Author's Notes 'n' Things

(Warning - long author-type rambling follows. Abandon ship now if you bore easily!)

I think I should have called this story "Topsy," because that's what it "growed like."

Dan says nobody will get that reference, but I think that's because his cultural literacy extends more toward song lyrics and old comic strips than anything else.

Crossfire has three distinctions that make it kind of a landmark for me: it's the longest thing I've ever written (at least up until very recently), the fastest thing for its size I've ever written (I started it on January 18 and finished it on March 4), and the first story I ever wrote that had a full complete outline. Usually I just sit down and start writing with only a vague idea of where I'm going and where I'm going to end up. I have stacks of stories that were never finished because they wandered off and lost their way somewhere among the bunnies in my head.

Let me tell you: those outlines are liberating. Just recently on a mailing list I'm on, one of my all-time favorite authors, Jacqueline Lichtenberg (who's an absolutely wonderful person, a fantastic author, and someone who's always happy to help out amateur writers trying to improve) discussed just this very thing: get the outline down to describe the plot, and then you can have fun building the story around it. And that is where the fun is. If you know where you're going, you can let your characters take over and tell you their story with only a minimum of reining them in to make sure they stay on track. It's sort of like watching a movie.

I started this story with two goals: to write something over 200 pages, and to shut Gabriel--who insisted on having his tale told--up.

As far as the 200 pages goes, that's all Shapcano's fault. :) If you haven't checked out his great Shadowrun fiction yet, please do yourself a favor and do so. You'll be glad you did. More than anything else, his work (both for its quality and sheer volume!) and his ongoing encouragement has spurred me on to try to stretch myself as a writer. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I wasn't sure if I had something that would go that long--that's why I sat down and did the outline. Wow, was I wrong! I should have believed Dan when he said it would get close to 300. Somewhere along the line I went from a kid who couldn't get a story to go past 10 pages to a fraggin' blabbermouth! Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

As for Gabriel, he's been around awhile. I think he first turned up in 1994, where he started out as the fixer for the team in my Shadowrun game. His character came into being for two reasons: I wanted a mysterious figure as a fixer, and I read Ryoichi Ikegami's "Sanctuary" manga and discovered Akira Hojo. Although the personalities are in no way similar (and Gabriel isn't Japanese), I always picture someone who looks like Hojo when writing about Gabriel. I was intrigued by the concept of someone that young and "beautiful" with such far-reaching power, so I decided to come up with a similar character for my campaign. I admit to being a bit dismayed when I read Tom Dowd's "Wyrm Talk," because I was convinced that I was original (at least in the Shadowrun universe) in my concept of a beautiful young man hiding a Great Dragon in disguise, but that's okay. There's nothing new under the sun, I guess. Besides, they're not much like each other, and Gabriel's still alive. :)

I wanted to acknowledge some people for their encouragement, support, and general putting-up-with-my-obsession, and then I'll shut up. This thing is getting too long as it is.

Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Please send me feedback --good, bad, or indifferent. (Nissan guy voice) Rats *love* feedback! (/Nissan guy voice) Tell me what ya liked, what ya didn't, and what you'd like to see more of.

And oh yeah: if you liked this one, be sure to check back soon for the sequel, "Inner Demons." You don't think I'd let Gabriel and Stefan off *that* easily, didja? :)

March (and September) 1998

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