Cory Came to Town, Cory Left Town
Cory Doctorow was in town last week promoting his new book at Bakka Pheonix Books. I was able to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his book Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, which aptly enough is set in Toronto's own Kensington market. One of the first things that he said to me was that he knows Toronto since he worked and grew up here and has been stranded "all over" the city because he "missed the late night TTC many times."
Cory works with the EFF and is a co-editor of BoingBoing.net as well as a copy-fighter. As an avid supporter of the Creative Commons copyright concept he has released his books as a free download. For the podcast I asked him about his book, but we ended up talking more about access to information and how that effects society.
Unfortunately one question that I asked was not recorded because my battery died. I asked Doctorow if he had any advice for people who are writing or thinking about writing fiction and he had four succinct points:
1. A writer needs to write. Having an idea is not nearly enough; just keep writing and writing.
2. A story needs three key points in it to be any good and those are a beginning a middle and, of course, an ending.
3. Someone, preferably the main character(s), needs to change. Without change there is no story, no evolution, nothing interesting.
4. A coherent narrative is the last thing that is needed. Things in the story need to be getting worse as the story goes on, this is needed for a rise in tension. A story line cannot stagnate - things need to change.
It was fun talking to Cory and his book is a pleasure to read. I'm not that great at reviewing books, so I'll keep this short. The characters that Doctorow has created all seem so very real even though the family of the main character is the son of a mountain and a washing machine. It's also an easy read and a compelling one so it is quick and enjoyable I suggest you pick it up, or download it from his site.