Saturday, July 25, 2015

Deep Dreaming

I've been enjoying transforming some of my old images through Deep Dreamer. It's beta Macintosh software that uses Google's Deep Dream project. They're best viewed at full size to appreciate the detail. I'm still moving Making Majic forward and now have a handful of beta readers providing feedback along the way. It now looks like I'll have a full draft in September.

Groucho at the Deep Dream Rave

Quantum Telescope

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Is the Fictional Nature of Reality More Than a Metaphor?

I've always suspected that if there was a god, it had to scramble to make something up every time science advanced enough to look deeper into the nature of reality. It seems my suspicions may prove to be true:
"Researchers working at the Australian National University (ANU) have conducted an experiment that helps bolster the ever-growing evidence surrounding the weird causal properties inherent in quantum theory. In short, they have shown that reality does not actually exist until it is measured – at atomic scales, at least. " From article on
Regardless of whether that theory explains the underlying reality of our physical word, it definitely applies to my fictional universe.

I've just started the third rewrite of the first two-thirds of my novel. So far, every time I get to what amounts to the third act, I realize that I haven't hacked deeply enough into the underlying motivations and conflicts within and between my characters. As I peer more deeply into what lies behind the actions of my characters, my imagination, like the theorized creator of our universe, has to make things up that explain things. In my fictional universe, this creates one of two outcome:
  1. I find deeper motivations that justify the actions my characters have taken
  2. I'm forced to revise the plot because some of the characters' actions no longer make sense
Here's an example. If you've read the four chapter preview, you probably figured out that the person in the preface is Quentin Standish, the evil genius behind New Eden. In my first drafts, there was no preface. The imminent collapse of civilization was just something Standish was exploiting. As I got to know Standish better, I realized that he wasn't the kind of guy to just wait around for the world to end. He would do what he could to hasten things. This change in the story is rippling through the plot as I go through the current rewrite.

Here's a little comic that speaks to this theme:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Novel Update: Four Chapter Preview

I'm still making good progress on the novel and hope to complete an end-to-end draft by early summer. For now, here's a preview of the first four chapters. They introduce most of the main characters and illustrate the alternating timeline format I'm using for the plot.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Play of Characters

Who puts words in a character's mouth? It seems simple, right? The author. But who puts the words in your mouth? Another self-evident answer? Not really. It seems like there's a single "you" inside who is responsible for all of your words, thoughts, feelings and actions. There is is obviously a single brain and body behind it all. But within that one system there are many identities, moods, desires and emotions that vary from hour to hour and from context to context. Some of them are fairly consistent, while others may vary wildly and even be in conflict with each other. Some are driven by deeply held beliefs or habits. Others are reflexive reactions. 

So what's my point? Mostly that there is deep mystery at the heart of both who we are and how we create. And that if we pay attention when you are channeling the voices of fictional characters, it may shed some light on what's behind our own words, thoughts and feelings as we move through daily life. Sometimes they are the result of conscious thought. Other times they emerge from the subconscious. 

In any case, I'm still working somewhat diligently on the novel and decided to revisit some old images, videos and posts from the past six years here. This comic of Botgirl and the Dummy is one of my favorites.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Monthly Update on Novel

I'm about two-thirds through the novel, just getting to the climax of Act II. The plotting got complicated enough a few weeks ago that I created a spreadsheet to keep track of the flow of dates and events. Chapters had been alternating between 2100 and 2150 and I had to make sure that everything was lining up properly. I'm glad I checked. I was way off. I ended up moving all of the events from 2150 to 2115, which allowed the timelines to merge perfectly a few chapters ago. Whew!

I've done two major rewrites so far. The first happened at the end of Act I when I realized that the secondary character arcs were much less developed than the main one. To fix the problem, I separated the book into three files, breaking out the chapters into three independent stories. My goal was to make each storyline compelling in its own right, giving each character the depth and motivation needed to drive their actions. It turned out to be a really effective approach. I'll probably go through that process one more time when I have an end-to-end draft.

The next rewrite happened just a few days ago. The plot had moved in a direction that resolved some of the major conflicts too early and wasn't setting the stage properly for the big finish in Act III. I ended up going back through the entire book and rewriting quite a few scenes to set up what proved to be some major changes in the way Act II would end. It feels back on track, and I hope to finish Act II over the weekend.

I took a break a few days ago to play around with some cover art concepts. Don't worry. This isn't the final version. What I want to end up with is something that gets across that it's a fantasy trope within a cyberpunk setting, with a kick-ass female lead.

Anyway, if I continue at this pace, I should have a full draft some time in June. I'll check back in before then for another update.