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10 April 2012

Recently I got the guidelines for the special issue of a regular magazine. David, the editor, is someone with whom I work well, and I always like the anthologies he produces besides the magazine. But I didn’t think I had any bright ideas for this one special magazine issue – Martians and Earthlings.  Yes, David edits the sub-genre known as ‘Weird Westerns’, which can be a lot of fun, and I’ve done a number of stories for his anthologies in the past – and this special issue sounded interesting. Anyhow I re-read the GL quite late on Sunday, wandered off to bed after I shut down the computer, and at 3am – sat up, got a very firm grip on the dream I’d just had before it vanished, grabbed for pen and paper and wrote out a synopsis. Then I went back to sleep.

Next afternoon I sat down with my notes and started writing. Once done I sat back, re-read the story and blinked. David’s later email descriped it as “an odd, quirky little story.” In fact it’s downright peculiar. Heaven only knows what my subconscious was thinking when it produced this, but it fitted the guidelines and then some. The story had earthlings, Martians, two famous very early SF writers, a Mexican bandit, a bookshop owner who knew more than he was saying, various desperados, and a cleanup unit. I emailed the story to David, noting that it was a seriously weird little tale, and he might not like it but that, as he knows, it’d be okay if he didn’t… He did. I logged on next morning to find that he’d accepted it. I’m very happy about that, You can’t get a much better – or faster – result than to write a story one day and sell it the next. And I hadn’t even had to think it up, I merely slept, dreamed, and wrote out the dream.

Of course now I’m wondering, did another me in an alternate universe actually think up the story and I merely acquired the end results of all her hard work? And if so have I inadvertently committed alternate universe plagiarism? The trials of a writer…




  1. And, you may not realize it, but you’ve got another great story sitting in fromt of you. If the alternate universe writer actually thinks up a story and you merely acquired the end results of all her hard work, then you win some major award and the alternate universe writer vows revenge…

    Comment by David B. Riley — 20 April 2012 @ 13:46

  2. David,
    I’m leaving that possibility to my subconscious and we’ll see. Not sure that if it does produce I’ll get a Weird Western though.

    Comment by lyn — 24 April 2012 @ 13:28

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