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.
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!
Check out the gorgeous cover for The Reinvented Heart, an exciting anthology of new stories about love and other relationships in the future, coming February 2022. I can’t wait to dig into the stories editors Jennifer Brozek and Cat Rambo have assembled. In their wise and gently insistent ways, these two editors have helped me keep on writing during deeply troubled times. I’m thrilled to have a story included among those written by such talented writers!