Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where do you get your (crazy) ideas?

(A post especially for aspiring spec-fic writers.)

"Where do you get your (crazy) ideas?" It's the question that authors -- especially SF authors -- all dread. There is simply no short but useful answer. Our first course of action is to (try to) deflect the questioner with humor.

In 2011, I took a look at the topic in Inspiration. But after a serendipitous sighting (image nearby), the time seemed ripe for a revisit ...

This isn't my photo -- I spotted this road sign (on Virginia Route 28, just north of Dulles airport) while zipping past at about shh!/no-comment mph. But I felt confident that the web would provide. And sure enough ...

(An SF story practically writes itself.)

I probably don't want to know how SPNW85 did take this photo. Regardless, I'm glad s/he did. What SF author wouldn't?

If at least one SFnal story idea didn't leap out at you from that image, you're just not trying.

Still here, not off to tackle a new story? Perhaps you'll have better luck with Max Barry's droll essay (from io9) "How to Write a Great Science Fiction Novel in 7 Easy Steps." Wherein, amid much humor, he makes the point that an idea is just one part of the process ...

Story Behind the Book #2
Still curious? Then here's your chance to find inspiration and support a worthy cause. A few days ago the fine folks at genre website upcoming4.me released their second anthology of essays by authors about their books, their series, and/or the craft of writing speculative fiction.

Thirty-plus authors contributed essays to the project; all proceeds from sales of the ebook and the print edition will be donated to Epilepsy Action. The contributors are:
  • Ellen Ullman
  • S.M. Wheeler
  • Laurie Frankel
  • Paul McAuley
  • Marcus Sakey
  • Neal Asher
  • Ian Tregillis
  • Edward M. Lerner
  • Will McIntosh
  • Madeline Ashby
  • Nina Allan
  • Ken Scholes
  • Keith Brooke
  • Jasper Kent
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Ted Kosmatka
  • Daniel Abraham
  • Erin Hoffman
  • Samuel Sattin
  • Jack Skillingstead
  • Douglas Nicholas
  • Paul Tobin
  • Jill Shultz
  • Jay Posey
  • Eric Brown
  • Samit Basu
  • Gina X. Grant
  • Elizabeth Massie
  • Tom Vater
  • Django Wexler
  • Bradley Beaulieu
  • Jason M. Hough
  • Lou Morgan
  • Paul S. Kemp
Did you notice Your Humble Blogger in that list? My contribution to Story Behind the Book: Volume 2 - Essays on Writing Speculative Fiction is "Fate of Worlds -- Forty-two years in the making." It relates the back story of the entire Fleet of Worlds series.

If you glean nothing else from this fine set of essays, it'll be that no two authors work alike. It's not just you who has such a crazy approach -- and that affirmation alone is surely worth the price of admission ;-)

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