CREATIVE DIFFERENCES WITH RYAN WATT


I love to read. I've been reading since preschool. When all the other kids were laying down on their mats to nap, I was reading Where the Wild Things Are.

A few years back I discovered a new way to read. It's a site called JukePop Serials, and it's a place where writers can post their stories, one chapter at a time.

I immediately added a great big bunch of stories to my online bookshelf and just as quickly was distracted by life and could no longer keep up.

Recently, however, I've found the time to start catching up on the various tales. But I've found it best to start off with just one story and get caught up there before I start in on any others.

The one I chose was Flocked by Ryan Watt.


Once I started getting into the story I realized that I really wanted to talk to this guy.

So I did.



NOTE: The following interview was done entirely through email.

STEEVEN R. ORR: Tell us about Flocked. Pitch it for the new reader.

RYAN WATT: Flocked is a fantasy adventure web-serial. Set in a world of fairy tales, it follows the members of the Guild of the Feathers, who people hire to solve their fairy tale problems: Rescue royals, resolve curses, slay monsters. What makes them experts? Each of them are survivors of their own fairy tale curses, and have sworn to help prevent anyone else from going through what they did, while they also try to deal with the lingering issues from their own pasts.



SRO: What was it about Flocked that made you want to tell that story?

RW: Originally Flocked was going to be a short story. After reading a collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales, I wanted to tell a story about three men who had been cursed as birds as kids, coming together at a bar to have drinks and talk about their shared baggage. When I learned about JukePop, a web serial site, I knew I wanted to post a story. I found 'Men of a Feather' on my list of story ideas, and within minutes my mind had mapped out the basic story and world of Flocked.



SRO: You post a chapter every Sunday, how far ahead are you?

RW: Not far enough! hah hah. I always try to be at least one sub arc ahead. That way I can review an entire arc to make sure it works before I start posting. Right now I am about ten chapters ahead, but I want to be further. For a while this past year I was about twenty to thirty chapters ahead. I don't need that much of a buffer, but it frees up my time for other projects.



SRO: Do you have an endgame planned for Flocked?

RW: I do have an endgame! I usually do not reveal it, other than to say I am already over half way. But what the heck, why not share. If/when I finish, it will be five volumes, and I just finished volume 3. If I can fight my Pisces-brain to keep me from flitting off to another ---- ooh, look another fun project to work on.



SRO: Are you publishing Flocked anywhere other than Jukepop?

RW: As of this interview, I am only posting on JukePop. However, I am considering expanding the stories to WattPad or FictionPress, or maybe both!



SRO: Who are your influences?

RW: So many. How much space do you have? -- I guess it really depends on the project. For Flocked, Jim Henson's Storyteller series, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, and various fiction anthologies I've read over the years featuring retold fairy tales such as "My Mother She Killed Me".

Outside of this, Neil Gaiman, the works of Arturo Perez-Reverte, Cervantes. This is one of the toughest things for me to narrow down. I read a ton every year, and over time little bits of all of it seep in little pinches.



SRO: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

RW: A writer. That has always been my passion, ever since my parents let me lay on the living room floor in front of an old typewriter that had given up hope of ever working right. I honestly can't think of anything else I ever wanted to be.



SRO: What are you most proud of, creatively?

RW: Currently, the novellas of the Soldier. He is a spin-off character from Flocked and I wrote a novella about him two summers ago for a contest and love working with him probably more than any other character in that world save one.



SRO: Where do you write?

RW: Most often it is at coffee shops. When I am at my house I am too easily distracted, or unmotivated, so for years I spend a lot of my time writing at cafes where I can people watch if I have writers block. I also have a few little hidden places around the university I work at for my day job that I use throughout my work day.



SRO: When are you at your most creative? First thing in the morning, late at night, middle of the afternoon?

RW: My typical writing routine is to write in the morning, pretty much first thing. So I produce the most then, however if I am below my word count goal for the day, I find that 10-11pm is the golden hour for me to crank out a lot very quickly.



SRO: What is your word count goal for the day?

RW: Usually my goal is 500 words a day on work days, with the hope of more. Even if I am really busy, doing just 500 keeps my brain enough in the story that I can try to prevent the story atrophying in my brain. On days dedicated to just writing, I like to aim for 2000 a day.



SRO: If given the choice, who would you love to collaborate with that you've never worked with before?

RW: I would love to team up with Gail Carriger, or Seanan McGuire, authors I really love lately, or writer/producer Greg Weisman who has made some amazing animated series. I feel I could learn a lot about world building and story development from them.

The rest of my list would have included fellow serial fiction writers I met through JukePop, but see question 10 below because I can no longer say I've never worked with them before.


SRO: What are you reading, what are you watching, and what are you listening to?

RW: Reading: Recently did a short stint on reading superhero fiction, including the two Heroine Complex novels by Sarah Kuhn, and just finished "The Rumpelstiltskin Problem" by Vivian Vande Velde. About to do a re-read of Seanan McGuire's "October Daye" series.

Watching: Trying to catch up on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and MST3K, going into withdrawals over Talk Show the Game Show, and rewatching Once Upon A Time. And using old episodes of Bob Ross to destress before bed.

Listening to: Lots of Podcast - No Such Thing As A Fish, Sewers of Paris, Buffering the Vampire Slayer, Crystal Clodcast, Making Gay History, Weird History Podcast, and The Z List Dead List



SRO: Can you talk about, or tease, anything you have coming up?

RW: Definitely! This summer on JukePop I am continuing to release Flocked. What I call Vol3 ends this July and Vol4 starts in August. Volume 4 finally takes the cast to confront the long held secret past of one of the main characters.

I am also releasing "The Soldier and the Noblewoman", the third novella in the Soldier saga, about his dual quests to find purpose and to find a home.

Lastly, I have been working for the last half a year with some fellow writers on a couple of new podcasts. "The Mad Palace" is a writer's round table panel, already out in a few places. "Space Mantis" will be coming soon, and is about an ultra-fan of a recently cancelled space opera who gets a copy of the unreleased next season and releases the audio as a podcast, only to begin to learn the strange reason the show was cancelled.



SRO: Other than JukePop, where can people find you online?

RW: You can primarily find me right now on twitter, @GuildofFeathers. Or if you want to look at simple nature shots and way too many blurry bird pictures, follow me on instagram @slugryan.



SRO: Ryan, I want to thank you taking the time out to answer all of my questions. I'm really enjoying Flocked though I'm not near being caught up (I'm on Chapter 111 of 180) and can't wait to dig into the Soldier and everything else you've got coming up. Maybe we can talk some more once I've read the Solider because I'm sure I'll have more questions for you.



There you go folks.

You can check out everything Ryan has going on at JukePop by clicking HERE.

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