Predicting the Future – Writer’s Resources

Sicfi fans are smiling together today. It is the day that Marty McFly traveled to in the iconic Back to the Future movie. Remembering that light-hearted, entertaining story about one boy who changed the future will have many of us tuning in once again (Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy ) to share the fun with our kids.

In the original script the time travel portal was a refrigerator. It’s easy to visualize the comedic scenes that could have spun off from that idea. Would removal of a certain item cause the time travel event? Would the characters have had to squeeze inside? Would grabbing the handle make the floor drop out from under Marty and company? It was a cool idea but I think that the DeLorean was a much racier choice.

It’s been fun to see the differences between the movies’ visions of the future and what actually transpired!

Time travel, as a story theme, is fruitful ground—ripe for the imagination. Economists, politicians, governments, storytellers, futurists, scientists, dreamers, children and their parents all wonder about the future.

As a writer, I find that scenes set in the past are much easier to imagine than ones set in the future. Information, history and research is easy to access. What I enjoy most abut that type of writing is weaving in little known facts—learning becomes effortless and fun. (Author, Ken Follett is a master of this technique.)

How can a writer prep for composing futuristic fiction?

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Currently I am working on a scenario where a character from the year 2135 travels back to the mid 1980’s.  Coming up a story rich in details that haven’t happened yet is challenging.

Since we have we have a 10-year-old son who will be ready to start his professional life somewhere around the year 2030, my research about the future has become a family affair. Together and separately we read and talk about articles in geek, science and technology magazines. We watch TV shows and documentaries where futurists entertain us with their speculations. The links below are to some of our favorites.

“The kids who will control the solar system are the ones who do not give up, who enjoy doing it and persist.” – Chuck Pell, Artist, Entrepreneur and Futurist and host of the TV series, Xploration Earth 2050.

Other Resources:

U.S. National Intelligence Council website Global Trends 2030. Articles submitted by academicians and think tank members discuss a variety of topics such as population, immigration, climate change, aging and more.

MAKE Magazine & Movement

The Futurist Magazine

As with any writing endeavor, research can take tremendous amounts of time. So much so, that it may be difficult to pinpoint where to stop.

As the cast and creators of Back to the Future point out, some future predictions were right and others were wrong. While you are working on a project, you have no idea if it will be a hit or a flop. Only time will tell.

In the end, all any writer can do is create strong characters, set the scene, make their best guess and enjoy the journey.

Today Show cast interview.


Creative Commons – Open Source & Freebies

I wanted to find music that was REALLY OK to use- legally – when I started making web videos for my small business customers. Coming from an industry where copyright infringement is about as common as eating, it makes one ultra sensitive to NOT perpetuating that behavior on others.

While on my musical quest, I discovered the Creative Commons movement. Open sourcing, in the technology sector, also got me to thinking…. Both of these groups are organizations and individuals that donate time, talents, knowledge and resources to further enhance the creative community and future generations of thinkers, artists and inventors. Creative Commons makes the legal jargon of licensing understandable (and easy to use) and open sourcing is design specifications, for physical things, that is freely available for others to modify or use to invent new things.

The geek in me so admires the technology folks…

Massimo Banzi & Arduino – 0pen source microconroller

I finally hit musical ‘pay dirt’ when I found At first it was almost impossible to believe that Dan O’Connor would allow people to use his music – for commercial use – royalty free. I was so grateful and thankful for his generosity. (Once I had produced the first few test videos and decided to ‘have a go’ at that business model, I went back to his website and sent him a donation.)

*also check out

I’ve begun making my own contributions to the Creative Commons movement – and will continue to do so.

Graphics & Imagery – Royalty free and OK for commercial uses

Sound Clips – Public Domain

The energy that we absorb from others when we work together cooperatively leads us to build, invent and discover new things that would have been unimaginable to our great-great grandparents. I’d like to see this spirit of sharing continue to expand!