• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


Well, now–here’s a question to keep you entertained while I’m gearing up to visit the UK: What sorts of things might you like to see in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, Volume II?

I’ll be working on this book during 2010 (yes, yes, along with Book Eight, and a few other things, no doubt), but am just beginning to form up an idea of the potential contents. There will of course be

Detailed synopses of

“Cast of Characters” listings for all the aforementioned books. These lists note which books each character appears in, and give a thumbnail description of each character (for those readers who have trouble remembering who’s who).

A Comprehensive, Alphabetized and Phonetic Glossary of All the Gaelic in All the Books (so far). [g]

Interesting Features on Writing in General (chunk writing vs. outlines, how to organize scenes so you can find them again, the Fine Art of Backing Up, etc.) and Writing These Books in Particular (the “shape” of each book, internal structure, and interconnections)

Reader’s Guides (book-club discussion questions and commentary)

Features on Costume and Cookery of the 18th Century

A Truly Massive (but well-organized!) Bibliography, of allllll the References used in writing the more recent Books.

Many Inspiring and Beautiful Photographs of the Scottish Highlands (and perhaps a few less inspiring ones of the author) taken by Barbara Schnell, the German translator for the books.

A Selection of the most Piquant, Poignant, Offensive, and/or Hilarious (whether deliberately or inadvertently) Letters received–and the Author’s Unexpurgated Responses to Same.

Controversy: Commentary and discussion on the more controversial scenes, themes, or incidents in the various books.

So….what else? All suggestions welcome!

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166 Responses »

  1. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting
    my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally
    lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

    Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

    • Dear John–

      My main writing time is at night, between midnight and 4 AM. I normally settle the dogs with a couple of bones [g], then light a candle with a brief prayer, (I just say, “Lord, let me see what I need to see; let me do what needs to be done.”) then sit down and do a quick run-through of email and Twitter while I sip my Diet Coke and finish waking up. Then I start working.

      It helps, btw, if you’ve left something set up _to_ work on, the last time you were at it. I.e., while your brain is still humming at the end of a work session, write down a few words of what you think you might work on next–maybe just the kernel of an idea, or maybe a paragraph of the scene itself. That gives you something to latch onto immediately, to get back into the page.

      Best of luck!


  2. I’d love to have a list of herbs/tonics how, they are made/found and what they were used for. Whether soaps or medicines.

  3. A timeline with years/places/important characters. My best guess, a chronology. Which book were they in France with Bonnie Prince? Which book did they go to the Ridge? Is there a real place like Fraiser’s Ridge (Grandfather Mountain perhaps)?

    Outlander 1 Virgins 1740
    Outlander 2 A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows 1941 1941
    Outlander 3 Outlander 1743 1946
    Outlander 4 Dragonfly in Amber 1744-46 1968
    Outlander 5 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Hellfire Club 1757
    Outlander 6 Lord John and the Private Matter 1758
    Outlander 7 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Succubus 1758
    Outlander 8 Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade 1759
    Outlander 9 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Haunted Soldier 1759
    Outlander 10 The Custom of the Army 1759
    Outlander 11 The Scottish Prisoner 1760
    Outlander 12 Plague of Zombies 1761
    Outlander 13 Voyager 1766-67 1968
    Outlander 14 Drums of Autumn 1766
    Outlander 15 The Fiery Cross 1767-68
    Outlander 16 A Breath of Snow and Ashes early to mid 1770′s 1970
    Outlander 17 An Echo in the Bone 1777-78 1972
    Outlander 18 The Space Between 1778
    Outlander 19 Written in My Own Heart’s Blood 1778 1973-74

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