Some people decide at an early age that all they want to be is a writer. A high school classmate of mine was like that, actively Gathering Material while the rest of us were basically being kids. His career never got off the ground—he sold a couple fillers to Reader’s Digest—but Robert E. Howard and my late friend Karl Edward Wagner had the same attitude and were extremely successful in their time.

I wasn’t like that: I was going to be a lawyer. I intended to write and sell at least one story, but writing was only a hobby so far as I was concerned. This distinction affects everything that comes after.


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