The theme for this puzzle began with a dream, I suppose. Waking one morning, one thought immediately crossed my mind . . . [17-Across]. I have no idea where that came from, but it had the markings of a promising theme. At first I wanted to pursue a theme related to celebrities or notables generally. My approach soon morphed into a focus on writers alone, for any number of authors could be adapted in recognizable ways and I could use an appropriate revealer. As theme entries for the puzzle began to crystallize, shorter ones proved very useful for highlighting diverse genres and writers. The trick was to find abbreviations that were accessible to solvers, so while working with David to perfect the fill in a couple of corners, I eventually changed ELF (referencing environmental politics) into something else.