About David Falkirk
David Falkirk (1969-?) is an author, writer, photographer, graphic designer, podcaster, recovering journalist and was a self-described geek before it was cool. Born and raised in Indiana and descended from strong Scottish stock, Falkirk enjoys telling stories in whatever form makes the most sense at the time. He has worked on everything from local newspapers to national magazines and international journals. Falkirk has found that writing for wildly different audiences is a great way to stretch himself as a writer and to challenge himself in communicating effectively.
He is the author of The Joined World trilogy of novels Threshold, Triad and the upcoming Worldbreaker, as well as the author of the Fast 40 series of flash fiction: Fast 40 — Vol. 1: Needs, Wants and Desires; Fast 40 — Vol. 2: Within, Without; Fast 40 — Vol. 3: The Shapes of Belief and Fast 40: Scotland. He also co-wrote the upcoming non-fiction book The Theory of 5 with Chris Saraceno.
Q & A
Aren't you a little late to the game?
The thing is, I’ve known for a long while that I’ve wanted to write, and I’ve wanted to do it for a living in some way, shape or form. Most of my career path — as a reporter, editor and/or a copywriter — has reflected that. Becoming an author, that thing I always ultimately wanted to do, never seemed within reach, though. And, after running from it for what seems like forever, I finally took a hard, cold look in the mirror and mentally deconstructed what the problem was: What if I’m no good? What if I write something and it sucks? And so, I realized that my answer up until that point had been to avoid it. No attempt, no possibility of failure. For years, that was my unspoken mantra.
Of course, in the light of day, that reasoning is stupid. When it’s hiding in your subconscious, though, it makes all kinds of internal sense. After that realization, I knew I had to write what became known as “The Book” (all apologies to The Bible). The spirit was finally willing. All I had to do was get around the writer’s block.
How do you battle writer’s block?
Unfortunately, that’s when I found that I had an industrial case of writer’s block complicating the issue. I’d start with what seemed at first to be a promising idea, and then I’d watch it fall apart after the first few pages. Most of the time, the idea just didn’t have legs, or legs that I was capable of fleshing out in any meaningful way. If it didn’t capture my attention, there was no hope of sustaining it through a novel that anyone would want to read. It was like deciding one day to get off the couch and run a marathon. The aforementioned spirit might be willing, but the flesh will not drag itself across the finish line with only good intentions to back it up.
The trick to training for marathons, novels or any other endurance test, I finally decided, was to train for it. To beat writer’s block, you have to prime the writing pump and let your subconscious get to work (Stephen King’s “the boys in the basement” reference of where stories really come from, from his book On Writing, is the best explanation I’ve ever heard on the topic). One of the best training tools I found was the book Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer. The idea was to use one of the book’s 1,000 writing prompts and write for 10 minutes — no more, no less — on that prompt. It gets the “what if it’s no good” bugaboo out of the way because it’s only 10 minutes; it’s not supposed to be good. After a few attempts, the words start to flow. The Joined World actually got its start from one of those prompts. Massively fleshed out, of course, but its genesis comes from a 10-minute writing exercise.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Enjoy least?
What I enjoy least is when that moment just will not come. In those times, I’m banging away at the keyboard and the story will not come together — when my “self” gets in the way. I’ve learned, though, that the only way I can reach those transcendent moments is to park myself in front of the keyboard and start. Those moments only come with motion, and that motion is sitting down and committing word to paper, and then hoping for the best.
What’s your writing philosophy?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
On a completely different subject, I produced a podcast, hosted by me and my friends Ben Schneider and Paul Moeller, called “Tower of Technobabble” for a little more than five years. The podcast fell into disrepair as life reasserted itself (Ben and his lovely wife had a lovely child, and Paul recorded and produced an amazing solo album); it’s something I’d like to revisit at some point. For those five years, we hit it hard and, at one point, even set a Guinness record for longest uninterrupted Webcast. The record didn’t last long, and the Guinness people were a bit of a nightmare to work with, but for one brief, shining moment, we held it, and there ain’t no one who can tell us differently.