Category Archives: Writing

Endangered Species

My first post to my Story Slush Pile! Reminder, these are story ideas that I have thought of that I really like, but realistically don’t believe I’ll ever get around to writing. So my writer friends who want to poach, Have at it!

Imagine a world where computers and androids have long surpassed the intelligence and capabilities of humans. The great robot war to take over the world happened several hundred years ago, and mankind is reduced to a few pockets in hiding and a growing collection of captive humans kept as companion “pets.”

Instead of this being a story about a human resistance fighting to reclaim the planet, this story is told from the perspective of an android who is considering joining a growing movement trying to protect humans as an endangered species. Basically robot Tree-huggers and Hippies. These robots believe that man deserves to be respected for their role in creating them.

Naturally there are many machines that consider humans to be a lingering threat/a waste of precious resources, and consider such sentimental programming to be a flawed remnant of said human influence.

The fun of writing this book is trying to imagine what issues would be important to a cybernetic community: Should all robots be required to update to the most recent, most advance A.I. systems, or is there still value in the diversity the old and flawed models use? How serious of a crime is hacking, and how would it be punished? What regulations are there in regards to “reproduction,” and do the “offspring” go through an infant stage or do they jump out of the bow factory ready? Does one’s offspring have to match a certain number of its parent’s features, or can they be built as whatever one wants?

Energy consumption and storage space would be big issues. Androids lead something of a duel life; one where they are in a mobile, physical body, and one when they are just data on a drive. With A.I. programs so advanced, even high capacity storage drives can only handle a dozen or so “individuals” at a time, and with limited power supplies there were even fewer fully functioning bodies that could be up and running at any given time. Many less important programs already have had to resign to long term dormancy in storage devices, or settle for only partial uploads and functionality in lower tech machines.

I feel the conflict, climax and conclusion of the story could go many ways, but here’s the one that I through together because my brain would explode if it left the story hanging.

At a critical juncture in the robot world where the path of their future is hanging between strictly enforced efficiency and one of diversity and conservation, our protagonist android finds himself on the front line fighting for the preservation of the human race. He and his human pet are given a chance to prove their worth by a contest. The contest forms teams of three (Android, Computer, Android for example… or in the case of our protagonist it’s Android, Android, Human) and they have a set amount of time to present a solution to the world’s energy crisis. It is assumed that the slow, simple mind of a human would be an anchor holding back a team’s efficiency, but it would turn out that the blending of thought processes leads to greater creativity and scientific breakthroughs.

I got a lot of my inspiration for this idea from an interview I heard on the radio with Kevin Kelly, the author of a book, What Technology Wants. He talked about how technology evolves and disperses much like the living branches of the Animal Kingdom. He specifically touched on his theory of what will happen when tech surpasses the humans who made it, that instead of there being conflict that there would be a realization that the Universe can better be comprehended with a blending of minds; organic, computer, and whatever else there might be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On this day, 31 Years Ago

There, I stayed up just so I could post this at the exact right moment. At 1:17 am mountain time, just a little more than 3 decades ago, I was born into the world. Mind you, I came folded in half and butt first (good thing I was always skinny), but I survived and here I am now.

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

So what has changed since Nov. 11, 2014? I graduated college, which I suppose is a big achievement. My wife, Jessica, is pregnant with TWINS. I’m very excited about that, but I kinda just squeezed that one in at the end of my year deadline and was mostly unintentional (I mean, it’s TWINS! How cool is that?), so I don’t know if I can give myself too much credit. I got back into gymnastics via the route of Georgia’s competitive job market, and it has made me feel really good. Oh, I now live in Georgia, though it still hasn’t quite grown on me as a “home” yet, though I suspect it eventually will.

I’m still not a published author yet, but that’s largely my fault for being too distracted during my “free” time. It takes a lot of work to get one’s first novel published, and I really need to train myself to make it more like a job, which will kinda bite because that pushes it out of the Hobby zone. Still worth it. I think. I also haven’t started my Biology career, but I blame that on no one from any of the companies ever calling me back. I think it must be a Georgia thing. If I did the math, I bet I’d find less than 5% of my messages or inquiries ever returned. Guess who did call me back? The gymnastics team. Yeah.

I miss doing the animal rescue. I miss Rexburg, Idaho and my alma mater. I am surprisingly fine with sharing a house with my in-laws. I think a lot more people could find themselves in a better financial place if they just swallow some pride and share property with their nuclear families when feasible, and go into huge debt just to “have some space.” Besides, all you have to do is out live them and you get a free house! Lol, just playing. Love you Wallace Mom and Wallace Dad!

Ok, it’s 3:17 am (Georgia time). Gotta post! Happy Birthday to me!

What Creative Writing has taught me about God

Even though I have yet to be published and make a fortune as a famous author, I am already beginning to see some amazing fruits sprouting from my budding hobby.

And one very precious fruit to me is an understanding of the world from God’s perspective. What do I mean by this? I mean, how can anyone comprehend the world at the level of deity, right? Well, I don’t claim that I have a FULL understanding. It’s more like a tiny peek which gave me an important piece of the puzzle. Like when scientists smash two atoms together and find a quark or something. So what did I find?

The different levels of Creation:blueprint

Specifically human creation, I should say, though there is some overlap with everything else. I, like most religious people, believe that everyone has a Spirit inside of their body and God is the creator/father of said Spirit. I might take it one step further and propose that there was a level of existence even before the Spirit form, where we were all little more than a twinkle in God’s omnipotent eye. And idea. Floating, formless potential.

As a writer, I have character ideas galore. My first novel contains about 30+ solid characters and about as many more “fluff” characters. But I have well over 100 character concepts floating around in my head just waiting to be put into future books. Floating, formless potential.

Once a character gets put down on paper, whether in a story or just a character development exercise, it has moved on to the next stage. It has gained a measure of form and substance. It is now a “Spirit.” These working characters interact, adapt, change and reveal themselves and in turn I get to know exactly who they are. But they are still very malleable, and their function and path can change at any time. It’s not until the book is published that they now “exist” in a permanent, physical sense. They are now free agents unto themselves and I cannot go back and alter their base nature any more. I can only direct their future path in the sequels.

Why God created both the “good” and the “bad:” Why would God create a being such as Satan? Why not just make all good children and have a perfect world? Well, as a writer I have developed the belief that every idea deserves the right to exist. Granted, I don’t think that every idea deserves to be PUBLISHED (that would be receiving mortal form, remember). But an idea deserves to be developed, understood and evaluated for all of its value and potential before either being accepted or disregarded.

As a mere mortal I only have the capacity to develop a small fraction of my ideas. But an omnipotent being like God would be able to give every “idea” its due justice, each receiving a fair chance to show its worth. Once this is done, then writing and “publishing” can begin.

In a perfect world with infinite resources, I believe that the majority of ideas have a right to be published. I know this probably makes the brains of every publisher, editor and book critic explode. But the concept is that if an idea is worth something to even one person, then sure, why not let them have it? The only things that I can imagine ought to be disqualified would be works intended to deceive, to influence readers to make wrong choices, or to poison the reader’s minds with obscenities and filth. Sounds a lot like Satan and his followers, right? Which would explain why they remained in Spirit form and did not receive mortal bodies.

How God can know what we are going to do (and yet leave us with free will):

fox trot

This concept boggled my mind for the majority of my mature life. But now as I sit down in front of a keyboard to write, with the “lives” of my characters in my hands, it no longer feels impossible to grasp.

I’ve heard other authors say that they just go where their characters take them. If I as a writer have developed my characters properly, I need only to give them a scene and they practically act for themselves. If I want them to do something specific or change in a certain way, I need to provide them the experiences and interactions that would move them in that direction. It would be improper for me to “make” them do anything out of character. If I were to do so, it would be the same as me “obliterating” the former idea and replacing it with a slightly different idea that better suits what i want.

Because I know each of my characters perfectly, I can see the events of the story from beginning to end, given a specific set of circumstances. I know who they need to meet and where they need to go, and I make that happen.

Why do bad things happen?

Character development. Done.

Lol, no, but seriously, it’s almost that simple. If there is a death, or a catastrophic event in a story of mine and none of the characters are any different afterward, then I’m a bad writer. I can’t shortcut my characters to their end form in which I would like to see them, so what I need to do is give them the events they need, whatever they are, to change them in a believable way.

How each and every one of us is important to God.

The secret to this one might blow your mind if you are a writer, but imagine if you wrote a book for every single character in which THEY are the main character. The same global events happen, but now your perspective is completely changed.

That guard who got knocked out by the great grandson of Thor as he charged into the building, what’s important to him? He doesn’t care that his employer might be the reincarnation of Dracula, but he took this unscrupulous job because he’s currently a desperate and broken prodigal son who hated his father for being too controlling in his life and disapproving of his ex-girlfriend, the same one that ended up robbing him blind in the middle of the night and leaving him at the Motel-8 in Pittsburg. But you know that once “Dracula” is burned to ashes, he’ll be out of a job once again and his near-death FallInLoveexperience makes him want to settle for a lower wage but honest position as a mall cop where he will one day catch a young thief red-handed and send him off with some moral guidance because the kid reminds him of how he used to be just a couple years earlier.

The point being, EVERYONE can be important to you, especially when you’re their “creator.”

So yeah, this is what creative writing has taught me about God. So far, at least. I’m certain that now that I’m thinking about it, there will be more to come. If you have any similar insights, please share! This is my new favorite topic!

Public Vote on my Query Letter (First line)

So this Saturday, I attending a workshop by the Georgia Writer’s Association. (Oh, fyi, for those who didn’t know, I’m in Georgia now). The topic was Becoming a Published Author and it was taught by Ann Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain, and other Southern/Appalachian books. There was a lot of good Q & A, but what I’m bringing to the table here is a re-work on my Query Letter. For those who do not know, a query letter is an e-mail or letter that you send to an Agent or Publisher to get them interested in your book/story/whatever. It’s not meant to be a full synopsis, but rather a short but power pitch; just a flash of what your story is about to get them hooked and wanting to see more. Needless to say, the first line is very important. So in an effort to improve my query letter, I’ve been experimenting with some new opening lines.

I would like to take a poll on which ones are your favorite. If you don’t know what my book is about, that’s perfect. Neither do the Agents or Publishers whom I am sending it to. You may vote for more than one.

First, this is how my old Query Letter began:
To most, the blessing of eternal youth would be the most sought after gift in the world.  But for an 18th century governess condemned to a life sentence in a dungeon it becomes a twisted curse.

And here are the new (and hopefully improved) candidates:

  1. What if a spirit which cannot die, a woman that does not age, and a family oath that must never be broken collide in 1865 to change the course of the world?
  2. What if you were blessed with eternal youth and then faced with a choice; surrender your soul in exchange for forbidden power, or declare war against the ten most dangerous Demons on Earth?
  3. Since the earliest days of mankind, ten evil spirits have been possessing the bodies of the most wicked and deadly warriors, going unchallenged until they come across a 100 year old woman in a prison.
  4. What if a secret war between supernatural Heroes and paranormal Demons was hiding between the lines of our folklore and history?
  5. Imagine if, unbeknownst to history, what could have been the greatest tragedy of 1865 was prevented by a household governess from 1789?

All I need is a quick reply such as, “I like 1,2 and 4.” If you would like to leave additional comments and critiques, you are more than welcome to. Thank you!