In the Beginning of November…

A new month begins and a new twist to life. This is the first day at a new office in downtown Toronto. Not that I’ve changed positions, I’m still working as a mobile developer for Web Impact. For my coworkers, this is nothing new since they all worked at the Toronto office before moving out to Mississauga. Unfortunately the Mississauga location did not provide what we needed and so we are moving back for now.

This morning everything is a little different. Figuring out new schedules, new routes and a new location. Should be fun. Other than that I’ll still get to enjoy working on mobile coding, with all its unique challenges.

One challenge I worked on this past while is writing. Not a lot of progress on the novel. But I did manage to submit two short stories for publishing. One to the Fall issue of the Alexandrian, which should come out soon. And one to 365 Tomorrows, which will hopefully get accepted too.

Other than that I still have load of catching up on work. I still feel a bit behind. Anyways, this next stop is mine. Catch you later.

Some Food for Thought

Surfing on the web is often a fun way to kill time. However on occasion you do hit some gems. And in this case some gems about the economy and the future!

Writer’s Block – Echoes in the Endless Returns & Totally Unknown Writers Festival

Last week I mentioned that I restarted writing of my novel.  Well actually I’ve restarted the writing of TWO novels.  Yes, I’m writing TWO novels in tandem.  And while it sounds like  a bad idea, this can work since I can switch between the novels depending on the mood I’m in.  If I’m in the mood for something epic, I’ll continue with A Collection of Shards.  If I’m in the mood for something more quiet and personal, I’ll work on Echoes in the Endless.  In either case, I’m planning to work on both simultaneously.  Also I can not give an estimate of when I will finish writing these books.  My previous estimates and personal due dates came and went, and the book writing did not progress.

Echoes in the Endless will look similar to the earlier variants that I started working on.  However instead of the majestic huge starships of space operas, I’ve taken a liking to the gritty grim spacecraft of today.  I also enjoyed hard science fiction, that involved reality based stories.  Yes authors go into great lengths to explain things and it does make stories less “plastic epic”.  However these constraints lead to more provocative unconventional stories, and I plan on writing those and not another clone of “Battlestar Galactica” or “Star Trek”.  A warning to all readers, neither of these books are meant to be happy.  I’m a realist not an optimist so I tend not include pink tinted glasses with my stories.

Finally, I’ve been initially invited to contribute to the next Totally Unknown Writers Festival.  Everything is still in the conception stage, however with any luck I’ll read something at next year’s show.

And for kicks, I read the flash science fiction 365 Tomorrows a lot.  Here is an awesome piece: EULA by Cesium Artichoke

We Are Away

And so it begins.  Yesterday I finished writing the notes for my novel, A Collection of Shards.  I mapped out the basic plot, main characters and setting in those notes.  I am impressed with how the idea for the novel is coming together.  The novel will have a tight plot with lots of action.  I plan on putting a lot of attention to details.  The story will feel visceral at times, dreamy at others.  I based my characters on real people, should they should feel alive.  On top of that I plan on narrating the story in a weaving manner, to make it feel layered.  And thanks to the real locations and technology, I can attempt to write a story based on an “altered reality”, similar to that of Strugatsky’s The Roadside Picnic.

With the novel already well planned, I’ve started writing the first chapter.  I changed the beginning to a totally new scene that I’ve not worked with before.  Still I’m excited about writing this novel.  It make turn out as the next science fiction epic.

I’ll Be Right On It

It is a bit early in the morning to come up with material to write about.  And I did not get much sleep this night.  Today I probably wouldn’t be able to stop yawning.  And insane amounts of coffee will only keep me from trying to take a nap on the new office’s couch.  All that said, I am on track with my current work: personal, professional and long-term.  I’ve even managed to get to those much delayed tasks.  Yesterday I restarted my coding projects.  Today I will dedicate some time on building a portfolio: in writing, graphics and coding.  And I really need to clear the dust off my resume too.

The key statement for expressing the feel of these past few days should be: I’ll be right on it.  And I will.  Things get done and on time.  The only thing missing is sleep, but I’m sure that will return if I keep at it.

As an aside, I played Alpha Centauri this morning.  What a difference lower the difficulty a single level makes.  At the moment I’m kicking ass and taking names.  I can also verify that what they say about state theory is true.  It is all about power and domination over a territory.  It takes incredible restraint to not exercise aggressive military power, especially when you know you can get away with it.  Hmm… that should prove a great uncurrent theme in my novel.

Final aside: I have to rewrite the first chapter of my novel.  I can’t adapt any of my previous writing to it, in any real degree.  I can use some ideas and elements here and there, but regretably it looks like the first chapter needs a rewrite.  The overall plot and characters feel strong.  The setting needs some thought, since the terrain in reality does not work a 100% with my idea.  Anyways, I plan on just writing the rough drafts first.  Then I brace for painful edits later on.

Update on Writing

Yesterday I wrote the first section of chapter 1 of my novel.  I’m not sure about all the elements of the novel, especially the names and characters.  I might not want to base my characters completely on real life friends.  But I will work with what I have as a rough, rough first draft.  I plan on hashing out the novel first, and then start editing once I am further into the writing.  I might even forego editing until I finish the entire novel in the rough.

At the moment, the first part of the chapter now lives.  I plan on writing two more parts, since the story will consist of two or three interwoven threads or storylines.  And for consistency, I will keep that style throughout the book.  I might merge the storylines together at the end.  That seems like a popular solution to wrapping up a novel, or maybe not.  I plan on crossing that bridge when I get there.

Bruised and Sore

Uff! I’m bruised and tired from yesterday’s taekwondo session. The warmup consisted of a lot of running, jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups, and leg raisers. At the end I wanted to pass out from panting exhaustion on the floor. A great workout, followed by practice on kicking and hand motions. There is so much for me to perfect, but I think I’m making good progress. Still I’m months away from a black belt. Give a year or so. 🙂

This morning however I could not be bothered to get up. Or rather got up stiffer than a stiff. And sore, and parts of my anatomy (limbs I mean, I don’t know what you are thinking about) aren’t fully cooperative.  Movement in general today feels constrained and straining. I’m sure it will wear off by the time I go for the next session.

Fortunately, muscular bruising hasn’t adversly affected my thinking. The story and ideas for the novel are rapidly taking shape. And I’m enjoying writing it, since I have not thought out the entire story in such detail that it bores me. Instead every paragraph explorers a new thought and dream. I’m not sure how it will turn out and that is what makes it exciting. Also I started reading up on Qt development. I must say that the more I read about Qt and C++, the more I like those two technologies. I’m already looking forward to coding up my first C++ applications in the near future. Should be quite exciting. And finally a word about my secret project… I’ve done a fair bit of work on it, and I’m just dying to write about it. This project challenges me in everyway that I want to grow professionally and artistically. However I can’t openly talk about it… or maybe I could. We’ll see I guess once I have something concrete to show for my pains.

All in all I am bruised and sore.  But I’m excited with the prospects that appear before me. Little bits of sustained effort are paying off.

Introducing “The Keeper of the Serenity”

After a good days of worship, work and yard work, I managed to snag a few minutes to sit down and type.  Typing by itself should never be considered an enjoyable experience.  However when typing involves sitting out on the deck with your laptop (running an illicit version of Kubuntu), that activity becomes fun.  And even more when you are typing, nah, conceiving a novel.

After so much internal debate and arguing, I finally think I have an idea distilled into novel form.  Yes, the novel still exists in a science fiction realm.  I am a child of the future, and I feel most comfortable there.  However I refused to give into the temptation of using magical devices.  I am tired of authors, playwrights and screenwriters playing willy-nilly with the fabric of space-time.  It seems wrong to tear gapping wounds in the universe, just to get to exotic places faster.  It has as much finanesse as a bullet entering a body has finanesse.  There is not such thing as clean shot.  Blood, muscle, bone, nerve and tissue get twisted, minced, torn assunder and pulverised whenever hypersonic projectile meets human body.  The same goes for all those other magical elements.  Interdimensional portals, grey goo, biomechanical virii, aliens, et cetra.  If an author goes down that road, why not throw in a wizard, a merry band of trolls and a dragon called Puffy?  It is all fantasy anyways.

On the other hand, I like to drege up uncomfortable issues.  I am rebel.  But setting things in a pure post-apocalyptic world seemed a bit much.  Especially nuking Toronto seemed too much.  After dining out and having so much fun downtown… I decided nuking downtown Toronto felt wrong.  So I decided to devastate some poor future city on Mars.  In fact Mars in the near future seems like the best backdrop for many of my ideas.  I can develop my own old ideas into this setting.  And I can also use real (or feasible) technology, politics, and social settings, without touching too many raw nerves.  I can’t please everyone but I try not offend too many.  I prefer not to make enemies in the process of my writing.  Overall I like the backdrop/universe, it has potential for this novel and other similar projects.

Also some of my friends will probably end up in some form of characters in the novel.  It is almost unavoidable to do so, or at least to base characters on people you know.  Exactly who, where and in what role I will see.  And as promised certain names shall be dropped.  Now all I need to do is to write it in its entirety.  Fortunately the novel consists of ideas and elements distilled and refined of over a decade of daydreaming and writing attempts.  This time I will write the novel and not just attempt to write it.

Oh, and the working title: The Keeper of the Serenity.  Apologies to all you Firefly fans out there, but I want to call the protagonist’s starship the Serenity.

The Morning Came Again

Another fine morning and another beautiful sunrise rising over Toronto.  This may seems like a common theme, but I love the mornings.  I love the mornings cause it matches my personality.  I am a forward thinker.  I enjoy peering into the future.  Little wonder why I enjoy trying out beta software.  Or why I follow future trends.  And I feel happy when I see I bright future coming.

The sky just turned a flamelike orange.  And the Sun is a brilliant orange ball of light.  Amazing how far away the Sun is, and yet how bright and warming it is.  Beautiful.

I figured out my plot and my setting for the science fiction novel I plan on writing.  Interestingly the setting turned out a composite of reality and my own past imaginings.  And plot, influenced heavily by games and novels that I played and read through, should be rather original.  While the novel recycles many of my old ideas, I think it will be original as a composition.

I also found two main characters.  Should prove to be an interesting duo.  An interesting contrast of personalities, hopefully that will drive the story forward.  Part of me is proud of my achieving believable characters in such a simple manner.  Part of me is telling me to not reveal too much and to mix it up more. As Marika notes: getting good characters is something a writer has shape, model and chisel away at.

I think I will start the story off in the morning, with the sunrise.  I run off to write the first chapter.