Hello all –
Just got word that my guest post on the OSC’s Intergalactic Medicine Show blog, Side-Show Freaks, is now live.
Each month, IGMS asks the authors in the current issue to write a short essay about the creation of their story, the inspiration behind it, the process of writing it, etc. I wrote up a little something about how I came up with the idea for “Under the Shield.”
It’s funny when writers write about writing. I’ve always assumed that they go out of their way to make it seem that the process of coming up with ideas is really intensive and mysterious, that the execution is a combination of deliberate thematic planning and the workings of an inscrutable muse who either deigns to visit, or not, leaving them paralyzed and unable to work.
Now, I certainly think that some writers go out of their way (*cough*”literary”authors*cough*) to make it seem this way, but in writing about the process behind “Under the Shield” I found that just describing the process in a linear fashion might give it this kind of pretentious appearance.
I was at least honest about the themes appearing to me as I planned and wrote the story (this was always what Tim Powers said should happen, not the other way around). But what I didn’t mention in the blog post (but perhaps should have now that I think of it) is that the “process” as such didn’t really exist. I just sort of knew all this stuff about Tesla and one day the whole story (or, at least, the earliest version of it–which involved Tsarist agents killing a girl to keep Tesla quiet, and which didn’t make sense upon further reflection) kind of flashed in my mind.
Now, I don’t know that I call that “the muse” at work, because that was just the idea and a VERY rough plot and those are a dime a dozen, those are easy. The writing itself, and the reworking of the plot (hashed out in part at my dining room table with help from Tony Pi and Costi Gurgu during our Stop-Watch Gang 24-Hour Write-a-thon), was bloody hard work.
There was no waiting for inspiration to get to work. Just me at the keyboard, trying to figure out why this girl ended up dead in the subway, and what on earth it had to do with Tesla’s death-ray. And at least genre authors are honest and will tell you that it’s 99% hard work.
Doesn’t sound quite so sexy now, does it?
You can find the post at the IGMS blog here.