I had the great good fortune to be at the World Science Fiction Convention (commonly known as Worldcon) this past weekend in Reno (hence the dubbing “Renovation”). Made some comments on my twitter stream with the official hashtag #renosf I love it when a con has an official hashtag! I think they ought to be required at this point, or folks don’t know where to post or where to look.
But I digress. . .
I also attended Tim Powers’ Guest of Honor speech. Tim is a great speaker as well as a great writer. Toward the end of his talk, he concluded an anecdote about finding the interstices in history and using them to create new works. (Which leads me to another digression, squinches: implied spaces, or those little bits of architecture that are needed to join, say, vaulting to pillars, but are not really planned for). Tim’s comment about this process is:
Being hungry doesn’t prove that there is bread. But it does suggest that there may very well be! And that’s all a fantasy writer needs: May Well Be.
And I thought, “Yes!” It’s not the first time that I’ve been on a similar wavelength with Tim Powers, much to my delight. Although he often handles character differently than I would have, which is one reason I keep going back for more–to figure out why he makes the choices he does. But this thing about the implied spaces of history is very similar to how I’ve been working up outlines for the later books I hope to write. Looking for interesting conjunctions of person, place, timing. Seeking out strange events in corners where perhaps no other writer has thought to look.
I love it when a bit of history simply falls into place for me. Or when another bit sparks a new direction. It didn’t happen this way because of magic–but it may well have!