Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing Troubles

Sometimes you come across a problem you cannot think through, a question in the current project you simply can't answer and move beyond. I was attempting to start a serial novel as I've stated before, something I would continue weekly hopefully drawing some interested readers. I had settled on an idea I've talked about before. My science fiction substitute idea, where somehow the main character's profession was 'substituting' not for teachers but for people themselves. Somehow, he would look and sound exactly like the subject, able to fool anyone and everyone. My idea morphed. I thought to myself, if the technology existed where someone could look and sound exactly like someone else, what would they use it for? Obviously, the government would highly regulate it, indeed would likely keep the whole thing top-secret, allowing perhaps some agency to use it. It could be used to set up criminals, protect witnesses or even espionage. I liked the idea of witness protection, where the protagonist has to become the subject while the subject hides. Say a corrupt politician wants to give information about a crime boss, boss finds out, agency sends in the protagonist who has to deal with attempted assassinations, meanwhile handling a body that he is not used to. Or maybe the agency finds out someone is about to be assassinated and they have no idea why. Send in the protagonist whose mission would be to survive the attempt and capture one of the assassins so as to interrogate them.

This sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? I know it did to me. But then I hit the wall. After writing about 500 words or so, I had to deal with the thing I was dreading. Just how in the hell would someone look and sound exactly like someone else. My first foolish idea was a suit of some kind. A suit where you entered in a persons specific statistics and it could change to look exactly like that person. But that was silly. How would the protagonist ever look like someone smaller than himself? Then I thought perhaps there was some type of machine the protagonist stepped in that somehow altered his entire body. The problem was I just can't figure out how that would happen, even in some crazy future. Bombarding dna with radiation? I don't know. Seems silly, even for science fiction. My last crazy idea was maybe the protagonist was some alien shapeshifter found by a government agency and put to use but that would add in a whole ton of other crazyness that I just hadn't thought about putting into my story.

So it's on hold, for now. Just going to let it fester around in my mind while I work on other things. The world I started to create in those 500 words do interest me. I had come up with sort of a blade-runner-esque dark neon setting, with home computers that responded to trigger words to carry out simple daily routines such as making coffee, toasting bread, locking doors, etc. Cars that drove themselves and well, that's about as far as I got, but the small part of that world that I revealed interested me so I may return to that setting for a slightly different story, maybea sci-fi detective mystery or something along those lines.

So sometimes ideas don't work out the way you thought they might. Maybe you don't come up with the ideal solution at the right time but that doesn't mean you failed. Even as you hit a wall, you may find doorways into other ideas, settings, characters that you may use elsewhere. Even if I never return to this "sci-fi substitute" story, that doesn't mean my time writing those 500 words was wasted, for I found the beginnings of a setting and a character that I can return to at any time. No time spent writing is wasted even when it feels like it.

In other news...there is no other news. This is all the news.

I'm going to edit the second half of my fantasy novel in the month of April and then send out the entire thing to friends and family for their editing thoughts and then over the summer figure out just what I'm going to do with it.

I also want to put more writing on my blog since this blog is supposedly about writing and all. Putting up more writing might make it more interesting to folks rather than me just talking about random things and such. That is something I will try to do more. Maybe I'll pick up that writing book again and start doing more exercises. It's a decent way to get me writing more and also put up interesting things on my blog. It's a win-win.

I've been reading more of Orson Scott Card's The Speaker of the Dead and Shadow series, both of which I find interesting. Many say these series fall in quality the more you read and I guess I can see that but I'm still interested in seeing how they turn out. I guess I'm still interested in the characters and wanting to see how their stories end up. I've heard Card is terrible at finishing up series' though, so we will see how that goes.

I watched Hunger Games. Basically there was too much shaky-cam, too little characterization for some characters but all in all, I enjoyed it. I wouldn't say it's great nor would I say it's terrible. If you enjoyed the book you will probably enjoy the movie. It is entertaining.

That's all folks, see you on the flip-side.

P.S. -Follow me on Twitter.!/ben_cheese


  1. The writing prompt book is a good idea, sometimes when we let thingss go they come back to us in a little different way, if that makes sense. The main thing is to keep writing. You can also look up and read what other writers do when they hit the wall....

  2. Ideas for how to become someone else:

    * Remote control androids. The gov't can build an android to build/look just like somebody else, and the agent can 'plug in' matrix style.

    * Consciousness swap: both parties have to be present, and they can 'swap minds' through a high tech apparatus. (Perhaps it's only temporary? Now there's a time limit!)