Author Archives: Anony Mole

Writer’s Log: 1881

I picked back up on Shadow Shoals, another 10k words. Recently I tried to perform that character shift that I mentioned a few weeks ago: Start with a character’s persona on one side of a paradigm — evil say — and then try and convert that character to good. I had to be subtle, dropping allusions to the shift, hints that the character’s mind appeared to be changing. I think I succeeded.

Dred Rowland drops into the tightly knit group a fiend and eight thousand words later, after dramatic trauma and multiple events emerges the friend. Of course, this is just a subplot, but it needed to be done to affect the end result I’m going to reveal later.

Towards the end of his conversion Dred feels compelled to ameliorate the angst between he and the sister of a wounded girl so, he recites a rhyme of his youth:

Dream of the dandy, lions and lambs.
Drink honey nectar, eat toast with jam.
Swim with the fishes, fly with the geese.
Sleep in soft blankets, your head on soft fleece.
Dream of the night we sailed the sea,
Dream of the day you come home to me.

~~~

And, in the spirit of every little bit helps Inkitt has a free mini-course for writing a novel:

https://www.inkitt.com/writersblog/new-program-for-authors-inkitts-novel-writing-bootcamp/

Lesson II portrays the three act pattern and to it the speaker models Star Wars: a New Hope (the first made Star Wars). It made sense as the guy explained it. Having some broad organization seems wise when creating a massive writing effort. One wouldn’t write a 10k line software program without having a pretty detailed plan.

~~~

And I’m anxious to get into the 2000’s for my writer’s hours. It’s been too long already.

 


You know? Yeah, I know already

Have you noticed the growing trend of people who use the verbal tick, “you know?”

“You know, I was a high functioning expansive vocabulary guy before I got caught up in this insidious affectation, you know?”

Hooboy, what an irritant that is. I find myself counting “you know”s now — ignoring whatever the person is saying, and just clicking my internal counter, you know (click).

How do these things get started? And more importantly, how do we stop them? I don’t feel comfortable mentioning to someone, after their tenth “you know” that, fuck, would you listen to yourself? I don’t know what you were talking about but I counted fifteen “you know”s just now. In like, two minutes of talking.

I’ve tried to respond, at times, with “yeah, I know.” But then once they catch on, they get miffed. Or, more often, they don’t catch on and I get exhausted trying to keep up.

Is it insecurity, you know? Like they don’t trust their own thoughts and words, you know? Like they’re seeking constant confirmation of their notions, you know?

I won’t win. These people won’t change because they realize how stupid they sound using such a repetitive pointless phrase. Hell, they don’t know they’re doing it. And even when they do realize, the awareness gets lost within seconds, you know?

Yeah, I know already.


One man band

In Pleasant Grove Utah, there is (was?) a small restaurant called One Man Band that served breakfast/lunch for a small Mormon town. On Sundays we’d go down there and have the place to ourselves. On Sundays, a slow day, there truly was just one guy doing everything: orders, cooking, billing, cleaning up. Slinging eggs and hash and pancakes, he was a marvel to watch, especially when a few other families would join us.

OneManBand

I think about that guy’s job and equate it loosely to writing.

So many jobs get bundled up in the task that is writing, novels mostly, but any substantial writing contains the hallmarks of the One Man Band.

First you have to create a compelling story, with compelling characters. Those characters need to enjoin a cyclically action packed and restorative plot, with dramatic tension between them. The story must unfold in parts made from parts each with tension and relief. The story calendar must remain accurate, the plot context’s must remain cogent, and the foreshadowing, and allusions must pan out with accuracy and intrigue.

And then there’s the craft. The writing must have a rhythm of tight terse prose and flowing boisterous description. The mechanics must be accurate, the dialog must be leading but not too vague. The tags and actions must introduce speakers while the play out of angst between said speakers ebbs and flows. And the hundreds of other nuances that make up great writing must all be compiled into this story.

And then you need to rehash it through editing. Then package it up for querying. Maybe you need to cover it, blurb it, synopsis it.

Dozens and dozens of tasks, all must come together in a natural, cohesive blend that is a novel.

After the lunch rush, the One Man Band guy always looked exhausted. Yeah, I think I know what he was feeling.


Burn one with Elon

Ran across this:

https://www.space.com/41749-elon-musk-living-in-simulation-rogan-podcast.html

And had to chuckle. Elon Musk describes cannabis as “coffee in reverse,” which I thought insightful. I haven’t watched the 2.5 hour long video, but who would blame me? Sheesh, even with the 2x speed increase (I watch almost all youtube videos at at least 1.5x), this is too much. Ten, maybe twenty minutes to waste (spend) on entertainment like this. Hours? Hell no.

Anyway, Musk pontificates the notion that 1) we’re in a sim or 2) civilization will die. And I get his logic and it makes perfect sense. However, there is a third option 3) we are the first species to have gotten this far. We will be the ones to create the sims. [Sure there may be a 3.a) VERY few species get as far as we have.]

Would be a gas to sit around chatting, sipping whiskey and smokin’ a doobie with Elon.


Anti-trust: Bust ’em up, or?

Clearly Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are too big, too market expansive, too monopolistic. Apple less so, but the argument would still hold for them.

Those first three are market behemoths with the power and capital to quash any competition — primarily through acquisition. Don’t like that company competing with your searches, online shopping or online ad market? Buy them up.

That’s how monopolies become monopolies. Price fixing (like Apple and Uber) or price gouging, (like Amazon and Microsoft) which drives out competition (or shrinks the competition down so that they become easy acquisition targets), are all tactics to build monopolies.

The Big Three will get disassembled here in the next few years, no doubt about it. The DOJ, once the IBI* in Chief is out of the picture, will get back on track working for the U.S. Citizens.

But what about eliminating the problem created by such companies in the first place?

The below linked Senate Bill tries to do just that. But I wonder if there’s a simple rule that could be put in place that would kill the M&A practice like the evil corporate consolidation game that it is.

What if we use the market capitalization of any company as a filter to determine which companies can buy other companies?

Surely a $Trillion dollar company like Apple has so much cash they could buy nearly any other company they coveted. Apple Buys Uber and then becomes a massive captive distributed transportation monster. Obviously, we’d want to stop that.

So, at what size does a company become too big to allow it to swallow up competition (or expand sideways like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods)?

Here’s a simple concept to limit monopolies:
A company that sits at the 90th percentile or higher of market capitalization as ranked on the S&P500 — is banned from ANY and ALL acquisitions.

Right now that would take the top 50 companies out of the possibility of buying other companies. Right now that’s a market cap of about $100B. As this is a percentage, it wouldn’t matter how big or small the actual market cap would be. A simple rule that would severely limit monopoly creation (It might be that the 80th percentile would be better, but you get the point.)

Here’s that senate bill:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1812/text?r=22

And here’s the list of FINDINGS that were listed in that bill:

(1) competitive markets are critical to ensuring opportunity for all people in the United States;

(2) when companies compete, businesses offer the highest quality and choice of goods for the lowest possible prices to consumers and other businesses;

(3) competition fosters small business growth, reduces economic inequality, and spurs innovation;

(4) concentration that leads to market power and anticompetitive conduct makes it more difficult for people in the United States to start their own businesses, depresses wages, and increases economic inequality;

(5) undue market concentration also contributes to the consolidation of political power, undermining the health of democracy in the United States;

(6) the anticompetitive effects of market power created by concentration include higher prices, lower quality, significantly less choice, reduced innovation, foreclosure of competitors, increased entry barriers, and monopsony power;

(7) monopsony power— (monopsony means only a single BUYER is available)

(A) allows a firm to force suppliers of goods or services to cut their prices to unreasonably low levels, resulting in reduced business opportunities for suppliers and reduced availability and quality of products and services for consumers; and

(B) can result in workers being forced to accept unreasonably low wages;

(8) horizontal consolidation, vertical consolidation, and conglomerate mergers all have potential to cause anticompetitive harm;

(9) unprecedented consolidation is reducing competition and threatens to place the American dream further out of reach for many consumers in the United States;

(10) since 2008, firms in the United States have engaged in over $10,000,000,000,000 in mergers and acquisitions;

(11) between 2010 and 2015, there was a 50-percent increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;

* Incoherent Bloviating Imbecile

 


Writer’s Log: 1852, Time

* A Writer’s Level Four topic.

I picked up the axe and swung it as if I could split the world. It arced through the air and plunged toward the white aquiline neck that lay outstretched before me.

Only the day before, that same neck had twisted and her eyes had glared at me, her mouth wide with complaint. I’d tried to explain. She’d had none of it. She’d squawked and run off. Was it because of my previous indiscretion?

Yes, I’d been lured away, tempted successfully by another; a body so plump and inviting. So? I was the one in charge, why couldn’t I have what I chose when I chose it?

For that she’d condemned me.

But now she would pay the price.

The silver shimmer of my blade blazed in the sun. The thwock of the edge of my axe chopping her head from her body echoed hollow in the courtyard.

Her goose was cooked. I roasted her that night for dinner.

~~~

Time. Time is the forth dimension (ha), that writers must master. Can you spin time like a web, an hourglass within a glass within a glass? Can you spiral down though time and successfully unwind the twists of your temporal exploration to return to the here and now? That is the challenge. And the accurate tracking of time’s layers is the task.

Above, we start in the past, drop to a previous time and still yet again to a time before that. Four deep:

Now. Then. Before then. Before, before then.

Clearly such a skill must be mastered when scaling the massive temple that is the writing pyramid of excellence.

How are you at managing time in your stories? I suck. But, hell, I’m still on level 3.1. You?


Writer’s Log: 1846

[RE: Iced, in reply to my editor…]

This story is one where I’m trying to put my big-boy pants on and write to a bit higher age level. It’s still not fully “adult” yet, despite the cursing.

There is one writing factor that I’ve recently been trying to internalize which I’ll be attempting to apply across the board. This is the avoidance of any explanation of a character’s mind or emotional state. The best writers somehow avoid this lazy writing and use only description and dialog to portray whatever is going on inside a characters mind. But for a neophyte writer, it’s natural to want the reader to understand precisely what character X is feeling — so why not just tell the reader?

~~~
Normally, Travis seethed with anger. He’d failed six times to finish the Iron Man race but, this morning, depression sucked him deeper into the nest of bedding he’d swum in all night.
~~~

Easy to write, but explaining this situation distances the reader. The reader doesn’t have to do any work, any distillation of the scene to understand Travis’ mind.
The problem, now, is that to convert that “telling” scene into a “showing” scene will take some doing. Will take some work on the author’s part to place Travis in a situation where these same emotions become evident through his actions and speech.

~~~
It was eleven pm and Travis still sat at the bar tapping his fingernail on his empty glass. He glared at the sportscaster describing the results from the twenty-first Maui Open. “Fuck,” he mumbled. He’d been forced to pull out of the race that afternoon, exhausted. “I should just give up, right Joe?” Joe wasn’t listening; hadn’t listened all night. Travis walked home the ten blocks and fell into fitful sleep. Cheerful Hawaiian birds woke him at dawn. He lay there, eyes wide, a frown chiseled into his face. I’m just not cut out for this, he thought.
“Get up, Trav,” his brother called from the kitchen. “So what you had to quit again. Now you know six ways the Iron Gods will beat you down.”
Travis cracked his frown, stretched it into a grimace and threw off his bedding. He swiveled upright and attached his artificial leg. “Go to hell, Drew.” He clumped from the room to start another day of training.
~~~

More writing to get the emotions out, but the reader had to figure them out, had to participate.

That is the lesson I’m trying to teach myself now.

~~~

Second attempt at version #2. Not much shorter (19 words). A few extraneous details were pulled. I like Joe ignoring him and the birds waking him up.

It was eleven pm and Travis still sat at the bar glaring at the sportscaster describing the results from the twenty-first Maui Open. “Fuck,” he mumbled. He’d been forced to pull out of the race that afternoon, exhausted. “I should just give up, right Joe?” Joe wasn’t listening; hadn’t listened all night. Travis walked home the ten blocks and fell into fitful sleep. Cheerful Hawaiian birds woke him at dawn. He lay there, a frown chiseled into his face. I’m just not cut out for this.
“Get up, Trav,” his brother called from the kitchen. “So what you had to quit again. Now you know six ways the Iron Gods will beat you down.”
Travis grimaced and threw off his bedding. He swiveled upright and attached his artificial leg. “Go to hell, Drew.” He clumped from the room to start another day of training.