[...] I've got this technique, I always write a plot synopsis first and that sort of never comes out to the same length twice. What I generally tend to do, is start writing the plot synopsis and then realise I don't know the characters, so then I go back to the front of the document and write the characters and then what I do is I continue writing the plot synopsis when the characters are more firmly in my head until I get stuck again, and then I realise I've got to change a bit of the characters to make the plot work, so then I go and change them and come back and do a bit more plot, then I realise I fucked it up a bit and I've got to make the plot change to fit the characters, so I do that. And then the plot is finished with a conclusion and a climax, and then I look at it about a day later and think, this is half way through, and then I write the rest of the plot. The really big endings [...], the second half of the book, is another story with a bigger conclusion which derives from the first story. [...] I do that because a) I like doing it and I like complex plots and I like sophisticated characters and I like interesting character relationships and developments. I also like to see characters changed by the plot [...].
But mainly I do it because I just hate short stories that have been stretched out to novel length and grossly overwritten. When you're faced with a job of writing 80,000 to 90,000 words, that's quite a lot of words really to put "there was this guy, the Doctor, and there was this thing on earth and he saved the earth. the end." You can't do that sort of story -- it's too big, too many words to put it in. Short of actually doing a book that is entirely composed of descriptions of people and places, you've got to stretch the plot out, doing interesting things, catch peoples interest, play little games with them [the readers], I love that when the writer plays games with you, you think you know things. Subvert all the cliches, that's another thing I like doing, set up a big cliche and then subvert it. There's a scene [where a character] gets blasted back through millions of years of time to this alien planet which has been terraforming the earth, and he gets swallowed up by this sea monster and he starts talking to it telepathically and he thinks he's talking to the monster for ages and he thinks it's intelligent and then he realises it's just a vehicle for carrying this intestinal flora around, he's actually been talking to the thing's stomach. It's silly, but it sort of makes you think, it takes an established cliche, switches it on its head and drops it off a tall building. And I really like doing that, when you do that well there's a nice scene of completeness about it. It doesn't work for everybody, I like it, sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes you just end up being daft. But there's always a point behind it I think.
[regarding the particularly violent nature of his writing:]
It's just peculiar, I don't know, maybe I'm just a sick, twisted bastard that likes writing violent in my nice warm childhood heroes. Maybe I've grown up warped and twisted. I don't know, I had a really cool upbringing, my parents are great, nobody ever abused me, nobody ever didn't anything nasty to me. The only nasty things that ever happened to me happened because of my own blind stupidity and immaturity, so I've got no one to blame but myself, for any warp twistedness of my personality.
However violence in stories has always attracted me because people have such an outcry about it [...]. But there kind of is a point behind it as well, [...] all the violence that I write is emotionally driven, because I really firmly believe that violence is rooted to emotion and emotion in human beings is a very complex, sophisticated thing which has little self understanding. I believe that a lot of fiction does not reflect this. I believe that, for example, the current trendy fad of violent movies that Tarrantino makes, like, I don't know, name one, that French one Man Bites Dog, stuff like this. Well there is no real reason for the violence, it's just fucked up people doing fucked up things and kind of that's sort of true in a way. But in a way it quite irresponsible to make a sweeping statement to say that in your film that there is no balance to the fact that violence happens because lots of different things, but basically rooted back to human nature really.
So I mean everything I write I write intensely, because I'm an intense person and I like to experience things intensely. I'm circulating around the point here and kind of thinking out loud a bit but it is not breakfast time here yet and I haven't had my cornflakes and stuff. I'm sort of crunching up this hot water bottle in my hand and being violent to it because it's rubber and it springs back, people should be like hot water bottles and then there'd never be any problems. I like intense emotions, I like intense violence, I like intense responses to situations because my personal feelings is that entertains me, but there you go, I'm not everybody, this is true.
I also like realism, I like realism in science fiction particularly because the more real you make a fantastic thing the easier it is to believe the world is over run by dinosaurs and hibernating Silurians, you put a nuclear sub with a fucked up crew in a world full of dinosaurs and suddenly it's a real play because your providing a balance, there's the fantasy, there's the reality. Now the reality is also a fantasy, it could never happen in real life, put the point is you play it as if is could and suddenly you've got a more complex story. You've got the possibility for all sorts of complex story lines, you slap the potential for Alzheimers disease into [a beloved character] and suddenly you've got a real guy. As soon as you assume he may or may not have Alzheimers you've got a moral soapbox to stand on, and one of your characters can explain away a bit of moral research, a bit of philosophy. Suddenly you've got a sophisticated story that's touching people in all sorts of different ways. [...]
I like trying to be clever, I like pushing myself, I like breaking my own limits and if my audience has to suffer along the way then I'm dreadfully sorry. Writing is a growth process for me, and its also communication, it's also communicating. It's arts and storytelling, it's personal growth, it's getting on a soapbox. I don't know, it's all those things plus loads more I can't think of at the moment. [...]
I love pulp fiction of any description, which is why I love Tarrantino's Pulp Fiction, because he's not pretending it's anything else, and I respect it for that. I love good movies. Certain little bits of Manga I like, because there the only people that do the big ideas, I've watched a little bit of Manga, which is a three hour movie version of a condensed TV series that never got made. It's a war story, it's goodies verses badies, it's the second world war where the Japanese are human beings; they're morally in the wrong against the alien invaders but they've got to kick their arse anyway, so what they do is, they take Jupiter and they crush it down into a black hole and they launch it into the center of the galaxy and they destroy the invaders and half the galaxy with it. Obviously a commentary on the atomic bomb, and it's a wonderfully sophisticated piece of story telling even though it's a cartoon, and it was tremendously engaging, the big ideas in it I haven't seen since I was reading Arthur C. Clark as a kid.
A sense of wonder is what its all about, or a sense of amusement, a combination of those two and you've got it dead right. [...]
I'm somewhat of an imitator, but I'm a sort of developmental imitator. If I see an idea that I like but it isn't developed fully I will steal it, absolutely shamelessly, but I will make it 20 times better than it was. Well, in my opinion anyway. I stand to be corrected on that, I may be wrong, which is I guess what doing art is all about really.
But I like originality and I try to employ it whenever I can, and whenever I can't, I try and disguise it.