Thursday, April 26, 2012

Smörgåsbord

As I'm getting set to write my new book, I'm facing a lot of options--far too many. I had originally wanted to write an internal drama with four characters. We'd know in the beginning when each of those characters died, but we wouldn't know what the impact of those deaths would be. At the same time, so many people died in Cyberlama that I'm curious to try and write a book where nobody dies. I'm also playing with the idea of collage--taking real speech from real people or fusing headlines from news stories into my prose. And, as I've mentioned over the last few days, I'm experimenting with more flowery prose as well.

I'm also thinking of various topics. For example, one of the things I touched on but didn't go in-depth with in Cyberlama was the idea of defining life. Two of the scientists in the book had an on-going debate about what microorganisms were considered to be alive. That debate is interesting to me, so I thought I could make more of it in my new book. But I also wanted to explore social media and the idea of connectedness. That's another scientific project. So, do I now have a group of scientists to work with? Maybe, I wouldn't want all of my characters to be scientists. Or maybe I do?

Sometimes when I get into this sort of situation, waiting is a helpful thing. Ideas can sort themselves out in my head after a good night's sleep. I also feel like the more clarity I get on ideas, the narrower my options become. I realize some ideas weren't really good ones, and I realize other ideas are better or worse fits, etc. I often feel like the "right" answer is out there if I can just clarify my ideas enough. That's what I'm trying to do.

By the way, a really cool UCLA Professor, Deborah Estrin, was selected as one of CNN's 10 most powerful women in tech. I've been working with her over the last couple of months, and she's fantastic. Among her many projects, she's bringing power to the people by designing cell phone apps that allow patients to monitor themselves while also protecting their privacy. Yes, that's her sister on the list too. They seem to be an amazing family. Her parents were both UCLA profs, and her dad worked with John von Neumann on some of very first computers.

Added later: Okay, regarding his comments about temptation, the Dalai Lama really needs to read The Pagani Experiment now. Can any one of my three blog readers make that happen please? Surely one of you must be buddies with him.

What's Peanut eating? The rubber collar of my left iPod earbud.

4 comments:

  1. Mr Lama says he'll read your novel. Send me a copy and I'll forward it to his Holiness. Honest.

    I enjoy the period of time when I'm letting an idea stew and take whatever shape it wants in my head, but I also get antsy to start writing. Usually taking a stab at the first chapter forces the idea to form itself. Sometimes that doesn't work, though, and I just have to work on something else. I have a couple of novels that I've been letting stew for years now. Some day they'll be ready to be written.

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    1. I'm feeling antsy for sure. I feel like I'm wasting time, when I know I'm really not. With Cyberlama, the story came out of me just writing little tidbits. This book will probably work the same way.

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  2. Wow, lots of interesting things to explore, Davin! Like Scott, I really love that period of time when I'm letting an idea stew. Both for SCALES and for CURSE, I've relished in those months of just mulling over things and letting ideas sprout all over.

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    1. I've had a lot of sprouting. I'm ready to start mowing! :)

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