Algorithms and Writing

By Sharon K. Gilbert

Writing characters who travel and speak numerous languages fluently is less of a challenge than once it might have been, and it’s all because of algorithms. Not only am I able to use translation programs online to help me obtain the correct French phrases, but I’m also able to access entire passages from novels and newspapers in other languages. Research for the historical portions of the plot and context are also much easier, thanks to the many online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and transcribed/scanned material. 

I began plotting out much of the Redwing Saga in the early 1990s, and at that time, the Internet was rather small, connecting researchers at various colleges and universities. As a student at Indiana University, I was able to spend a great deal of time on our Intranet and the Internet, asking questions on a variety of forums and even emailing other students in England. I thought that was cool, but being able to access a wealth of knowledge with a few keystrokes truly does make this job of writing historical thrillers much easier!