Making the Best of Patterns in the Wash

One could call it a coincidence—mere happenstance—but I prefer to consider it portent. I just got back from the 2013 Superstars writing seminar with Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, James A. Owen, Eric Flint and Tracy Hickman as instructors.  I’ll be delving into some of what I learned there in an upcoming post, but what I want to relate here is something that came from one of the guest speakers, namely Jim Minz.

Jim Minz’s name—he’s an editor at Baen Publishing—has come up a number of times over the past few months. I’ve had several people tell me I need to figure out how to get my writing in front of him. During his initial panel at the seminar, he talked about himself and Baen, what they’re looking for and what they don’t need.  Mixed in with the other chunks of significant information I absorbed was something that caught me off guard.  Minz mentioned Heinlein several times, and in the context of both Baen and himself considering Heinlein as both an influence and a bar to strive for.

I grew up with Heinlein being one of my favorite and most influential authors. The more Jim spoke, the more I realized that my stuff might very well be an excellent fit for Baen.  But that’s not where the portent comes in.  It comes from a little bit of writing that just saw the light of day.

Several weeks ago Evan Braun over at The Fictorians contacted me and asked if I would do a blog on who my influences were.  At the time I made some passing comment about sci-fi and anime.  However, when I sat down to write, something very different surged up from inside the addled insane asylum I call a consciousness.

That article was published on the morning of the last day of the Superstars writing seminar and, coincidentally, twelve hours after I had dinner with Jim Minz.

Do I believe in the good intentions of the universe?  No. The universe is indifferent at best, handing out boon and disaster like so much candy on Halloween, and with equal disregard for what goes into the next goblin’s bag.   Do I believe in coincidence?  No.  Sometimes there are patterns in the wash (read or watch Sagan’s Contact to get that reference), and we have to keep an eye out for them and take advantage of them when the opportunity presents itself.

The article, Superstars and Jim Minz are all threads dipping down from the universe towards me, and it’s now up to me to tie them together.

Make no mistake, I’ll be doing my best to do just that, and you can read my full blog “Seeking Wisdom and Import from Bastions of the Banal” over at The Fictorians if you want to get a better understanding of why I’m jazzed about the portents of the past few days.


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