This is the view of San Franscisco in morning fog, taken from the deck of Ellen Klages' house. Jack and I are staying here for a few days. We had dinner with Ellen and a whole slew of SF people, including Terry Bisson, Brad Templeton, Jacob and Rina Weismann. Last night we both read at SF in SF, with Terry Bisson moderating a post-reading panel of sorts. Jack read his short story "Everyone Bleeds Through," and I read the opening of a very long novella that Tachyon will publish as a book in April, "Before the Fall, After the Fall, During the Fall." The whole thing was fun.
The panel considered, among other topics, the question "Where do you begin a story? What occurs to you first?" For Jack, it is an image he wants to explore: "a woman standing at an open window, say, and feeling a rush of cold air on her skin. Who is she? What is going on?" For Terry, it is an idea: "What if bears discovered fire? How might that happen?" For me, it is a character: "What if this fifteen-year-old kid had to carry out a dangerous mission he was completely incapable of understanding? What would that feel like?" It was a good discussion.