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RFC, lightly roasted celery

In the breaks in his writing schedule, David has promised to stop by and chat for a while!
RFC, lightly roasted celery
Post by cthia   » Mon May 19, 2014 12:46 pm

cthia
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Posts: 8189
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http://www.davidweber.net/pearls
I stumbled across this gem of a pearl. This makes me want to shake off the bondage of procrastination and read the SafeHold series. And I'm gonna! If you haven't read this pearl, give it a whirl.

David Weber wrote:
I promise I wasn't really smoking any prohibited substances when this came to me. But, I thought, what the heck, if Heinlein could do it, so can I. :twisted:

I wonder if it's fanfic when the author does it?

Um, RFC, The Earl of Duckkdom has been pretty consistent about that fanfic thing. Seems it is only fanfic when someone other than the author does it. So although what you write is fan fiction (assuming you're your biggest fan) it's not fanfiction, because what you write is real. Huh? Damn, I'm even more confused now. Doh!

But let's tackle that first line...
I promise I wasn't really smoking any prohibited substances when this came to me. But, I thought, what the heck, if Heinlein could do it, so can I. :twisted:

You opened the door on this one RFC...I'm just saying. I always wonder how an author comes by all of his incredible material. Where do you get the inspiration? What led you to the idea of sidewalls? Apollo? Wormhole Junctions capable of a limited mass translation? You must constantly have the Honorverse on your mind at all times, in your head, and inevitably go to bed with it on your brain. Especially after falling asleep writing well into Sharon forbidden times of the night.

Long ago I often wondered what the dreams and nightmares must be like for authors. Let's think Avatar and Matrix just for reference. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks I'd want to wake up in a nightmare belonging to Alfred Hitchcock, or Stephen King. Poor guys, I would have to take Valiums, just to nap. I imagine their dreams to be like Freddy Krueger...don't fall asleep now! Where do they get their inspiration? What was Hitchcock doing the exact moment he conceived of a bunch of out of control homicidal Birds? And I really hope that I am not right to worry about an author's dreams and nightmares. My fianceé thinks that authors of the horror genre are probably immune to the horrors that frighten his audience. But that doesn't feel instinctive to me. For if something doesn't frighten the author, how can he think it'll frighten his audience? And an even worse thought, if indeed an author is immune to the horrors he bestows upon his audience, then what the hell is it that frightens him?!

I say again, I would not want to Avatar or Matrix into one of Stephen King's nightmares. First I'll say it, then I'll do it. And my waiting friends standing around to shock me back to consciousness will know the sign by smell. "He's shat, bring him back!"

Which brings me to you RFC. You're the closest I can come to having a chance to ask an author about that. Do you care to share with the class where you've come by some of your inspiration? And do you have nightmares? I'd like to Avatar into one of your dreams, if I can be assured of appearing at Honor's shower scene where Young thought it was Christmas and found out it was Halloween. Or any other shower scene with Shannon, Abigail, Alice, Estelle...
But I wouldn't want to appear in the middle of a missile storm, unless I have Matrix control and can manufacture my own counter missiles!

So, would you care to share some of your inspiration with us? And what about those nightmares? Does poor Sharon have to constantly wake you in the middle of the night "They've fired Pookie! The counter-missiles fired! We rolled ship! We're okay!?"

You know, it sure would be nice if you'd publish your ongoing diary which includes ideas you were working on, things discarded, little notes jotted in the margins, sources of inspiration, your moments of Eureka, freehand impromptu drawings, etc....minus the personal things of course, like 'remember to get milk.' You've probably already discarded an entire wealth of info. It would sell. I'd snap it up like pie! It would also allow us in awe of the talents of such an exalted writer an inside view of 'how stuff works.'

Just saying.
Just begging.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: RFC, lightly roasted celery
Post by cthia   » Mon May 26, 2014 9:27 am

cthia
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Posts: 8189
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

Although many remain, this particular interview shed a little light. Okay, lots of light.

He Had to Die:
A Conversation with David Weber
— by JEREMY L. C. JONES —

David Weber has been writing about Honor Harrington for twenty years. The original proposals, as sent to Jim Baen back in the 90s, promised space opera featuring a female naval officer. Harrington was supposed to die in the fifth book in the series. That was half a dozen books ago. Harrington owes her longevity to the fact that her character doesn't stagnate; she grows from novel to novel.


All in all, Weber publishes more than half a million words a year despite a nearly-crippling wrist injury in the 1990s. The accident left him with a shattered wrist and a looming deadline. The doctors put in pins and screws. Undaunted, Weber invested in voice recognition software. The software, if anything, has increased his productivity.


Each of Weber's books is thick, complex, and gripping. His world-building is thorough and steeped in a love of military history, politics, and human nature. Not to mention technology. Furthermore, he learned from reading the novels of Robert Heinlein, as Weber put it, that "you might as well write what you meant to say."


"I don't have one story I want to tell in perfect fashion," Weber said. "I have a lot of stories I need to tell."



Do your characters ever really surprise you? Not minor surprises, either, but in major story arc altering ways. Surprises that really mess with the big picture, with the whole series.

Not in the Honorverse books. In a couple of other books I've had trouble with characters going where I expected them to go, especially in terms of personal relationships. I don't try to nail things down in too much detail before I write the book. I'm having to do more of that now because of the need to coordinate my timeline. I'd plan something like, "Courier boat departs Manticore for Spindle with news of Eloise Pritchart's arrival. And here's the date." I know how long it takes that courier boat to get to Spindle. That kind of detail planning I have to do now simply because of the distances involved. But in terms of absolutely detailed planning on how the characters are going to develop? That I let happen by ear.

For example, I knew that Hamish and Honor were going to wind up together. Originally, I planned on their not marrying and on Emily realizing what was going on and essentially covering for them. Eventually Emily would die, and Honor would marry Hamish.

Well, two things happened. One is I discovered that I like Emily even more than I expected to. The other one was that watching these characters interact and having structured the societies of Manticore and Grayson the way that I have [certain things] became inevitable. But I didn't plan it that way.

If I know the character is going to be a central, important character, I try to get the physical image of the character in my mind. I try to get the main personality traits, the ones that are the main motivators in this character's life, in place. Not in a lot of detail. I just know this is how this person thinks. Then I throw the character into a scene. Sometimes the scene determines what this character is going to have to be. Then I just let that person be whatever that person has to be.

When I introduced Andrew LaFollet, I knew he was going to be a Grayson armsman. I knew what the basic mindset of a Grayson armsman was and I knew that he was going to be personally dedicated to Honor. I can't remember if I ever told people in the books but Andrew's brother was an officer in the Protector's palace security. He was killed in an assassination attempt that Honor foiled. Andrew volunteered for the Protector's guard because Honor completed the task Andrew's brother had been unable to complete in protecting the Protector and his family. Andrew joined her guard originally to repay that debt. Then, of course, probably, I think, I suspect that if Andrew had not been a Grayson armsman and if he had been a Prolong recipient, then his relationship with Honor might have been much closer to her relationship with Hamish. It was unthinkable for him to initiate something like that, though. He just could not have done it. And it was equally unthinkable for her to do it because of her position of authority and because she was a Prolong recipient and he wasn't. That was one reason Honor made him her son's armsman. In many ways, Hamish was a surrogate father and a surrogate husband. All of that was going on in the back of my brain, but I never formulated it specifically for the reader.

And in some ways I hadn't realized it for myself until I looked at the scene and said, "That's why he did it!"



You talk about your characters as though you read your books instead of write them.

I write the book to find out how the book comes out. That's what let's me maintain the production level that I maintain.

For a long time I knew people would be angry at me for killing Andrew in Mission of Honor. It was a given. I was surprised by how many people said — as I'd hoped they would — that he died the way he would've wanted to die. For want of a better term, his was a good death.

But I wrote the scene four or five times and tried not killing him and the book didn't work. It took me a while to figure out why that was. Then it hit me. Honor had lost practically her entire family on Sphinx, but aside from an occasional name you hadn't actually met them. You knew Andrew. So when Honor lost him, you understood her pain, and, therefore, by extension, you understood the pain of the loss of all those people you'd never met.

That's why Andrew had to die.

What it came down to, for me, was, "I can't kill Andrew. I gotta kill Andrew. Why do I have to kill Andrew?"


To read the entire interview, which is well worth reading, Hyper into Cyberspace and take this exit junction:
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/weber_interview/

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: RFC, lightly roasted celery
Post by dreamrider   » Fri May 30, 2014 10:06 am

dreamrider
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Posts: 1108
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:44 am

Dear David,

You left out the part where the Apocolypse Troll protagonists descendants brought the transtemporal drive technique to the Fifth Imperium.

dreamrider

BTW - was the Fifth Imperium so called by you as an homage to Traveller? dr
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Re: RFC, lightly roasted celery
Post by Bolo's Honor   » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:45 pm

Bolo's Honor
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Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:42 pm

cthia wrote: ... I always wonder how an author comes by all of his incredible material. Where do you get the inspiration? What led you to the idea of sidewalls? Apollo? Wormhole Junctions capable of a limited mass translation? ...


I have never seen a technical explanation of Mr. Weber's physics, but I independently came up with very similar mechanisms based on the Traveler role-playing game. The spacecraft simply could not work with reaction-based rockets, and gravitics was a posited part of the tech-base. In my own gameworld, gravitics is also one of the fundamental ways of achieving faster-than-light travel: if you can generate a "Black-Hole quality" outward-thrusting gravitational gradient completely around yourself, you become effectively cut off from the universe - your position is just a mathematical abstraction. Thus, E=Mc² is not the barrier when there literally is nothing else for your speed to be "relative" to...

Thus, I suspect that Mr. Weber's "Wedges" are gravitic distortions projected in a wedge-shape, across the "bow" of a spacecraft. This provides essentially inertialess acceleration for the ship. It can't be a leading point-source (as some authors posit), because the inverse-square effect would cause destructive tidal variants across the length of a large vessel at any significant acceleration (like the several hundred or even thousand G's Mr. Weber posits). A planar source (or, in this case, a pair of them) would not produce the inverse-square effect as much, at least to an object significantly smaller than the plane, and not too far away (or too near an edge). It would probably be an approximately linear drop-off in acceleration -vs- distance-from-source.

Mr. Weber's Drive-Wedges seem to be many miles across, so the linear drop-off approximation probably works for reasonable-sized vessels (say, 1% the length of the shortest in-plane dimension of each sidewall?).

The gravitational forces in the actual plane-of-effect would be outrageous, of course - annihilating anything that passes through them. Alternatively, if you can actually project a gravitational source, why not its reverse? Then you get presser-beams and force-fields. A plane with an attractive field on the "near" side, and a repulsion field (anti-gravity) on the other side might give an "easy" way to balance the energy-requirements, as well as inherently providing a force-field. Put this in front of a ship, and it will go forward, shielded from anything it runs into. However, it could not actually "see" where it was going (black-hole quality repulsion-fields won't let light penetrate). Thus...a pair of carefully-balanced, angled "sidewalls". You can see where you are going, can adjust your trajectory and acceleration by "tilting" the sidewalls independently, and otherwise get most of the characteristics that Mr. Weber's spacecraft exhibit (e.g. an unprotected but smallish "throat", impenetrable sidewalls, a wide-open "up-the-kilt" skirt, and unprotected top and bottom areas - thus, the need to rotate the ship to interpose sidewalls).
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Re: RFC, lightly roasted celery
Post by timmopussycat   » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:11 pm

timmopussycat
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:41 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

cthia wrote:Which brings me to you RFC. You're the closest I can come to having a chance to ask an author about that. Do you care to share with the class where you've come by some of your inspiration? And do you have nightmares? I'd like to Avatar into one of your dreams, if I can be assured of appearing at Honor's shower scene where Young thought it was Christmas and found out it was Halloween. Or any other shower scene with Shannon, Abigail, Alice, Estelle...
But I wouldn't want to appear in the middle of a missile storm, unless I have Matrix control and can manufacture my own counter missiles!

So, would you care to share some of your inspiration with us? And what about those nightmares? Does poor Sharon have to constantly wake you in the middle of the night "They've fired Pookie! The counter-missiles fired! We rolled ship! We're okay!?"

You know, it sure would be nice if you'd publish your ongoing diary which includes ideas you were working on, things discarded, little notes jotted in the margins, sources of inspiration, your moments of Eureka, freehand impromptu drawings, etc....minus the personal things of course, like 'remember to get milk.' You've probably already discarded an entire wealth of info. It would sell. I'd snap it up like pie! It would also allow us in awe of the talents of such an exalted writer an inside view of 'how stuff works.'

Just saying.
Just begging.


The late Isaac Asimov had some wise words on this. See:
http://www.epubsbook.com/ScienceFiction ... 27302.html
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