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Brain Games

11 Oct

I’ve been thinking, off and on all week, that I should discontinue God in the Machine before it gets rolling too far along and I wind up disappointing both readers who enjoy it.

The reasoning is easy: It’s not making money. I am a stay-at-home parent and full-time writer, which therefore means I need to Make Money, Damn It. Time spent writing robots is time not spent finishing my Roman novel and getting it out there, or preparing notes for my next novel (which I’m going to talk about a little further in an upcoming post).

On the other hand, I like having a serial, most of the time. The weekly schedule was a horrible idea, because I burned out badly on it (and I quietly think you can tell when you read Voice, Echo, Silence, Part 2; and the difference is huge compared to Voice, Echo, Silence, Part 3, which was written in a much less burnt-out state). But it’s kind of fun.

So mostly, I’ve been indecisive about keeping it, just as I was indecisive about starting it in the first place. I just keep writing. It’s the easiest option.

Then, yesterday, as I’m lying in bed wondering why I thought a biiig mug of caffeinated tea was such a super idea before bedtime, the story of God in the Machine arrives in my head, neat and tidy and entirely capable of being told in novel form. A long novel, but a single novel nonetheless.

That was one of the reasons I made it a serial in the first place: Because the story was just too long and too complex to be told in anything less than several novels. Maybe you can get a hint of that through the episodic format, maybe not. Regardless, that was a mighty tempting revelation. I like to think it’d make a pretty good novel.

Which is not to say I’m ending the series or anything. I’m just stewing.

I spent three happy hours yesterday writing my Rome novel (have I told you the title of it yet? No? It has one, finally. I’m very pleased). This chapter, oddly enough, is structured like a stand-alone episode, as if the Roman novel were a serial. I’m wondering if the remaining chapters will structure themselves like that. I really wouldn’t mind. I wonder if they would have done it anyway, or if this is the result of my other major project being a serial.

If so, that’s a good reason to keep doing a serial. I write best in that format (I don’t know if you can tell. The robot stories come faster and easier and more confidently. I know when I’ve written something good. I know when it sings and when it rasps. I can play a serial like a musical instrument. With novels, I’m like a man in an iron lung with a tuba).

I am technically Not On The Internet Thank You. This is because I realized, yesterday, that I had gone beyond moderation and was spending all my time online. I don’t have good middle gears, so when something like this happens, I just cut myself off the internet almost entirely and go do other things until I can approach the internet with some sensibility. So I am answering my e-mail in the morning and in the evenings (when my wife is home and I am therefore less likely to spend much time online). The only reason I’m posting this is, I’m eating lunch.

I’m still on the computer too much, I just flick the switch that turns off the wireless internet. I wish I had an old electric typewriter, I think I’d do some articles and short stories on that and be a happy camper. Of course, living in an apartment makes this impractical. My neighbors would think I’m firing off guns at 100-shots-per-minute. Then again, if they came and complained, I could dispatch them much easier with a heavy typewriter than with a small laptop. It’s the difference between hitting someone with a baseball bat and a loofah.

And now I’m blithering. So I’ll head back offline, thank you so much.

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6 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

6 responses to “Brain Games

  1. Rllgthunder

    October 11, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    I had noticed you had a plethora of posts in the past few days, Pete. Damn interwebby is addictive, isn’t it?

    You’d enjoy an electric typewriter, you say? Hmmmm. I’ll have to dig around in the storage shed. I might have an old IBM Selectric lurking out there, but I’m not sure. I know I have an ancient manual typewriter somewhere that I used when I was a kid, so I’ll look for that, too. I hate throwing useful stuff away that has become somewhat…uh…useless. To me, anyway.

     
  2. Pete

    October 11, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    I’ve been posting a lot because I’ve gone somewhat luddite and self-restrictive on the internet. That’ll be my post tomorrow, though.

    Typewriters! God, I love them. A local bookstore has an old Royal typewriter that I’ve been drooling over for years. The owner won’t sell it to me (even when I worked for him). I adored the thing.

    When I first started writing, it was entirely by hand. That’s just what I had. But then I advanced to typewriters, because in my mother’s next-door-office, she had an electric typewriter. An IBM claptrap. I loved that thing. (When I was older, I found a manual typewriter and I was bonkers for that too).

    I like banging keys, I like that if I type too fast, the keys jam. I just like typewriters.

     
  3. Midnight Muse

    October 11, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    I must apologize for saying this but:

    Thank GOD – someone else has experienced the headache.

    I wrote online for years, kiddo. It was addictive. I could polish a novel and post it, then within days have instant feedback and ego gratification – spurring me on to write another novel. Then I realized I wasn’t making any money or getting any writerly-type respect and took the left turn off the superhighway and into Real World Publishing.

    I still catch hell from my readers. They’re pissed now that they’ll have to pay to read my work. Some days I get so confused, I can’t even write. Do I keep going? Do I go back to net’pubbing? Do I plough forward and become a real writer – or stick with the interwebbies and play in my own universes.

    Gah.

    Yes, the Internet is the devil itself. Sometimes I’m a better writer for it, sometimes I’m better off without it.

    Friday I’ve vowed to check email, then log off and write, non-stop (except potty breaks) for 6 hours. I just wish I could use a pen and paper, like the old days.

    sigh

     
  4. Pete

    October 11, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Ay-men. As Lori can attest, I’ve gone from being a quiet luddite to being a ranting nearly anti-technology luddite. I love technology, but it’s awful stuff. I have problems with, at recent count, 1) Napster 2) Forums 3) DVR boxes on TVs 4) iPods. The thing is, I have all of those and I really do love them, that’s the problem. They swallow time and you aren’t even fully aware of it. Hmph.

    But that’s another post, darn it. That’s tomorrow’s post, darn it.

    Tonight, I’m puttering about grousing about Robots. It’s extremely interesting to hear you say that, Muse. This isn’t my first foray into the field of writing & posting online (very far from it), but it’s the first time I’ve done it while otherwise pursuing a professional career. That changes things.

    Hmn. 🙂

     
  5. Midnight Muse

    October 12, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Indeed, it does.

    I have no doubts, however, that we’ll both achieve that professional aspect. (did I mention I’m drunk?)

    I’m a firm believer in the pendulum of technology – that it will, hopefully soon – begin to swing back the other way. One more i-anything, and I’m gonna move into a cave with indoor plumbing and become a hermit (with a day job).

     
  6. Pete

    October 12, 2007 at 1:08 am

    A lunatic luddite after my own heart.

    Sigh.

    I’m going to wind up writing that ranting post tonight, aren’t I?

    Sigh.

    *goes off to type it*

     

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