Today we welcome Scotch Wichmann to the blog, to talk about his writing and tell us a little about his debut novel Two Performance Artists Kidnap Their Boss And Do Things With Him.
A first-round finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, the book straddles several genresâit's a madcap adventure, a pulpy action novel, a caper comedy, and a "bromance" for sure. Scotch kindly shares his writing journey, from performance artist to novelist, with us.
KB: What do you write?
SW: I've written short stories, poems, magazine articles, standup comedy sets, and being a performance artist, I'm constantly writing new experimental pieces to perform at galleries, museums, and fringe festivals: I've snorted lines of shaved mouse fur, filled my underwear with razor blades, performed testicle puppet shows...you get the idea...so my writing, at least for performance, is always trying to push the boundaries of language, movement, space, and my body, while taking into account my relationship with the audience.
And my debut novel, a caper comedy called Two Performance Artists Kidnap Their Boss And Do Things With Him, which was inspired by my 23 years in performance art, was just published in April.
KB: Tell us about your book in 3 sentences.
SW: Two Performance Artists Kidnap Their Boss And Do Things With Him is a dark comedy about two madcap performance artists in San Francisco who hate their jobs so much that they cook up the ultimate performance: to kidnap their billionaire boss and turn him into the wildest performance artist the world has ever seen.
It's a caper about best friends determined to tackle the American Dream with bird feathers, duct tape, and a gummy AK-47.
I coudn't be more excited; Radio L.A. called the book "possibly the funniest caper ever written...what you'd get if Fear and Loathing, Office Space, and Jackass made a baby." Not bad.
KB: It sounds amazing. I should imagine you have some nervous ex-bosses in the performance arts arena. So... why do you write? Give us three reasons.
SW: I've been driven to write for as long as I can remember. I need to get words out in a way that speaking doesn't satisfy. If I go without writing, I become moody and depressedâask my wife! It doesn't matter that someone else reads my writing, necessarily; I just have a need to get thoughts down. And to perfect them. Maybe that's itâmaybe I'm a serial revisionist.
Secondly, I've always dreamt of being a writer. It's a romantic notion that goes back as far as I can remember.
And lastly, I've acquired too many interests over the years: performance art, martial arts, espionage, coding software, adventure travel, treasure hunting, cosmology, space exploration, stage magic, the occult, filmmaking, photography.... At some point, I realized there aren't enough hours in my lifetime to master all of these thingsâexcept, perhaps, in my imagination. As a writer, I can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything.
KB: Complete the following sentences:
My first ever published piece of writing was a short story called "Leaving Dover."
A book about writing I love is The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White.
A novel I love is Death on the Installment Plan (Mort Ã credit) by Louis-Ferdinand Celine.
My favorite place to write is sitting at my desk.
Something/someone who helped me improve my writing was my British 8th grade English teacher, who demanded we write and speak the Queen's English.
Writing is the most powerful magic.
Editing is carving down to perfection.
Publishing is arduous but gratifying.
Describe yourself in six words.
SW: Funny, voracious, hyperactive, creative, empathetic, intuitive.
KB: Why are you intuitive?
SW: It sounds corny, but I guess it would be because I listen to my inner voice. She seems plugged into something greater, beyond me; she feeds me information from my psychic antenna, or perhaps from our collective unconscious. When I'm working on a creative project, I try to keep myself "open," and it's amazing what information seems to arrive from nowhere, yet that fits perfectly into the work I'm trying to make.
KB: What's your next big writing challenge?
SW: I have a stack of TV and film writing projects that's been growing since I started writing my novel in 1999.
KB: What advice would you give to a brand new writer?
SW: Write about what you love, about what excites you; your passion will come through in your text. Study the craft of writing; conquer grammar, punctuation, and structure so they can't keep you down. Keep your mind and intuition open for serendipitous ideas that might help feed your story. Actively cross-pollinate: read books, watch films, study a foreign language, or make art that's unrelated to what you're working on; you might be surprised by what ideas come that add depth and dimension to your work. Protect your work until it's strong enough to weather criticism, then seek out feedback; after working on a piece for ages, it's easy to miss your blind spots (and sneaky typos).
KB: What does your current Twitter or other online profile say?
SW: L.A. writer, comedian, performance artist, and serious collector of 1970s highwater pants.
KB: What would you like it to say?
SW: The same, but with "screenwriter" added to the list.
KB: Where can we find you online?
Two Performance Artists novel website: www.2p4m.com
My website and blog: www.scotchcomedy.com
KB: Thanks so much for stopping by, Scotch. We wish you tons of success with the book.
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