December 28, 2011

About writing for Analog...

Well, after lots and lots of revision, I have finally sent "The Liars" out to Analog. Whew! I am so happy to have it out the door, after spending four months longer on it than I'd planned. I shall now, as is natural in these circumstances, be crossing my fingers that Dr. Stanley Schmidt enjoys it.

I have enormous respect for Analog and its editor. You can't help but admire someone who is not only a Ph.D. in physics but who speed-reads every single submission to the magazine. That is just amazing to me. He is a very kind, soft-spoken fellow in person, and I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that he is also amazingly intelligent and articulate. For all of these reasons I am very very careful when I write for them. Here's what I'm careful about:

1. If I'm writing a puzzle story (and I usually am), I want to make sure that none of the pieces are missing.

2. I am absolutely strict with myself when it comes to science. In terms of linguistics, I have the tools to do this on my own. I'm also pretty solid when it comes to character psychology (another science).

3. I am fanatical about the hard science involved. When it comes to physics, I am not an expert, so I always "check my work" with writer friends of mine who are also physicists. Given my connection with the Analog writers, I have a few of these folks at this point and they have been fabulous about helping me keep my science rock solid.

Of course, just having a puzzle with no pieces missing, good linguistics and psychology, and solid physics are not sufficient to mean an Analog sale - but I do consider them necessary. Analog is a very principled place, and I've been honored to appear them as many times as I have. I will cross my fingers now and let you know how it turns out for "The Liars."