MORE OF THE SAME CHARACTERS
Readers sometimes wonder why writers return again and again to the same characters, putting them in new dilemmas after these intrepid heroes already got done saving their family/village/island/universe. Can’t the writers let them have a little well-earned time off?
Sure, we could…but we writers have spent more time with these characters than the readers have. There are a bunch more interesting adventures we ginned up for them. Or maybe we would simply miss them if we said farewell. Thus it is, I find myself revisiting a couple of my creations. One is Natalya Orlova, the defector from the Soviet Union who joined NASA in my alternate history of the 1960s space race. It appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Analog. The other is the heroine of a dinosaur story that has not yet been released.
Here’s another interesting aspect of writing new stories about characters: I never know if or when I will get an idea for what they do next. Of course, it could be what they did before the first story began that forms the basis for the next one.
My writing buddy Alan Smale has a new book out, which is always cause for celebration. Better yet, his HOT MOON is an alternate history of space exploration during the Apollo era of the 1970s. Ha! Does this sound somewhat familiar? I’m not surprised to see that the Moon is plenty big enough for two writers—probably a bunch more—engaged in thought experiments as to how the early days of American/Soviet competition to explore space and reach the Moon using human crews might have gone differently. Alan is not only a Sidewise award winning writer but also an astrophysicist researcher, so you know the science will be impeccable.Check it out.
Q & A ON WRITING ALTERNATE HISTORY OF WOMEN EXPLORING SPACE
On the day after Wally Funk successfully completed her flight on the Blue Origins rocket ship, what could be more appropriate than some thoughts about how the 1960s space program could have really included at least one woman astronaut? My Analog story, “The Next Frontier,” explores this possibility. For readers and writers, here’s how I took my initial idea all the way to the completed story, which I hope you will read, too!
WOMEN WRITING AND TALKING ALTERNATE HISTORY
Hey, you can watch my second appearance on Joe Compton’s Go Indie Now. Our panel of all women had a great time discussing what draws us to alternate historical events and how we go about turning these “what ifs” into stories. We look at how we weave together real events and historical figures with made up ones. Turns out, we’re all quite willing to discard some of what historians tell us when it gets in the way of a good story. Joe asked a bunch of insightful questions of Madeleine Holly-Rosing, A.F. Stewart, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Jenn Thompson and me. Check us out!
In case you missed my alternate history of space exploration during the 1960s, it’s available in the July/August 2021 issue of Analog Science Fiction.
ALTERNATE HISTORY OF THE DAWN OF SPACE EXPLORATION
You get to read my story, “The Next Frontier,” in Analog Magazine beginning June 15. I branch out into one of my favorite topics: the early days of humans venturing out beyond our home world. It’s an alternate history tale that I hope you will have as much fun reading as I did writing. Ah, it’s so tempting to say more, but nope. You’ll have to find out for yourself. Check out the July/August issue of Analog in print or digital.
WATCH ME ON GO INDIE NOW
I had lots of fun talking about writing short stories as a panelist on Joe Compton’s Go Indie Now. You can watch it on You Tube and find out how creators of short fiction do what we do. Joe asked a bunch of insightful questions of Jae Lavelle, A.F. Stewart, Alexander Gideon and me.
It turns out we came to short story writing in quite different ways, ranging from starting with novels, poetry, etc. You see, there’s no single path to becoming a published author. You definitely don’t need to be an English major much less get an MFA degree.
We also talk about starting with ideas characters, themed anthologies, and a bunch of things we learned along the way. Check us out!