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  #1   Add to arpeejay's Reputation   Report Post  
Old August 18th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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Notes on writing "Reset"

A few things:

(1) Yes, the basic premise has been floating around my head for at least a year or so; I finally got bored enough to want to write it, plus I'm having a small event for my staff at my house tomorrow so the need for procrastination was very high!

(2) Donnie, among others, hit the nail on the head in pointing out the alternate history focus. I've always been a big fan. I've been reading SF since I was in about the 4th grade and I glommed onto the alternate history stories from the very beginning.

(3) Likewise, I've always had a seriously neurotic, bordering on pathological, wish fulfillment thing going on inside my head. "What if...?" has always been more about my own life than just reading some cool science fiction. What if I'd been a girl? What if I'd had different parents? What if I'd had sisters instead of brothers? What if I'd been the baby instead of the oldest? What if I hadn't been a geek / nerd?

(4) Almost all of it predicated, of course, on ME continuing to be ME, and understanding and knowing and appreciating the difference between the life I was born into and the life I (was always thinking I) would like to have.

(5) The Buddha / Bardo stuff I stole pretty directly from Kim Stanley Robinson; I highly recommend "The Years of Rice and Salt," where he used this ploy.

(6) Aside from the basic plot, a lot of the specifics have been floating around my head for a very long time indeed (there really was a Mike, there really was a Pat, for example, at Washington H.S. in Pensacola in the 1970s) OR I made them up on the spot. I read about Ellen's nuptials this morning, for heaven's sake!

(7) The personal details from Life # 1 are historically accurate.

(8) Usually when I'm writing stories for this forum, I actually use paper and pen, then transcribe. That's partly because, well, each section usually involves a climax of some sort! I was less interested in that this time (and no doubt most people were much less interested in the story as a result!) and I wrote every section on the fly, using the Forum's text editor. (I don't actually have a copy in MS Word, for example, and I haven't quite figured out how to cut / paste it in a useable form.)

(9) Writing 45 minutes at a time was pretty cool (often I used my faux tomato kitchen timer to keep track -- I still managed to get a LOT of cleaning done!) but I tended to obsess over "what comes next" or "how to do it" between sessions. When you're in the shower and you've washed your hair three times in a row it's clear you need to take a break!

(10) My wish fulfillment obsession pretty much stopped dead in its tracks on July 4, 2001. It still creeps out on a fairly regular basis, mostly out of habit and for old time's sake, but since then it's always been an half-hearted effort. I'm sorta kinda hoping that with "Reset" it's finally (50 years on) out of my system.

To those of you who enjoyed "Reset" and said nice things (and, for that matter, anyone who read it), many thanks!

All the best & xoxo...

Richard
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  #2   Add to Eager Muscle's Reputation   Report Post  
Old August 18th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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Fantastic premise and execution!

RESET

A milestone in meglomaniacal musclegrowth that...

RESET

Won't try to come up with anything clever to say. Just wanted to acknowledge that you penned my new favorite story, Richard!
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Old August 18th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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Thank you for writing it. It made good procrastination breaks for me, too.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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Richard:

Some notes on some of your comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by arpeejay
(3) Likewise, I've always had a seriously neurotic, bordering on pathological, wish fulfillment thing going on inside my head. "What if...?" has always been more about my own life than just reading some cool science fiction. What if I'd been a girl? What if I'd had different parents? What if I'd had sisters instead of brothers? What if I'd been the baby instead of the oldest? What if I hadn't been a geek / nerd?
Yes... *sigh* The "What If?" curse. I have it too. It's difficult to control sometimes, but it can be fun if taken in small doses. I always reach the same conclusion... I would not change a thing... Although it would've been fun to know the what ifs, I love who I am too much to change anything. Maybe I'm afraid of change a little bit. But I love my inner self too much to even consider changing anything. Even the bad experiences are important to me. They molded and made me who I am today. The possibilities are endless, and they can give me a headache... wish-fulfillment has its limits, anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arpeejay
(8) Usually when I'm writing stories for this forum, I actually use paper and pen, then transcribe. That's partly because, well, each section usually involves a climax of some sort! I was less interested in that this time (and no doubt most people were much less interested in the story as a result!) and I wrote every section on the fly, using the Forum's text editor. (I don't actually have a copy in MS Word, for example, and I haven't quite figured out how to cut / paste it in a usable form.)
My most powerful writing has always been done using pen and paper. There is something about how you need to organize your ideas in your mind before putting them on writing, that makes it a little bit more purified, more distilled, more direct. There is a connection we can make when something is written by hand that can never be substituted by any other medium.

Do you keep your stories in paper or do you toss them after transcribing them? I keep a diary since 1994, and it's on paper, notebooks, napkins, bags... anything where I could write something, was used to keep a record of my feelings and thoughts. I plan to transcribe them, but it takes a lot of time. I will never, NEVER throw them away. There is NO WAY to reflect the mood of the writer when you transcribe the text. The handwriting reveals so much about ourselves and about the moment of the writing itself. If we're tired, if we're unhappy, if we're in a hurry, or furious... It's almost magical to me. It is a direct connection with the writer.

One recommendation. NEVER use the forum text editor to write your stories LIVE. Use notepad, and then just COPY/PASTE it into the editor. I've had horror stories with many online editors, where I've lost what I've written many times. Never again, I say. Save your work as plain text, and you will never have any problems with the formatting extras Word can add to your work. Before copying, disable the word wrap and you're good to go. It NEVER fails me.

I'm even using this method to write this reply. Maybe I'm used to it, from my beginnings coding HTML.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arpeejay
(9) Writing 45 minutes at a time was pretty cool (often I used my faux tomato kitchen timer to keep track -- I still managed to get a LOT of cleaning done!) but I tended to obsess over "what comes next" or "how to do it" between sessions. When you're in the shower and you've washed your hair three times in a row it's clear you need to take a break!
I'm a beginner in writing stories, so, a question about this. Do you create a full outline of what you want with your stories, or do you just go about chapter by chapter, creating the story as you go? As a Mage: The Ascension Storyteller, I had to have a very strong background for my story to be able to create situations and storylines "on the moment" with my players. Do you do something similar with your stories?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arpeejay
(10) My wish fulfillment obsession pretty much stopped dead in its tracks on July 4, 2001. It still creeps out on a fairly regular basis, mostly out of habit and for old time's sake, but since then it's always been an half-hearted effort. I'm sorta kinda hoping that with "Reset" it's finally (50 years on) out of my system.
So, we could say, you had to deal with this obsession for 30 or more years? WOW! Now, I'm curious to know what happened on July 4, 2001. Anything to do with explosives? (obviously, being Independence Day)

---

I say this again. I LOVED it

Thanks for sharing this with us.

dimarvalc
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Old August 18th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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(1) No, outline, it's totally on the fly (although I do, on occasion, have to go back to re-read sections to avoid making continuity errors);

(2) I'm 50 years old and I've been fantasizing about "what if" for as long as I can remember (and my earliest memories date back to age 2);

(3) http://www.rpjasper.org/richard/memorial.html

After that, "what if" (in the wish fulfillment sense) was rendered totally irrelevant.

Thanks again for the feedback...

xoxo

Richard
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:16 PM
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I enjoy "What If...?" stuff, too, so it was a pleasure to read. The only constructive criticism I can offer is that it perhaps became a bit too "wink-wink" silly at a few points, but aside from that, well done.
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