Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Writing A Book

As many of you know, I've finished a draft of the first four chapters of the novel I'm working on while I'm unemployed. (Don't feel bad if you didn't know -- I don't keep in personal contact with everyone as much as I'd like, and at first I even forgot to send a copy to Mom.) This is going really well, but writing feels a lot like sitting on your ass even if in the long run you're being "productive," and it can be hard to convince myself to continue before I've gotten things more settled in the immediate term. Nevertheless my confidence in the value of artistic genius is stronger than my fear.

I'm about to head out for another smackdown with the Muse at this place I like where they let you sit on the couches and listen to music all day. Sort of like home, but without a TV or anything to distract you. If you've ever thought about writing a novel or a short story or anything creative, you should really try it. It's fun once you get the hang of having a story already in place before you get going. This has always been my problem before -- 50 pages in and then, uh oh, what's supposed to happen? I never really knew. Now I know. This is why I am going to be a millionaire and everyone will read my book on the beach next summer. You wait and see.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Romulans Will Soon Appear Off The Port Bow

Invisibility isn't science fiction any more, and we're getting closer, according to stuff some scientists just found out.
One approach uses a type of fishnet of metal layers to reverse the direction of light, while another uses tiny silver wires, both at the nanoscale level.

Both are so-called metamaterials -- artificially engineered structures that have properties not seen in nature, such as negative refractive index.

The two teams were working separately under the direction of Xiang Zhang of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at the University of California, Berkeley with U.S. government funding. One team reported its findings in the journal Science and the other in the journal Nature.

Each new material works to reverse light in limited wavelengths, so no one will be using them to hide buildings from satellites, said Jason Valentine, who worked on one of the projects.

I'd like to just quote the whole story, but I'll trust you to read it. The Klingons are already way ahead of the curve here, so you kind of owe it to your species to keep up.

In other news, I've finished the first two chapters of the first draft of my novel and have sent them to a few people for feedback. I have a plan to send chapters 1-4 to a second group, etc. and get (hopefully somewhat ) continuous input while I keep moving forward, rather than waiting weeks for everyone to chime in. I've clocked my pace on a pages per day basis, and if I'm as diligent as I'm capable of -- not that I don't get distracted -- I can have a full draft of a 400-page novel ready in November. It'll require discipline, but I'm steadily becoming more disciplined. My life is largely going to the gym, practicing kung fu and trying to write. I wouldn't mind it if I were even more of a monk at this point, to be honest, but I'm happy with the balance I've struck.

So what about y'all? Drop me a line or leave a comment.