Talk about a Mac fan. Author Kevin J. Anderson, who has written over 30 solo novels and 50-plus with others, has used about 18 Macs in his career.
The science fiction writer’s main tool is, naturally, his imagination. But his Macs (he current has a PowerBook and Power Mac) are also important.
“They’re tools I use all the time,” he says in an Apple Hot News story, entitled, Fantastic Voyages on a Mac. “I use them naturally, without thinking, which is what you’re supposed to do when you’re writing.”
Anderson is currently co-authoring a new series of Dune novels (prequels to the series by Frank Herbert) with another Mac user — Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son.
“The Mac helps so much because it’s invisible,” Anderson told Apple. “Brian simply sends me his files, and I get to work — no conversion necessary. His format comes across as my format. It takes an entire brainless step away from the work, and that’s why I like the Mac so much.”
The writers also use their Macs to get ready to write. Before actually penning chapters, they create a list of color-coded chapters in the computer.
“All the Emperor’s chapters are in blue and all the bad guys’ storylines are in red. All the desert storylines are in brown. So we can look at the storylines and say ‘Woah, it’s been some time since we’ve had a blue storyline, so we better move a chapter up.'”
To help keep track of the intricacies of the Dune universe, Anderson had six of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novels scanned into a Power Mac and the copy cleaned up. Now he and Brian Herbert can search on keywords and extract what they need. What’s more, using these files, Herbert compiled a massive concordance, cataloging all the obscure references in the original novels.
Anderson also takes his PowerBook with him when he travels. He sometimes visits the places that inspire him in order to get himself in the proper mood to write the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Lady Jessica, or the X-Files’ Mulder and Scully.
“For my X-Files book ‘Ruins,’ which was set in the Yucatan and Mayan ruins in Mexico, I had to get on a Mexican bus and travel two hours each way to get there,” Anderson said. “Sitting with my PowerBook in my lap, I rapidly typed up details of the jungle and the roadside stuff we were seeing, because Mulder and Scully had to see these things too. The best part is that when I got home, I just grabbed the file. I didn’t have to re-copy all my notes or re-type them.”
Both Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are writers and have formed a company, Wordfire, to extend their careers. Moesta uses her own Power Mac to maintain and update the pages of their Web site. The authors use a variety of software to run their business. For more details, check out the Apple story.