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Category Archives: Writers on Writing
Since my usual rambles have been limited lately by nerve pain from my damaged cervical spine—unfortunate genetics coupled with a literally rough-neck lifestyle—I’m going to revisit some highlights of my earlier travels. I’m working on a sequel to my … Continue reading
You hear all kinds of numbers for the plot lines available to authors — 27, 10, 7, 3, 2, 1. Personally, I believe that there are two basic plotlines, or possibly only one he “Someone leaves town/A stranger comes … Continue reading
Detective fiction writer Lawrence Block tells a wonderful story about how he was having all kinds of trouble writing a Bernie Rodenbarr novel because of the chaos at home. He rented a cabin at a writers’ retreat back East and … Continue reading
(Photo #1) Those familiar with my writing know that vivid settings are important to my storytelling—whether exotic foreign locales (including invented planets), the glorious wilderness, the shimmering world under the waves, or the flavor of downtown streets. I confess … Continue reading
Changer of Days: The making of a novel I am used to this – or I should be, it’s happened to me often enough. A character steps out of the ether, introduces himself or herself if I am lucky, … Continue reading
Currently I’m a writer at loose ends. I have no contracts and no deadlines at the moment. I’m giving myself the month of September off from writing because, what with school starting, is so hectic at my day job. But … Continue reading
My inestimable agent, Trodayne Northern, recently decided that what he really would like to have on the new Prentis Agency website he’s building is a series of love letters from his writers to their beloved genres. Here is my “how do … Continue reading
What do these two exhortations have in common? “Smile! And the world will smile right back.” “If you don’t stop pouting I’ll give you something to pout about.” Yep, in both cases, whoever is being spoken to is not happy. … Continue reading
Recently, I received this letter from Wendy, a fan with whom I’d been corresponding. It spoke deeply to me, and rather than answer it alone, I asked some of my writer friends to join in a series of round table … Continue reading
All time travel stories have to contend with a science fiction trope we might call the “trickle forward” effect. Some writers simply ignore the effect, others use it to great (and often funny or tragic) advantage.
Personally, I love writing time travel stories. I’ve penned about half a dozen of them, all published in Analog. I’m working on a sort of twisted time travel novel at the moment and am grappling with a complex plot that relies on the trickle forward effect from multiple points in time. Obviously, this can be a blessing or a curse.
I was discussing time travel stories with Larry Niven one weekend at a con when he told me that he has some slightly twisted friends who like to dress in black suits and go about in the guise of Time Travelers. They spend their time abroad policing each other. If one of the number so much as picks up a gum wrapper and throws it away, the others will insist that he find the wrapper and return it to the spot.
The point is, that while many of us who even think about time travel, consider major events such as assassinations and wars as turning points in history, the truth is that the removal of a gum wrapper may be just as telling in the long run. Continue reading