Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Revolution of Values

The basic idea of a meritocracy- that people of merit should lead- is not inherently bad. The problem is what we count as merit.

Our republic has transitioned over time from being a meritocracy of values to a meritocracy of achievement.  It's become perfectly acceptable to be a bigoted hypocrite in American politics, as long as you can create the illusion of a self-made man.  No morals? No standards? No convictions beyond your warped sense of self interest? Sure, we'll hand you the keys to our nuclear weapons!

Moreover, we've normalized the idea that politicians are crooked, rather than perpetually holding them to a higher standard than they hold themselves.  By doing so we've taken the reins off a rampaging elephant.  The threat of public censure was all that was holding them back all these years. Then they managed to gaslight us out of censuring them.  They fed us what will go down in history as the greatest lie ever sold: the argumentum ad crumenam- "I am rich therefore I am right."

A competent resistance must include a revolution of values and integrity.  Otherwise it has no legs to stand on.  Censure misconduct in your own ranks harshly.  Demand accountability for all corruption. Don't suffer bigots.  Raise up the most blameless among yourselves as leaders. If you do this, you'll stand a much greater chance of convincing the uncertain that your cause is the right one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Terrorism and the Power of Fear

Every time there's a terror attack, I fear yet another loss of civil liberties will soon follow. Bombs are not the real weapon here; ideas are. And what idea drives conflict more fluidly than framing the struggle as a clash of cultures somehow destined to come to conflict? What idea can make beasts of us faster than the idea that conflict is the engine of progress and supremacy? What can skew our emotions beyond acting rationally faster than media spiced with fear porn of dead children? And while the people cheer the arrests and killings that come in retaliation, they blithely ignore that the noose of tyranny grows ever tighter around their own throats in the name of safety and security.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly"- DRAFT DONE!

I finished the draft tonight. I just couldn't keep my hands off it. Word count stands at 114k words which is within my target. However I don't know what the final word count is going to be.

The next phase will probably have to start Sunday night since that'll be the tedious part, making sure this story 14 years in the making can still be made into something presentable.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly" Progress!

I hit a crucial benchmark with "The Linen Butterfly" tonight. I finished the first half of the story arc- rewritten from scratch from the original "Goldenlea"- and pasted in the second half.

The second half needs to be reworked for length, style, and content and then the whole book needs a good once over, but the current word count is 126k words so my goal of 110k words is absolutely on target once all of the redundant, obsolete, and unnecessary material is removed from the second half.

This includes several passages that I copied and pasted from the second half and moved into the first half to make the story flow better. Those will be removed from the second half and new material will only be added if it makes the narrative flow better.

My goal is still to have a draft ready for proofreading in one month, and to have a draft ready to submit by the end of the summer. Knock on wood, I'll have "The Linen Butterfly" out by January.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linen Butterfly Update!


Current goal: finish "The Linen Butterfly" by late August. Three years late from my original goal but I promise it'll be the be worth it!

I'll have the first draft done by my mid-June at this rate, and revisions will be relatively fast. The biggest operation will be merging the two halves which were written with slightly different continuities.

I expect to shed about 10-20% of the total volume of the text because there are some redundant passages and some scenes that no longer work. I'm also going to trim the ending a bit, it runs long. My total word count should still be about 110k.

It will be the longest and most involved story I've ever written in part because it takes place in two different worlds. I hope you all will enjoy a medieval swashbuckler with a hefty dose of cyberpunk!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Worldbuilding: Medieval Currencies

One of the fun things about worldbuilding is figuring out sundry things like how basic exchanges are reckoned!

I thought I had it figured out in "The Goldenlea," but I think I'm revising the old system I had in those books in favor of one that has a bit more basis in history for "The Linen butterfly."

Previously in "The Goldenlea," I had a three-tiered system of coinage.  This was based on the Anglo-French model of the Livre, Sou, and Denier, and on the thought that it was mostly the same as pre-decimal UK coinage.  But that was a mistake.  In fact the Livre (Pound) was not a standard coin in its own right until much later.

In fact the Kings of France tried to standardize a Livre coin in the 13th and 14th centuries and failed because it was over- or undervalued.  The Livre, for most of the medieval period, was a unit of account for large sums but not an actual coin of the realm.  Most transactions were rendered in silver Deniers or the gold Sou, or Solidus.

I revised my Gold Sol/Silver Luna/ Copper Terra system. Instead transactions are rendered mainly in silver Terras and Gold Sola, and an additional unit of account, called a Handweight, has been added.  Of course, larger sums can be rendered in marks for accounting purposes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Starting Meds

Starting meds tomorrow.  Pretty much the same stuff I was in high school.

My goal is to get my depression/lack of focus under control enough that I can make that final push to get my writing out there.  I feel like lack of productivity is the only thing holding me back at this point in my life.  I've had several years to convalesce and I feel like I've used that time wisely toward my long-term goals.

There's an old anecdote (not sure if it's true or not) that when Abraham Lincoln was once asked how he would spend his time if given three hours to cut down a mighty tree, he replied that he'd spend the first two hours sharpening the saw.

That's kind of how it works when you're a writer.  You have to spend a great deal of time honing your craft, developing a unique style, spinning prose that doesn't bore people to death.  You have to learn how to make the difficult decisions, how to tell a story efficiently without being so ruthlessly efficient that you lose your style, how to follow the rules, and how to break the rules in such a way that people can tell you know what you're doing.

Another important thing I've been doing all these years is trying to figure out what I'm good at.  I think historical fiction is an area where I can distinguish myself because, as a number of people have pointed out, I can write it without being dry.  I discovered that I can write high-caliber mind-bending SF and I want to try other things.  That doesn't mean I won't return to that but I'm not limiting myself either.

So basically, "The Linen Butterfly" will be my last SF novel for the foreseeable future.  That's high in my queue.  Then I'll follow that up with "Wake of the White Ship."

Very few writers make it before 35. I'm 32 and some change.  I can do this.  I just need to overcome that inertia and the lingering effects of a nasty breakdown.