Here are some pieces about my writing process. Everyone has to find their own path. This usually means years of groping around in the dark, writing story after story and revising endlessly. Eventually you discover the light switch. I vividly remember my light switch moment. Staring at the draft of a story that had been rejected a few times, suddenly I could see it. I picked up a black Magic Marker and started drawing lines through the unnecessary words and sentences. When I was done with the first page it looked like one of those government redacted documents. There were almost as many lined-through sentences as there were untouched ones. What remained was a nearly publishable story (nearly, because nothing is easy).
I wrote the following essays in support of the Alien Contact anthology that included my story "What You Are About To See," and for the publication of my novel, Life On The Preservation. In them I talk about those specific stories, but there are some useful observations about writing in general. I hope you at least find them diverting.
I used to fly airplanes. I didn’t do it professionally but as a private, recreational flier. All through high school I rented Cessnas and gave my friends scenic, and on some occasions hair-raising, tours of the airspace over the Puget Sound Basin. Eventually, I think I was twenty-two, I decided to try gliders. I had the idea this would be more “pure.” On my first instructional flight I learned something invaluable about staying up in the air without an engine–and about writing.
How To Stay Original
Where do stories come from? One Famous Writer in our field used to say he got his ideas from a mail order service in Schenectady, NY. He was kidding, of course. But what's the real answer?