Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Half Outside The Comfort Zone Dept.

I've always chosen projects that lay at least half outside my comfort zone.

Some notes on Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned, specifically. I'm now around halfway through the project, assuming we have a 250K word length. For perspective, that's the same word length I originally projected for Flight of the Vajra, but I blew that out by 100K, so my word on how long this thing gets will be worth exactly what you paid for it.

Last night I was talking with a friend about why this book has turned into such an effort. It's ironic that it has, because it was originally supposed to be a fast-moving escape hatch from another project that was threatening to become morose and somber and, well, dull. This isn't to say AONO has become any of those things — it does move fast and strike hard, but getting it to accomplish such goals has been excruciatingly tough.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned creativity Flight of the Vajra writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Inspired By A True Story Dept.

On finding the real source of inspiration inside someone else's work.

In trying to describe Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned to friends, I've sometimes fallen back on the old "X plus Y" trick so common to those pitching a project to a prospective reader, producer, editor, or other authority. In my case, I cited three major sources of inspiration for the project: Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, James Cameron/Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Daysand Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain. No, really.

This in turn provoked another discussion: what I mean when I say something took inspiration from something else, as I've developed my own take on it over time.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned creativity inspiration writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Tear Along The Dotted Line Dept.

In stories, things fall apart; that's why they're interesting.

All that reading of John Cage and drawing from the Oblique Strategies must be paying off. Earlier this week, while working on Always Outnumbered, Never OutgunnedI ran into a wall — or rather, what only looked like a wall. Every obstacle is actually an opportunity, and all that.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned John Cage writers writing

Welcome to the Fold: Out From The Fold Dept.

Where'd "Welcome to the Fold" go? It's right here, waiting.

I haven't talked much about my previous novel, Welcome to the Foldconspicuous in its absence of detail. The reason for that is simple: over the last couple of months I've been seeking representation for it. So far, no dice, but I'm giving it a full calendar year to see if anyone shows interest. If not, I'll fall back to plan B and release it myself, so you might see it sometime in '17 if it comes to that.

I may have mentioned this before in passing, but it's worth repeating here. I'm also holding off on a major reworking of the site (and an updating of the layout) until I switch publishing platforms, which ought to happen sometime next year.

Tags: agents projects publishing Welcome to the Fold writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Outliners And Outliers Dept.

The thirty thousand foot creative view.

This weekend I filled mostly with pounding out the third end-to-end outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. And this time around, I cheated.

(Voices off: "It isn't cheating if it works!")

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. When you're stuck in a mud puddle, on ice, or a pile of wet leaves, stop spinning your tires. After two and a half outline drafts, I was stuck'r than ev'r, like someone trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle by throwing the pieces into a blender. 

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Tags: creativity creators writers writing

Flight of the Vajra: 'Flight of the Vajra' Is In The Running In The Nerdist's Space Opera Competition At Inkshares!

ATTENTION READERS/FANS OF MY WRITING AND MOST EVERYONE ELSE TO BOOT: I need your help! I have just submitted my far-future SF fantasia Flight of the Vajra to The Nerdist's new Space Opera competition over at Inkshares: Here are...


I need your help!

I have just submitted my far-future SF fantasia Flight of the Vajra to The Nerdist's new Space Opera competition over at Inkshares:

Here are the details about the competition:…/nerdist-space-opera-contest

What do you need to do?

Simple. Pre-order the book. ($10 at the lowest tier.)

If you've considered buying a copy of this previously, but held off for whatever reason, this is just the excuse you need!

The more pre-orders I score by March 15, 2016, the greater my odds of winning. Winning means I get my book distributed by the Nerdist in their collection, and there may be "an opportunity to co-develop your work into other media such as movies, TV series, and digital productions."

If you can't spare the money to pre-order, at least do me the justice of adding yourself as a reader. The site's easy to set up membership with; you can log in via Facebook or Twitter.

Spread the word, share the links. Help me make this happen!

[Note: For the time being I am leaving the original Amazon product links up for Vajra. However, if the Inkshares folks say yes, I will have to take down my current edition of the book due to their contract. I don't have a problem with this personally; just that if the links go offline at some point later, that'll be why. I'll keep everyone posted should that happen.]

Tags: contests Flight of the Vajra Inkshares publicity publishing real life The Nerdist

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: A Bigger And Better Excuse Dept.

When does justification for a creative decision fall short?

Working on the second draft of the outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned today, something occurred to me as I found a detour around a plot roadblock. Time and again I've come up against what looks like plot holes, things that caused me to stop what I was doing and argue with myself. Does this not make sense? Why is it really here in the first place? Should I do something else?

Round and round turns the hamster-wheel, until a day or two later an answer pops out. Sometimes I scrap what I had in mind and come up with something else. Other times, though, I end up keeping what I have, only with a far more detailed justification for it.

The latter makes me deeply uncomfortable. Did I actually figure out how to make the element in question work, or did I just come up with a better excuse/self-justification for why I should leave it in?

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Tags: editing writers writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: The End Of The Year's Road Dept.

Looking back, looking forward.

Like many of the rest of you, the last few days for me have been one long whirlwind of holidaze [sic]. Now that the wave has crested and broken, a few bits and pieces of what's behind and in front of me.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned MeTal programming projects real life Robotron: 2084 Welcome to the Fold writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Heard You Missed Us, Well, We're Back Dept.

The latest details about my recent adventures in overwork. Oh, and I get angry.

This is Rumor Control; here are the facts.

  • Work paused on blogging system MeTal for the month of December while I turn my attention back to another programming project I'd back-burnered temporarily. It's actually a rewrite of a much older C#./NET project that ended up rusting and growing moss, and since I'm no longer doing much on that side of the programming fence, the whole shebang is being reworked in Python/Django. (Some part of me regrets using Django — it is a heavy-ass framework — but I really didn't feel like rolling my own DB management, CSRF protection, etc., etc.)
  • In theory I was supposed to have an end-to-end outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (the next novel) by the end of November — National Novel Plotting Month, ha ha — but I'm barely at what I assume is the halfway point. Half of the plotting process has been pure Fibber's Closet — open up the door, get pelted by ever manner of junk — and the other half has been sitting there, burning a hole in a spot on the wall with my eyes and being unable to answer the simplest questions about the work. The last time I opened a 55-gallon drum of worms like this, I ended up needing an extra-large shipping container to stuff it all back into (see: Flight of the Vajra).
  • Still mulling over what I want to do with the stuff I love to do but have no time for. Come the new year, I'll be exploring some more aggressive time-management strategies. I have a bad habit of picking vague goals for a day's work and not

Side note: It strikes me as nothing less than TSK (Total Security Kabuki) to see encryption being outed as the new terrorism-enabling bugaboo.

Nothing I could say on this subject would be eloquent, so maybe I should not be eloquent. It's a stupid idea; it will not make anyone safer; encryption protects us from bad guys far more than it empowers them; and it is impossible to create encryption that "only good guys can use". A bucket with a hole in it isn't a bucket anymore; it's a sieve; and encryption with key escrow isn't encryption; it's an exploit waiting to happen. Weakening encryption empowers criminals.

(... breathe, Serdar)

I am sick and tired of living in a society where people seem all the more eager to throw away the very things that distinguish us from the people we claim to be arrayed against. The terrorist who wants us to live in fear and the despot who longs to live off of our fear are indistinguishable in the end; they are both parasites of the spirit. Freedom from fear is about more than being protected from things; it is also about being able to freely choose all the risks inherent in a life actually worth living in the first place.

OK, I'll take a drink and relax now. I promise.

Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned programming projects real life work writing

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: The Man With The Plan Dept.

On a 30,000-foot view of a book, versus what you see in the trenches.

OK, everything's finally disentangled on this end. I don't know what kind of mess I engendered by asking for Python 3 support, but as long as it's working and working consistently, that's all I care about. On to other matters.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned writing

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