Interview with Erik Middlename Jorgensen

When did you first start writing?
I started keeping a journal after First Grade, when my family moved to Europe. I earned writing awards during elementary school, and got a story published in my high school's literary magazine. For years I had several ideas for screenplays bouncing around in my head, and filled notebooks with story fragments, until I went back to college and took a Screen Writing class. The teacher suggested taking the College Newspaper class as a way to get into the habit of completing articles on a deadline. It worked, and seeing my name in print became addicting. The Journalism instructor also taught a Magazine Writing class which was immensely helpful transitioning into professional article writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about writing. Sometimes I talk to people about what I am writing, and where they can read it. But even when I'm talking to people, I keep my pen and notebook handy in case I need to write something.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In third and fourth grade I won awards for essays I wrote, but I don't remember what they were about. My first published story, for my high school literary magazine, was about a romantic picnic with a tragic twist ending. My first professionally published story was about sci-fi writer Frank Herbert's early career as a photojournalist, and how those news article influenced his later work.
Describe your desk
My desk is a coffee shop. But my "home library" is filled with reference books, screenwriting guides, notebooks, and 3x5 cards
What is your writing process?
For my non-fiction, I start by researching heavily. Once I've struck gold, I keep digging deeper. Eventually, when my brain is full, I sketch out a skeleton of broad topics to flesh out later with details. For short articles I try coming up with a strong lede sentence first, to guide the rest of the article, but other times I have to start writing all the details to learn what the article will actually be about, and write the lede last.

For writing fiction, I start by listening to my Muse, and then stepping out of the way. Also, I fill 3x5 cards with details about characters, locations, quotes, and McGuffins, which I gather for review before writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
While Alice In Wonderland is the first book I remember reading, the first story that really impacted me was Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" from my 5th Grade reading group. This led to reading Vonnegut's books, and a life-long fascination with dystopian literature and movies.
What do you read for pleasure?
Alas, I no longer have time to read "for pleasure," but keep a variety of non-fiction reference-type books as bathroom readers, the kind of books that can be opened at random, for just a few minutes at a time, and still end up teaching something. Books on mythology, writing screenplays, marketing techniques, historical factoids, etc.

But back in the good old days, I used to read lots of sci-fi and fantasy. Currently, I am adapting several books I enjoyed into screenplays. So while I re-enjoy them in a way, adapting them makes a very different reading process.
Who are your favorite authors?
Currently, Jack London and his 1000-words-per-day writing quota fascinates me endlessly.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up moving around for several years, but finally settled in a small town in Utah. Growing up persecuted by people who thought I was I "different" led me to escapist literature. It also gave me plenty of material to write a novel about child abuse in Utah covered up by Mormon leadership. But first, I am finishing my "True Crime" novel about the corrupt police officers I have encountered. When mind-control cults lie to impressionable children, things can backfire.
Published 2017-12-05.
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Books by This Author

Sci-Fi From Sonoma: Jack London, Frank Herbert, & Philip K. Dick
Price: Free! Words: 6,820. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Literary criticism » Science Fiction & Fantasy, Essay » Literature
"Sci-Fi History" essays about famous writers who lived in Sonoma County, California, including Jack London, Frank Herbert, and Philip K Dick. Read about London's influence on George Orwell and 1984; about Frank Herbert's early photojournalism work that influenced characters from his "Dune" series; and about Philip K Dick's posthumous influence on dystopian sci-fi films.