So lately I have been trying this thing called “Real Life”. Not sure if I really like it, but it takes up a lot of time so once again I am strapped for Friday content. Or, if I may quote one Tobias Funke, MD: “I’m afraid I prematurely shot my wad on what was supposed to be a dry run if you will, so I’m afraid I have something of a mess on my hands.” Or something like that.
And it’s not like I don’t have any content at all – I just don’t have any posts that could pass for a finished product. I do have over 90 Drafts saved in my WordPress queue, but they are exactly that – drafts. Some are just place holders with merely a title and no body text. Others are very rough outlines. Few are nearly finished posts that I just don’t like because they are too whiny, too political, too personal or just plain bad (stupid idea, poor execution, logical falacies, etc..)
At least 3 of these drafts are ideas for my story time series of posts. All three are a bit more ambitious than the little throw-away stories I published before and that’s one of the reasons why I never seem to be able to get them fleshed out. One of my workflow flaws is that if I don’t hammer out a post in a single sitting or at the very least a single day my attention wavers and I move on to ideas I can turn into blog content more quickly. When I go back to these projects, I tend to want to re-write them from scratch because my frame of reference has changed. And thus I enter an endless loop of re-writing, abandoning and re-writing the same things over and over again. Even worse, the more effort I put in these things the less return I see. What if I spend a few dozen hours crafting a short story type thing, finally post it and it gets no comments?
I figured I might as well use this void in my post queue to get these ideas out there and see if any of you would be interested. If there is any traction I might actually get motivated, sit my ass down and finish one (or all) of them. So here are some short story ideas I have been bouncing around lately:
Somewhere in the world there is a city that winks into existence for 24 hours every 4 years. The only day of the year you can visit it is February 29th on a leap year. If you stay within it’s walls past midnight on that day, the world outside will leap 4 years into the future whereas you won’t age at all. An eclectic group of researchers from various time periods is studying the ruined city trying to discover it’s origins, the mechanism it uses to wink in and out of time, and the reasons why it follows Gregorian Calendar leap year conventions.
Initially I wanted it to be a short thing, but it turned into a rather big undertaking. I have picked this project up and abandoned it many times because of the sheer amount of research it would involve. I need a solid timeline knowing what happened during past few dozen leap years, a good geographical location that would make sense for a vanishing city to remain mostly hidden for decades, character design that would incorporate attitudes and moral values of past decades and etc.. It’s quite a daunting task.
A Village in the Woods
Remember my post about the Twisted Thicket? Ever since I have posted that I have been toying with the idea of writing something along those lines myself. I’m of course talking about my interpretation of that video – the “what I thought this would be about” part which I explained in that post. Essentially a primitive society living in an oddball fantasy like setting find traces of technologically advanced ancestors and try to figure out what happened to them.
This one is not nearly as ambitious as the above, but I’ve been sort of wavering over the core concepts. I can’t decide if I want it to be optimistic or pessimistic. I don’t know if I want to use a POV of the naive protagonist or an omnipotent narration that could provide context and talk about big picture stuff. So I’m being a bit indecisive rather than intimidated by this one.
19 year old kid gets arrested for hactivism. But it is near future, so the confused law enforcement agencies become very upset when they realize that what they arrested constituted less than 1% of the young cryptoanarchists distributed consciousness. And even that tiny shard is heavily encrypted. So kinda like “Hackers” the movie but with transhumanism thrown in for good measure.
Sadly I couldn’t really find the tone for it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be topical and political (talk about existing laws, touch on Anonymous and the governmental freakouts over their silly activities) or be more abstract. I didn’t know if I wanted to go for high absurd of play it straight. One of the bits in my draft was a Brazil style absurd scene in which the heavily armed SWAT team apprehends the scrawny harmless kid in his bedroom. Before they book him though they demands he unplugs his dog from the charging cradle an boots him up, and then proceed to shoot him as per standard protocol claiming they did it in self defense. But since the dog was half machine they are not sure if it counts. So they bring in the “on-duty puppy” make the kid sign ownership papers, and then shoot the puppy. But that seemed like a little bit too much.
Also it was clashing with the original intent of talking about how the legal system just can’t keep up with the exponential growth of the technology sector, and whenever it tries it blunders and fails to even grasp what the game is about.
So yeah, these are the things in my queue. Does any of these ideas strike your fancy? Should I focus on any of them in particular? Let me know in the comments.