I’ve started a new novel in the fantasy genre. I’m excited about this one because it’s the first time I’ve ever begun a story with a clear picture of the protagonist. I’m prone to tepid main characters, saving all the spice and color for the supporting cast.
I’ve created names and descriptions for the major players and places, I have a sketchy idea of the overall story arc, and I have a good view of an important early scene. I suppose I could do some more diagramming and brainstorming and planning, but I think it’s time to dive in. I plan to write — not necessarily the opening scene, but a scene — this weekend.
Without giving too much away, I think I can describe it as Gulliver’s Travels meets Candide meets Gargantua and Pantagruel, except that it’s not much like any of them. (And I’m not talking only about the quality.)
As an alternative to letting my head explode, I’ve started a political blog: No milquetoast for me thanks, at http://nomilquetoast.blogspot.com/.
I read the TechDirt blog (http://www.techdirt.com) for the Intellectual Property (IP) and media stories, and that’s a big part of the content. TechDirt is run by Michael Masnick, who writes most if not all of the posts.
Masnick and I don’t seem to be near one another on the political spectrum; he comes across as a libertarian (and maybe a Libertarian, but I don’t know), whereas I’m more of a commie-pinko-socialist type. Nevertheless, we often arrive at similar positions on IP issues by different routes. And I agree with a few of the basic points he makes, in different ways, over and over: “intellectual property” is a metaphor, and a confusing one; the PR from publishing groups (whether print, music, software or film) exaggerates the rights of content creators and the problem of piracy, and minimizes the rights of the public — including the rights of content creators, when it comes to making use of existing content; and if you’re a scribe, you try to figure out how to make money from this new-fangled “printing press” gadget (or switch jobs), rather than asking for government restrictions on its use to protect your profession.
Agree with the positions or not, TechDirt consistently offers a thoughtful perspective on intellectual property issues.
Last night I finished brainstorming 19 ideas for TV series pilots. (19 was the goal I had set for myself. 20 just seemed impossible.) Most are in the fantasy/sf/horror area, but the few that aren’t surprised me. Especially one that’s more, um — well, it’s kind of — okay, it’s romance!
I don’t know that I’ll do anything with any of these ideas. It was more in the nature of an exercise. But maybe. If I never write a TV pilot, some of them might make good stories. How do I know which ones? If I began imagining not only a situation but vivid characters, and maybe an episode or two, or even a story arc for a whole season, that’s an idea worth further attention.
- I downloaded a word list of nouns, and created a Linux command-line alias… too much detail. I had my computer throw random pairs of nouns at me, and let those spark my thinking.If you’re a Linux user and want to do the same, download a word list of nouns and then run a command (or create an alias) similar to the following:
shuf -n 2 /home/jdoe/Documents/writing/files/nouns.txt
This works in Ubuntu, anyway. I don’t know about other Linux distributions, but I think shuf is pretty common.
- I daydreamed.
- I browsed news sites, and when something snagged my thoughts, I mind-mapped it.
- In a couple of instances, I cannibalized old ideas that never came to anything.
I remember the bedroom I shared with my brothers (I was the youngest, clothes out of fashion and never quite fitting): bunk beds and a cot, a footlocker full of books, the dresser with one drawer crammed with paperbacks, stacks of magazines — Evergreen, Popular Science, and camouflaged caches of Playboy and National Lampoon; the floor, yellow linoleum flecked with gray, peeling next to the heat vent and showing the next layer, red and black (spatters of hardwood here and there); the doorless closet with the sloped ceiling, the south window unscreened. One summer night when I was ten, both brothers gone I don’t know where, I heard a rustling under the bed and turned on the light. As the chain clinked against the bulb, a bat flew out and perched on a green felt hat hung on the wall. I crept from the room and slept on the couch. In the morning, the bat was gone. I never mentioned it to anybody. This was one thing I didn’t have to share.