Monday, February 28, 2011

It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself?

Here's something amusing - and sad.

So under Fermi paradox, intelligent life is meant to self-destruct due to an unstable system (i.e. we create robots which takes jobs away from humans, thus a rising homeless population. Too many people on Welfare and the government goes broke, or worse we have the French Revolution all over again) or due to our own aggressive, consuming ways.

We are doomed. Although it may not be a permanent doom, as the article states:
This argument does not require the civilization to entirely self-destruct, only to become once again non-technological. In other ways it could persist and even thrive according to evolutionary standards, which postulate producing offspring as the sole goal of life — not "progress", be it in terms of technology or even intelligence.

Does the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire ring a bell? I don't know about you but I'm going to start building that rocket to Mars.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Those Naughty Words

Another tale from Absolute Write's SYW boards.
So there was this short intro someone had posted where he dropped the C-bomb in the first sentence. Well naturally, there was some mixed reactions. Some people were all for it while others said they couldn't even read past the first line. For me, it didn't work because he was comparing a woman's lady parts to a gash. *looks down* Nope, doesn't look like a gash to me.
But it brings up an interesting point: is it in bad taste to put vulgar language in the VERY first sentence?

I'm not sure myself because my characters are the ones that cuss or say vulgar things and I only reserve the "C" word for when bitch isn't enough. To me, comparing the scenery to private parts is almost laughable. Who goes around saying a tower looks like an erect penis? Okay sure, the Washington Monument does look like one, but on the average we don't do it. But at the same time, if the narration is limited 3rd person or 1st person, it does show how the character thinks and some characters have dirtier minds than others. It's debatable whether you should show that in the first line, but hey, if it turns off people then those are probably the kind of people you don't want reading your material anyways.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Describing physcial traits of characters - necessary or not?

O.M.G I've returned!!

So here's a topic that just popped up while I was lurking on the SYW (share your work) boards over on Absolute Write's website. I notice there's this habit to describe the MC's physical traits in the first chapter - even when it's in first-person (conveniently enough there's always something to reflect their looks). It bugs me though because it puts the breaks down on the tension, that very tension you need to launch the reader into the 2nd chapter. Sure, you might be able to pick it back up after the lump of description, but I think it's making it harder on yourself [the writer]. Even if it's only a sentence or two, if your first chapter is something actiony or mysterious, I just don't see a good point for your character to stop and think 'hmm, I should really put my brown hair up, it would go good with my green eyes'.

I get it, that writer's want their readers to get a good idea about what the character looks like so they can have a clear picture, but I'm in the camp that says it doesn't matter if your character has blue eyes or hazel eyes, whether they're blond or brunette, whether they wear jeans or leather pants - the story would still go on. Unless of course your character's mission of saving the world hinges on his raven black hair and six-foot statue.

There are of course exceptions, such as the fact that your character isn't human, but instead, a six-headed beast with tentacles, that should be mentioned up front. Of course if a character has an unusual trait that no one else in the world has, it is bound to attract attention, making the character feel self-conscience in which they'd comment: 'these people act like they've never seen a two-headed girl before.'

But I do recognize that readers like to get a mental picture of the characters they're following. I'm still not for dumping a paragraph worth of description at their feet but I can throw them a bone. The best way IMO is to slip it in subtly when the characters is interacting with others. If character A is your MC and they're a foot shorter than character B, you can insert: 'B towered over A, making A feel like a mouse.'
Granted this is relative to the character's POV, but if the story is written in 1st-person or limited 3rd-person then everything is going to be relative to your character.

But that's just my thoughts. (yes, I'm having fun with smilies - can you tell?)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Welcome Robots

*dusts blog off*

So you may or may not be wondering why the new post after almost 2 years of nothing. Honestly, I'm not interested in blogging, but since the publisher Angry Robot is hosting an open door submissions next month and I want to get in on the action, updating the old blog would help my chances out - assuming I have a chance, haha.

So what am I trying to submit?

My big project is a sci-fantasy (debating about calling it speculative fiction) about a young man who's possessed by an inter-dimensional parasite that he calls a "demon" as he tries to fight for control of his own body. That's the start of it at least.

I do want to go back to my magepunk (robots with magic). And yes, one day it will be a sub-genre! My project needs some reworking on the plot. That's what I get for not outlining. But as you can see, I'm really into cross-genres at the moment. I blame all the anime I watch; Japanese cartoons often mix up sci-fi and fantasy together, which I rather like as it makes things atypical. Even the last anime I watched, Air Master, had a tiny bit of fantasy in it. Although I'll admit it was really out of place considering the whole story revolved around an ex-gymnast turned street fighter. I recommend the series if you love fighting, even though the side plots are never wrapped up and the last episode has NO resolution. I have the feeling it was meant to have more seasons but for one reason or another they were never made.

Anyways, I'll try to update this more know, to get my "web presence" out there.