Friday, September 30, 2011

Specifically, what are the technical challenges?

There are 4 considerations - size, bandwidth, viewing and triggering. Today we'll discuss size...

Ray Kurzweil makes the point in his Trancendental Man documentary that the computer we all carry around with us (ie smartphone) is 1 billion times better then computers of the sixties in terms of processing power per dollar. I think he factors size into his equation too. The power of exponential improvements.

Moore’s Law. Processing power will double every two years, the size decreases, etc. So by Ray’s calculation, the smartphone will be the size of a blood cell by 2029.

OK – so size is essentially zero.

In my novel, the micro evolves into a fun fashion statement. Old folks used ceramic clips on their belt. Boring. Others hide micros in earrings, watches, rings.

Teenagers don’t screw around. Skin patches. Tattoo ink. Breast implants.

But most people simply paint their fingernails with an electronic resin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How far are we from having transparent internet access

Very real possibility within a decade or so.

Today we talk about 3 screens – the computer, the TV and the smartphone display. With Mitch, my main character, his mind becomes the 4th screen.

So it’s really just another screen to view whatever’s on your smartphone screen. That includes surfing. Someone could ask you a question and you could Google it and see the answer. Pretty simple.

Today you’re able to wirelessly connect your screen data to special pairs of glasses. Vusix and Sharp make the glasses. Let’s say a decade from now you can stream to any pair of glasses, and that includes contact lenses.

Now let’s assume voice recognition software improves and when someone asks a question you see the search results automatically.

Which film won the Academy Award in 1975?

Boom – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” scrolls across the bottom of your vision field like the ticker on a news channel.

How do you tie a bowline knot?

Boom – watch an animation and tie away.

Any math problem – bam, answer is right there in Google search.

Let’s call this concept, inSyte.

If you saw someone today with this ability, you would think – wow, genius. Except we’re not talking about a genius. We’re talking about everyone having this ability, all the time.

And yes, it is inevitable.

Think about when you try to remember something and it takes a few seconds. You’re searching your local HD, so to speak. With inSyte, when you try to remember something, you might find the answer on a server in Germany. And you have no idea. Your memory now consists of man’s entire recorded set of information.

inSyte would become an extension of your own memory. In the cloud. You would become so dependent that without it you would feel empty. Unplugged.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Characters defined as Navy SEALs...

I’ve always been fascinated by Navy SEALs. I was in the Navy for 6 years in what’s considered an elite program – Navy Nuclear Power. Child’s play compared with what our SEALs go through. Pure child’s play. Those SEALs are a different breed. Maybe I can say that better – SEALs represent the finest qualities of our humanity. Endurance, focus, commitment, responsibility, heart, courage. They’re the best of the best of the best. All special Ops, for that matter. Maybe I’m partial to SEALs because I was in the Navy.

The antagonist in my novel is sort of a wolf like, paranormal killer. So the idea of a SEAL taking on a paranormal psycho killer – the SEAL would eat him up. No doubt.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time for a Little Writing Q&A...

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

My favorite character is Cheslov who is an antagonist… but not necessarily THE antagonist. I struggled at times with dialogue and scene creation for other characters. But for some reason, it just flowed with Cheslov.

My book takes place in 2020. Cheslov is Russian, born around the turn of the century. Around 1900, that is. Somehow he ends up in Tampa in 2020 as hired muscle for the Mayor. How did he survive to 2020 if he was born in 1900?

Something happened in the woods of Rostov.

It’s like that with Cheslov, he’s just naturally creepy. I think Kirkus reviews put it pretty well when they wrote the following in their review of inSyte:

Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.”

But he’s also charming, likeable on some level. He is the character everyone who reads my novel seems to talk about. Some are darkly drawn to him. Most found him fascinating in his evilness. But he’s the one people remember. Me too.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I’m totally a morning guy. I wrote the entire novel between 4:00am and 7:00am. All of it. It was a release from my day job. A way to use my creative side to balance out the technical work I had to do during the day.

I was actually working very hard on a business proposal – a $300m business proposal. I was stressed like you wouldn’t believe. Waking up very early in the am, not able to get back to sleep. Finally I started writing. It was a release, an ability to use my creative side to balance out all of the technical work I was doing for my job. And it just flowed. I developed a pattern of waking up every morning around 4:00am and writing until 7:00. Then starting my day job.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Figuring out what to write about. Once you figure it out then the next hardest part is putting together the first draft. After that it’s a piece of cake. Enjoyable to watch your baby grow.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

I can only tell you what worked for me. Think of a high concept. For me, that’s the ability to tap into the internet with your mind. So you can surf the internet the way you peruse your own memory today.

Try to remember the lyrics to a song. Might take a few seconds, then you remember. You find that information in your brain, obviously. Sort of a local hard drive, to use computer terms.

Now imagine you’re transparently tapped into the Global internet 24x7. Now try to remember the lyrics to a song. They’re there instantly. Feels like you found them in your brain, just like before. But you didn’t. You found the words on a server in Germany. Doesn’t matter, all transparent to you.

OK – so you have the high concept. Now what? Well, you have to have conflict. For me, I created a moral dilemma between the protagonist, the ‘monster’ Cheslov, and a local politician who thinks he has a direct connect with God.

Next – ratchet up the tension at every opportunity. I made my protagonist an ex-Navy seal so he could pretty much deal with anything. Made Cheslov part wolf, paranormal. Then went into detail explaining how screwed up the politician is, he’s hooked on drugs due to his wife’s death, etc. Keep ratcheting up.

Then create an outline – and write, write, write to fill in the outline. Don’t worry about adjectives or effect or the best dialogue or even grammar/punctuation.

This is all a hell of a lot of work.

But once you have the first draft – read it. And read and read and read. Every time I picked it up and read a chapter, I thought of better ways to describe things. I watched TV at night or listened to the radio during the day or read the paper in the morning and always, constantly, I gained ideas on how to improve my character’s dialogue, how to enhance a scene, how to polish, enrich, entertain, grow, connect.

The initial draft took 3 months to write. Then finishing the novel took another 3 years.

Oh – and don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck, indeed.