Monthly Archives: May 2013

Dear Mr.Basye,

My name is [Fresca Von Happenstance], i go to [Licorice Juice High School] in [Osh Kosh, New Hampshire]. i am 11 yrs. old and im in the 6th grade. i got to meet you personally at the oregon writing festival when you signed my copy of HECK.i love it all ready even though im only on page 9.for my book report i was hoping to do a Q&A with you. 

HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS:

1. In 5 words describe your writing.

Darkly comic with weird twists.

2. Why do you write?

Because I can’t think of any other way to satisfyingly express the odd things in my head to the outside world. I’m a decent musician but not good enough to really feel satisfied that what I’m thinking is making it out intact. I used to draw but I am terrible. So writing just sort of happened and, like most anything, the more I did it, the better I got at it.

3. How many books have you written and in what genres?

I’ve written 7 1/2 books. Six of them have been published. They are all Heck books, so I guess you could call them supernatural humor books for middle-school kids.

4. What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?

This is an intensely personal question, but I’m sure your intentions are admirable so I will indulge. I usually get up at 6:30-7 since my son has to go to school, like most children. I make breakfast and his lunch while my wife drives him to school. For breakfast, I usually make a really nasty protein shake: a banana, hemp seeds, blueberries, spinach, spiraling…and blender the slop together. Since I drink one of these every day I better darn well live to be 100. I also sometimes have eggs (over-easy) or oatmeal.

 5. Who is your biggest cheerleader?

I wish I had a giant cheerleader…that would be awesome! Like…50 feet-tall with pom-pons that block the sun! Her cheers deafening all within a three-mile radius! But you probably mean “who is my biggest supporter.” I’d have to say my family…mainly because they’re right here and would be mad if I didn’t. But, in all truth, they do help pick me up and dust me off if I need it. My agent is always supportive too, though I pay him to be that way.

6. What one word best describes you?

Dale.

7. Who are you reading right now?

I’m reading a few things now: the latest issue of the New Yorker; Morning Glories comics; and a book about Self-Publishing. So I like to mix it up. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party by MT Anderson was the last novel I read. It was ok.

8. Give 3 great tips for newbie writers:

1) Write 2) Write 3) Write

Really…that’s it. It’s not about waiting for a great idea to visit your waiting brain. It’s about sitting down and writing something—anything—every day if you can. That’s what separates writers from wannabes. Actually writing, not just talking about it. Catching ideas in journals, writing them out, developing them, editing…it’s all writing and it’s all hard and it’s all wonderful.

9. Who was the most influence on you, in your past, for writing; a teacher, parent, or a sibling?

I had some pretty good teachers and my parents were supportive, but I was really only inspired or influenced by writers. I loved Roald Dahl, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov…mainly science fiction authors as a kid. They taught me to think about what was impossible, and make it seem possible.

10. What is your writing process like? How do you begin?

I begin by coming up with an awesome idea…and then instantly regretting it because that’s mean I have to do something about it. The most fun parts of writing are at the very beginning and at the very end. The “coming up with ideas” and the “editing down what I’ve written so it’s fun to read.” Everything in the middle is torture. The actually writing. That’s the part that makes you want to do anything BUT write! The facing the blank screen or piece of paper and trying to make sense of it all…the filling up of plot holes, etc. But I’ll begin with the idea then sketch it out…make an outline, and build the story from there. I like to know where I’m going when I set off on a story. Some writers are okay with just going for a drive, but that would “drive” me crazy…not knowing if I’m going to get lost or what. So I like to map it out with a detailed outline.

 

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The Oregon Writing Festival WROCKED!

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I wanted to give a belated to thank you to all of the people responsible for organizing last Saturday’s (May 4th’s) phenomenal Oregon Writing Festival. The festival, co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Education and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, brought about a thousand 4-12th grade students and more than 150 teachers and professional writers from across Oregon to Portland State University for a day of celebration of the practice of writing. I had the great pleasure of giving a rousing presentation to about 400 or so middle schoolers (when there are more than 30 they all suddenly seem like 400 or so) before signing a small library’s worth of Heck books, then did a workshop on creative writing to 20 AWESOME young writers, before signing more books. I haven’t had so much fun in a long, long time, which is sad, but there you go. Anyway, kudos to EVERYONE who attended: you all rocked my world. I hope I get the honor of doing it again next year!

And I am now enjoying the work of a few students who slyly or not-so slyly slipped me some of their writing. Such diversity in tone and content! Insane in my old man brain! Also, a few teachers asked me about whether or not they could use some of my materials for school, and—by all means—you can. Nothing I do is ever too cool for school. So simply drop me a line here!