

    That's basic. That goes all the way back to the Godfather, where Michael Corleone kills a couple of important people and is immediately shipped off to the Italian countryside to live in some measure of seclusion with a bodyguard. Even when his new wife is killed by a bomb, he still doesn't return until after a deal has been worked out by his father to assure his safety.

    Then we have the villain putting all their eggs in one convenient, easily-broken into basket instead of spread out so police or other crime organizations can't get it all at once. And, finally, the guy goes and antagonizes John one last time when everything had been more or less settled.

  11. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Regarding writing, that time you put into it is pretty much only made possible because you started in a situation that led into you making money off it.

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but I'm going to try and formulate a response anyway, because you did prick a nerve.

    When I started Worm, I had some savings and an education I drew on, a backlog of 16 chapters, I had a dynamic with my landlord (a family friend) that allowed me to get a cut on the rent in exchange for working on the property (she was elderly), typically offered when I was able, and a flexible-ish job, hourwise. Stopping after my third year of study, I had some time.

    But for every advantage that any of the above offered, they had their costs. Effectively 'dropping out' in my family's eyes destroyed familial relationships, my brother told me he hoped I failed, and I was actively sabotaged by people who were supposed to support me, because they were bitter I'd given up. The money, I should stress, -was- money I earned fairly and made sacrifices to set aside, over nearly a decade of time, and it pained me to use it.

    The backlog helped me manage the bumps in the first six months, but others found out about it and it came with expectations that I could skip this one chapter I was supposed to write and help out or do X or do Y, and that expectation was a shadow that hung over every chapter and interfered with every other writing day for the duration of Worm and some of Pact. People don't realize you essentially have to work twice the number of hours in a week to rebuild a backlog or to have some chapters done in advance.

    My landlord, being a family friend, picked up on the toxicity from family. The relationship turned sour. What was originally an option to mow grass, rake leaves, paint the garage, in exchange for $25-$100 off the month's rent became an expectation, then a demand, with no discounts forthcoming. Toward the middle and end of Worm and the start of Pact, I actually left town to stay with family elsewhere because the dynamic was so bad. I couldn't/didn't move (for this reason or to get more distance from family) because I was financially trapped, and because she was a family friend, my hands were somewhat tied in seeking the usual tenant's recourse.

    For my job, helping out with house painting, landscaping, tearing up asphalt and putting up drywall, I traveled for 3+ hours a day most days and on occasion I got paid for one hour of work, or none at all. I put in twenty to sixty hours a week at that job and then put in thirty-five to fifty hours at the keyboard writing. I made time for a writer's circle in the midst of it. I did that for a year and three months, PG, and I made ~$100 a month average from my writing for the duration of 2012, for 160+ (see above for my thoughts on the non-keyboard time investment) hours a month of effort.

    Maybe I romanticize things when I spell them out like I did in the interview. I'll say it straight: I went in with my feet under me, as you should with any major endeavor or career. It was a gamble, but I didn't even go in expecting to make money doing it (see the interview). I had zero expectations, I had no self esteem. I gave my all with the full expectation that I wouldn't get an audience and I wouldn't make money. I did it because I didn't deem myself good at anything in life except maybe sort of writing, so I threw myself at the writing and went all-in. I fully believed I'd ride it to a close and never do more than get that $100/month, if I was lucky, and I'd continue to work those hellish hours until I got lucky or something gave way.

    Yes, it did pay off, but if you're implying it was luck or chance circumstance that paved the way for me rather than anything else, I'm going to take serious offense at that, PG. I wasn't living the life - I had my serious challenges. I sucked it up, because I didn't give myself any other choice. If I hadn't managed any success at all, you'd better damn well believe I'd be gritting my teeth and keeping at it, because I'm a writer, and that's all I can do.

    I'm sorry if this response seems over the top (this is partially directed at others in the thread), but PG, we've had dialogues in other venues before, and you've shared similar thoughts in the past. I know you have your own frustrations and challenges. That said, my own history with family and friends is rife with people making assumptions regarding me and minimizing or dismissing my accomplishments. I would kindly thank you if you'd avoid doing the same.

  12. Madiha N. Santana (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I work 8-9 hour days every weekday and some saturdays at a jewelry workshop doing some fairly precise, slightly taxing labor, and while it's been hard, I've found the time to write, because I want to do it, and I made some sacrifices to my former lifestyle so I could keep doing it. I'm not writing 20,000 word chapters anymore, but I'm writing and the story continues, I've not yet had a month where I couldn't post. I'm not playing as many video games, but I play an hour or two of my time-sink MMOs every other day, I skype and play with friends every weekend, and I watch my Gundam episodes, and read my WW2 history books. I don't have as much time for all of those things but I didn't have to give them up.

    Just to put out there another situation where yes, stuff's hard, but if you really want to do it I think you can find ways to commit. I wouldn't tell you to quit your day job, but I would say you don't necessarily have to.

    You might not be able to make those hot twice-weekly schedules that the people love but you can do it.

    I guess the question then is, is it worth it to write *what you can* in the face of necessary tasks of life?

    For me, it has been, as I've never had the illusion of being able to post a bunch of times a week.

    I think that'd be a deeply personal thing that'll vary between people.

    But if you wanna write, I feel like you can. You just have to adjust and be realistic.

    (I acknowledge that there are much worse circumstances than me, longer work hours etc.)

  13. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'd very much like to put in the kind of hours Wildbow is doing (because longer episodes work better), but I long ago realized that I probably couldn't do it all at once. Basically after a 40 hour a week job, and after trying to be around for kids and my wife, I only have so much time left. Some of that has to be used for things that aren't work like reading. Some of it's got to be walking the dog and playing music because the dog needs the exercise, and I need variety (and exercise).

    That said, I hope to make it possible at some point. My theory is that it will be a gradual thing if it happens. My plan is to turn Legion into books, make the books into audio books as well as print and ebooks. Additionally start a Patreon once I've finished off my Kickstarter responsibilities. Then put out a book each year.

    At some point, I'll hopefully have an income that will allow me to go part time. After that, I'll work to see if I can write full time.

    It's a longer tearm plan, but I'm okay with it.

  14. Ryan A. Span (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Wildbow definitely has the right of it. _Nobody_ starts out in a position of being able to make money off their writing. Nobody. Even someone who sells a novel to a major publisher right out of the gate has to write the novel first, and spending tons of your own money on advertising is usually still a net loss.

    For example, 2014 is the first year I made more than $100 a year from STREET, which I started in 2007. Impostor Prince is my first book to break $1k and that came out this June. Even in game work, my bread and butter, I began by modding with no expectation of ever seeing any money from it. Hope, yes. Expectation, not so much.

    After all the projects I've done, I get about $150-200 per month in steady royalties. Not exactly a living wage. Freelance work is how I make enough to get by, and it took years of slog (retail work, support from loved ones, plain old being poor) to build up enough of a CV to get taken seriously. It's just plain rough out there for indies. 'Making it' is a pretty relative term.

  15. Tempest (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    There are costs to everything. In my own area, I have to balance time writing with studying, just finished my course to allow me into university, which is happening in a month. I have to judge my illness and my capabilities with what needs to be done. I have to spend time with my wife and kids and like Jim said, find time for myself that isn't work. My average day is between 16-20 hours long.

    Wildbow makes a very clear point that nothing is free. Time does not just magically appear. It needs to be carved from things that may be equally important and you have to make a choice. You can chose to work at something, like writing, not knowing if it will pay off, or you can put the time into a job or friends/family or hobbies or pretty much anything. But if you choose against your own goals, you can't be bitter, its your choice.

    My serial did okay with readers, but not financially. Grand total of donation income is around a £100, in the whole life of my serial. When I self published on Amazon that changed, but there was no expectation or really much hope. With all fiction, there is a matter of timing, current market, exposure. Which basically amounts to luck. But luck alone will do you no good.

    If someone is in this to make money they need a plan, writing what you want is all well and good if it happens to be what someone else wants to read.

    I'm sure someone will make a thread about writing for profit, if they are interested.

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