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Blog #13

It’s been an interesting week for aliens. First we have Oxford University citing research that suggests we are probably alone in the universe. We don’t like that idea. Usually when I’m doing a presentation, I invite questions. One that always shows up is whether I believe in UFO’s? My usual response is no. Bring one down onto my driveway, let me kick the tires, and I’ll let you know. The disappointment in the audience is clear. But I suspect FTL travel is not possible. If that’s true, visitors would have need years, or maybe centuries, to get here from nearby stars. If they invested that much time, why would they simply ride around near Phoenix and scare the devil out of a couple of pilots?

Blog #12

Attendees at writing workshops are inclined to argue that the most difficult aspect of putting together a novel is working out the plotline. They maintain that setting up the idea that will generate the action is easy, but that actually putting an outline together can be overwhelmingly difficult. Twenty years ago, Ursula LeGuin was a guest at our local library, along with Mike Bishop. We got into a discussion over whether trying to put together an outline was even a good idea at all. I don’t recall what Mike had to say on the subject, but Ursula stated that many of the ideas that add serious flavor to a novel tend to rise while the writer is actually doing the writing. And that setting up an

Blog 11

I’ve wanted for years to read Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. I finally got around to it Thursday and am halfway through. As expected, it’s brilliant. If there’s a writer I’d recommend to anyone hoping to launch a career in fiction, Hemingway is my choice. He said somewhere that the biggest problem most would-be fiction writers have is that they overwrite. (Or maybe that was Sheila Williams, Asimov’s editor.) Whoever actually made the comment was right. I don’t know anyone who’s ever drawn me into a piece of fiction the way Hemingway does. Most writers put too much in, and some of it is going to become a distraction. Even Dickens suffers from that tendency on occasion. The goal of a fiction