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We who are about to breed: Nik Korpon.

August 25, 2011 \am\31 8:00 am

[In which WWAATD asks writers and other artist types about life as breeders/parents/kid-keepers.]

Name: Nik Korpon

1. What are your kids’ names, ages?

Donovan is my son. He’s almost four months old.

2. How do you balance your time between parenting and writing?

I’ve become much more disciplined in writing. When I sit at my desk, I don’t check email/facespace/imdb or any of the other things I used to ‘get ready’ with. I know I have ninety minutes until Donovan wakes up–if I’m lucky–and start typing as fast as I can.

3. What is the best piece of advice about being a parent and a writer?

Write everywhere without using your hands. I think about whatever I’m working on for a good portion of the day, reciting sections to myself, mentally running over plot points or using a voice recorder to take notes. Half the time I don’t even listen to them, but the act of speaking them aloud, taking time to compose the thoughts and knowing they’ll be there if I need them, all of it seems to help the story coagulate in my head. This also helps to ensure the story makes sense. I try to entertain Donovan with the dialogue. Hopefully he doesn’t understand it yet.

4. How has your writing changed since becoming a parent?

I’ve found places I can’t go. A novel I wrote last year has a character whose backstory involves his wife and child dying. It’s fantastic material to set up this character and I thought I was a genius. Then I got the idea to write the origin story two months ago, which is equally as interesting, but once I got to the end and realized I’d have to be present while killing off the kid, the whole story had to change. I physically was not able to write it. Now, I need to go back to the original novel and alter the backstory. Turns out, though, that this new set-up lends itself to a stronger character. Serendipity under the guise of spit-up.

5. Tell us something we don’t know about you and being a writer-slash-parent.

Being a parent actually makes me a more efficient writer. It also gives me a more acute understanding of parent-child relationships, specifically father-son, and I think this has made me more cruel to my characters. I’m not sure what that says about me as a parent.

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