February 16, 2001

I'm not entirely sure about this online journal thing, but it's seemed like a good idea for a couple of weeks now, so I'm going to try it out. I've been keeping a paper journal since my sophomore year in college, but that's more than a little different. No more coherent, perhaps....

So. Morphisms. I guess what I'm most interested in, as a science fiction writer, is changes. Especially changes that don't go all over, changes that retain part of their previous nature. I will attempt to avoid subject headings that have bad math puns in them, because almost nobody gets my bad math puns.

Anyway. Lois McMaster Bujold says that in order to write a character-driven novel, you can just figure out what's the worst thing that could happen to your main character, then do it. That's one way. But a lot of my stories revolve around how the world is not as my main character believed it was. Or how the main character was not as the world believed he/she was. (Not that I believe in "the world" in many cases, but that's another entry entirely.)

Last night I redid the outline for my New Novel. The new novel! I think the best thing about starting an online journal is that I haven't ranted or enthused about anything yet. The New Novel may or may not be good, but it makes me happy to work on it. It's got robots and sexy programmer people and genetic engineering and political philosophy and personal development and the priest, the rabbi, and the mathematician. Oh, wait. The rabbi became a pastor. But I still want a joke to begin "a priest, a rabbi, and a mathematician...." Anyway, I had a rough outline before, and now I have a refined rough outline, meaning more of the scenes are clear and I know what to do and all is workable in Novel Land.

I want to work on nothing but my New Novel sometimes, but short stories keep intruding. My brain seems to multitask compulsively. (This may be an asset or a drawback in keeping an online journal. I haven't figured it out yet.) So my hope is to get one of my short stories, "Drug Test," out in Monday's mail, and to have most of my work focused around the New Novel. I'm a little worried about "Drug Test." It's about (of course!) assumptions (about alien races and what humanity's real problems are) and features a lot of political commentary, but the emotional guts of the story are kind of directed at a friend of mine, or rather, who he was when we were both in sixth/seventh grade. And it's not very warm and fuzzy. So far, whenever I've written something "for" somebody, it's either been done in a good way, or it's been less than obvious. But this is pretty obvious, at least to those of us involved, and not entirely happy. So I'm not sure how to handle it. I guess I'm just going to send him the story and see what he says. And, I mean, we've been friends for seventeen years (which is a feat when you're only twenty-two) and he hasn't hated me yet, so the little nagging voice that claims that my writing will ruin everything is probably just being neurotic again anyway.

And, of course, tomorrow is Timprov's birthday, so we're going to celebrate as much as we can. It seems that one of his celebratory goals is to make as few decisions as possible, so.... well, we'll figure something out. If I'm not sure what to do, I'll foist it off on Mark, Tim, or Amber. Hey, that sounds like a good idea. In the meantime, there's this scene that's making more sense with every passing minute, so I'm going to try to catch it before it proves some kind of direct speed/lucidity ratio. Good night. And many morphisms to come.

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