Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 heads-up

21 Jun
Almost all the notes for “the Assassin story” are typed up.
 
To help people track it, the current working (non-spoilery) title is “Six Too Few“.
 
THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL TITLE!
 
Please DONT ask plot related questions. Merely setting the maths question to people gave away a ton of info I’d rather have kept in my head.
 
I’m going to be writing this as Camp NaNoWriMo for July. As yet there is no fixed length for the story despite me already setting a goal on the Camp page, this is subject to change and may get shorter or longer.
 
I know how long the book takes place over, and that entire time WILL taken place within the context of the piece. If I can write enough, it might (with emphasis on the word MIGHT) become a novel. I still haven’t made a hard decision here yet!
 
I’ve probably already got the same amount of notes I had for Impossible Lean which did run out of steam towards the end. With the world I have and the things that happen in the main city, I honestly believe there is enough material to write 50k and not feel like I padded it out.
 
July is a 31 day month so I am not sure how the regular NaNoWriMo rules apply with the extra day.
 
I still need to decide if the seasons of the world do follow ours, with longer nights and temperature changes too.

Examining The Twilight Zone, Future Trade

11 Jun

I’d never seen this before.

Clyde Hayes asks that age old question, are you happy with your life? Or is the grass greener on the other side of the fence?

So what’s the problem?

Martin Donner is stuck in a terrible life. His wife hates him, his kids don’t know he exists, and his boss treats him like dirt.

How does he try to overcome this?

Lured in by an internet banner advert (this was the 2000’s era reboot of the show) Donner goes to Future Trade, a place that promises a better life.

What mistakes does this episode make?

We’re told Donner is seen in the previous owner’s body. The glass between the bedroom and the swimming pool piss on that statement.
Ways to fix Future Trade?

1) Say it’s your new life, but only for a set period. 24 hours, a week, a month, a year. Make it seem less amazing that Donner has seemingly lucked out.

2) Have his new girlfriend be in the same boat he was before he went to Future Trade, and she’s been to Future Trade too. She uses the drugs & Peruvian mask to swap bodies with him, leaving him a women in a man’s world.

3) Have Donner be able to pull himself out of the deal before he dies.

4) Have Donner’s donor body be suffering from a bad heart, so he gets the high life for a week then dies of a heart-attack.

5) Have Donner massively fail in his new life, losing everything his donor worked for. Have him end right back up working the same job he was at the start.

I like the idea of it being his life for a set period (maybe a year), I’d combine that with the idea that he’s terrible at being the new man and ends up right back where he started. If you wanted to add insult to injury, throw in the bad heart at the end so he comes off way worse than he even started out.

 

The Haze By Ray Daley [poem]

10 Jun

The Haze By Ray Daley 10/6/17.

It’s easy to get bewildered or flustered,
Your mind goes like custard, but don’t taste as good.
You don’t recall every last detail like you once could.

It’s easy to fall in a spiked pit of doubt, You just can’t get out,
But you feel like you ought, Your tries come to nought.
Trying picking your battles, just win ones you’ve fought.

That’s why, I say with a sigh, It’s easy to get bewildered or flustered,
Your thoughts thick like mustard, but don’t taste as good.
You wish you were younger, that’s understood.

Trying thinking, not drinking, your mind’s simply sinking,
Your memories are blinking away, like fifty a day.
They’re gone and forgotten, your brain has gone rotten,
The truth it be told, You’re just getting old.

THE END

Guest, A Poem

9 Jun
Guest, A Poem by Ray Daley.
9/6/17
 
I’m the one that’s living at the bottom of your garden,
In a little wooden box that’s labelled “TEA“.
 
No-one else is living at the bottom of your garden,
The only person living there is me.
 
There’s cabbages and lettuces, there’s many types of fruit,
I’ve being there so long now, I feel I’ve taken root.
 
Because I’m the one that’s living at the bottom of your garden,
There’s nowhere else I’d really rather be.
 
THE END.

Examining The Twilight Zone; Examination Day

8 Jun

I’d never seen this before, or read the story it was based on.

Henry Slesar presents us a vision of the future, a young boy reaching his 12th birthday where he has to take a Government exam. It’s not specifically stated what kind of test this is, but when Dickie is told he’s just drunk a truth serum, I suddenly started paying attention.

So what’s the problem?

Dickie is eager to do well, he wants to pass the test. Big mistake, it turns out this is a dystopian future where they don’t want smart kids. Sucks to be Dickie them, because they kill him.

How does he try to overcome this?

He doesn’t. The kid isn’t told the nature of the test. I’m sure if he’d been told beforehand, he’d have dialled his answers back if he could.

What mistakes does this episode make?

We get no real warning that anything is awry, other than Mom’s statement about him being not like other kids. It’s too vague.  Him suddenly being dead and the parents being asked if they want a Government or private burial comes literally from nowhere. It’s quite a shock for a short story.

The story this is based on runs exactly the same way, an unexpected death with no real clues to it prior.

Ways to fix Examination Day?

1) Use of Chekov’s gun to establish stupidity is the norm in this society. It’s not such a massive shock when they kill Dickie for being smart then.

2) Have Dickie allude to having lost a smart friend who already took the test, he’s sad his friend died but is still eager to be tested himself. It’s the old bait and switch. Dickie still dies, but we understand why now.

3) The Harrison Bergeron defence. Use this idea to place Dickie into a better society that lives behind his stupid society. Mum & Dad can still be told Dickie is dead, but he’s not. He’s alive and well and living in Sandusky, Ohio. Where all the brainy people live.

4) Have Dickie be an identical twin. One passes, the other doesn’t. When they’re given the results, Dickie chooses to sacrifice himself so his brother might live. You’ve still got a dead kid, but Dickie gets to go out as a hero.

5) Have Dickie deliberately try to fail, but he’s found out under the truth serum. They kill him because this is an overt display of high intelligence. A much more satisfying outcome.

The ending of this story was so sudden, it annoyed me. I’d fix it by combining elements of idea 4 and 5. Dickie is a twin, but they detect his attempt to cheat and kill him and his brother.

Henry Slesar is usually a decent writer, I think he didn’t do a very good job here though.

Examining The Twilight Zone; The Cold Equations

8 Jun

I rewatched this recently, and read it again.

Tom Godwin presents us with a simple dilemma, an unexpected stowaway aboard a deep space freighter who only have one rule for such things. Death by spacing.

Our pilot is presented as a man with a heart, who does everything he can think of to help the stowaway, a girl who was only trying to visit her brother.

So what’s the problem?

The ship can’t slow down fast enough with the excess mass. Meaning he can’t deliver his cargo of vitally important and urgently needed vaccines.

How does he try to overcome this?

By stripping as much weight as he can from the ship to off-set her extra mass. He is not successful and is forced to eject her into space to allow him to reach his destination safely.

What mistakes does this episode make?

1) When her excess mass is detected. So far into the journey and so deep into space. It’s not like she magically appears from nowhere, she’s been aboard since he left where ever he set out from. Any half decent computer system would have detected the extra mass prior to take off. This is one method of debunking the story.

2) She’s not just extra mass. She’s also a strain on a system designed for only 1 pilot. So she’s screwed him for oxygen too. She hasn’t just killed herself with her thoughtlessness, she killed him too.

3) Ejecting the extra mass into space should apply the laws of physics. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So every time he blasts air out into space, it should push the ship forwards a little faster making it even harder to slow down.

No mention is ever made of this or my other two points. Probably because Tom Godwin wasn’t all that smart. This is classed as a hard science story. But it’s really not. Godwin spent little to no time thinking his science through.

If he had, he’d have seen the problems I raised here. I spotted these flaws just watching the show which was only ten minutes long. I’m not a genius, nor am I a scientist.

I am a good observer and a good critical thinker.

Ways to fix The Cold Equations?

1) Rewrite it completely, have the stowaway detected before leaving for space. This ruins the entire story but it at least renders it into hard SF.

2) Have her detected close enough to be removed from the ship. You can still maintain an element of peril and have our young stowaway survive despite her stupidity.

3) Make it possible for the pilot to strip enough mass to offset her being aboard. Again, she still lives despite her stupidity.

4) Make it possible for the pilot to strip enough mass but he realises at the last minute on approach to his destination they won’t have enough oxygen to survive the landing. They both die and the cargo is also destroyed. An even colder equation than even Godwin thought possible.

I’m quite annoyed that this wasn’t thought out more when it made the leap from short story to television. It’s been extremely easy to not only tear holes in the bad science of an alledged “hard SF” story but equally easy to suggest improvements.

I think I’d go with my last suggestion and title it “The Coldest Equation.”

The Only Way Out Is Through

8 Jun

Recently I’ve been having some issues.

Depression hasn’t been helping me get motivated to write. It’s not like I haven’t been creative, I just haven’t been able to find a way to get myself actually writing and finishing something.

I checked the archive, the last thing I completed was on the 28th May 2017.

Ten whole days ago. That’s not good for a writer.

I wrote something called “The Fight,” a time travel piece where I’m not quite the protagonist but a lot of the names are from my own life. Writing about my sister and mother (both deceased) hurt me more than I thought.

To the point where when I was checking dates, I was in tears!

Then I just bottomed out into a funk, depressed and upset. Not in a good place.
I was angry about my writing, my creativity.

Today I pretty much forced myself to finish something. Almost 4 hours of writing, over 4000 words too. Long, for me. A long session too.

I don’t know if I feel any better, but I feel relieved at having written and finished something in this amount of time.

Even if you have to force yourself, it proves you can keep writing.

The only way out of a creative depressive funk is to get through it.

Here endeth the lesson.