A Writer’s Habits: Kent Jones

What type of writing do you do?
Mainly fiction, some creative nonfiction.

Where is your favorite place to write?
Anyplace where I can watch people, like a cafe or public park, I’ll bring my typewriter or laptop and be inspired by little scenes or interactions around me. I also like just being alone in a quiet place at home or in nature.

What’s the first thing you wrote that you can remember?
Haha! This makes me laugh! The first thing I wrote was called “Power Wars of the Dinosaurs,” a sci-fi epic about dinosaurs that re-emerged after thousands of years hiding under the surface of the earth and attacked the humans on the surface. I bound it in foamboard and used puff-paints to decorate the cover! I still have it somewhere — I drew all the pictures too. That was in fourth grade, I think.

What’s the favorite thing that you have written?
Probably the favorite thing I have written is a dystopic thriller about a crooked rent-a-cop investigating a toxic explosion at an oil mine in Hellmouth, Alaska (fictional place), and ends up a victim of the hallucinogenic chemical that has been released into the air. It scared the pants off of one of the people who read it, and that made me feel pretty good.

When you start writing, do you start with a complete story in mind or do you pursue an idea and see where it takes you?
I find them everywhere, there are pieces I bring together from my family, my friends, stangers I have observed, nature documentaries, biology, psychology, the occult, popular culture, travel; it all anneals in my brain over time and sometimes a story comes together when it feels like it. I do have other methods, but I think most people would find them a little archaic, bizarre, or unforgivably decadent, and so  I will leave them to the imagination.

What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?
Probably “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon.

What writers have influenced you?
Cormack McCarthy, Edgar Allen Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Cervantes, Wallace Stegner, Flannery O’Connor, and others. Cormack McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” influenced me the most by far; it’s the “drizzlin’ shits.”

How do you know when you’ve reached the end of a piece?
When I read it through once, and I want to read it again.

How much do you consider the reader when you write?
I consider the reader a lot; I am most concerned with  the effect upon the reader’s imagination, and the ways that words on a page can spark images in the mind.

Is there a particular person who you share your early drafts with?
Anybody who wants to read them seriously.

What has your favorite writing class at Wes been?
I think Advanced Fiction Writing with Paula Sharp was my favorite; I don’t think I’d be as excited or skilled in writing as I would have been without her influence and tutelage.

Are you involved in any writing groups or events?
I attended the Wesleyan Writers Conference this past summer; a tremendously valuable experience that gave me access to some great writers, and lent me a sense of the business of books.

Do you hope to pursue writing in the future? How?
Hopefully by continuing to write every day, and submitting something that is good enough to be published.

Kent Jones is a senior Psychology major. A Writer’s Habits is a series of interviews with student writers on campus.

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