Category Archives: author's note

Note: New Blog

i’ve decided to start another blog exclusively for the fiction writing process.  this blog contains all the preparatory things – the ideas, the outlines, the research.  on the new blog – Adventures in Quantum Antarctica – i’ll start with the outline, work on the story day by day, and then edit the work chapter by chapter.  all this will be completely visible on the blog, and open to comments.  i hope you’ll join me.

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author’s note: a short while

i’m going to take a week’s break and hang with family.  i’m only bringing a notebook, and several books i’m reading.

Galileo’s Dream, by Kim Stanley Robinson, where he tackles quantum physics for a lay audience (good explanation)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, where he goes inside a videogame (high score)

several books by connie willis, kage baker, and other similar writers whose names escape me.

i’m also bringing my paints so i can do a few paintings, which is my other life.

the books are research.  every one of them has to do with consciousness, time travel, quantum physics.  so i’m learning and changing as i read them.

for instance, after reading about a bunch of ingame assassins in ready player one, i went and discovered a bunch of men in black interacting with all the key players in the wilderness chapter.  they all try to influence events, and all their little schemes backfire, and some of the backfires function as turning points for the very characters they were designed to neutralize.  so now the story is that much richer, and it’s because i read what other writers have to say about what’s currently going on in the world.

i read in one of the quantum physics books i studied, where the quantum physicist in question felt betrayed, hurt, when another quantum physicist published a book on quantum consciousness while the quantum physicist in question was still in the outline stages of his book on quantum consciousness.  and my ex the computer genius, a sagittarius, is constantly coming up with genius ideas that he never follows thru on, and then gets mad when someone somewhere else goes ahead and develops it.  me, i take picasso’s attitude, and just steal it.

disclaimer: with artists, stealing is not a bad thing, because it always comes out uniquely you when you state it, and therefore it’s your own original creation.

i’ve spent this last little while messing with my chapter outlines.  i went thru and ordered each chapter, a little desultorily, putting like subjects together, eliminating duplicates, moving some things to more appropriate chapters.

i’ve been visualizing the actual book.  the front and back covers, the typography, the page design.  the cover at this point is mostly white, or a very light antarctic blue, with our players in some sort of quasi-star wars pose with the mountains of antarctica in the background, and QUANTUM ANTARCTICA splashed across the top in an indiana jones font.  and a nice map of antarctica without ice slap in the middle of the back cover.  as for inside the book, the actual text, taking a page from gallileo’s dream, i’m thinking of using a half-page chapter heading, with a chapter number and title.  i don’t think i’m going to do a drop cap.  i want quotes in the heading in some cases.  then there’ll be major subchapter sections, which will also be half-pages, but with no chapter number or title, and maybe a quote, depending.  and within these there’ll be small breaks, which will be the usual *** separators.  and then wee tiny breaks which are just an extra line between paragraphs.  that should cover it.

i want to make each chapter distinctive, according to whether it’s in the game or not.  chapters set inside the game should have a different look, maybe even a different typeface, rather than just using italic text, for instance, which i find harder to read.

and then there are the illustrations.  i’m doing all the maps and diagrams, for sure.  jim is doing all the figure pieces and the graphic novel portion.  i’m not sure who’s going to take care of the landscapes.  we’ll see when it comes time for it.  months down the road.

all sorts of shit has happened to cut into my work time in these last couple of weeks, so i’ve spent it reading, which is work, and doing other things.  and now i’m taking a complete stop for a week.

and when i come back, i’m going to start writing.

the look of the blog has to change, but i don’t want to start another blog for this.  not like i have a dedicated core of readers or anything, but i’m lazy enough to just want to keep it all one thing.  so even tho i don’t have anything other than a provisional title yet – quantum antarctica! – the blog can stay my pirate novel.  but it needs to have a three-part top level (outline, draft, final), and all the rest can go in as second level (research, author’s notes, etc.).

i don’t yet know the exact tone of the first chapter, but i can pretty clearly see the rest of the story, at least the tone of it, the level of franticness.  like the assassins i put in last night, i don’t know all of what goes on in the chapters, and i have left it vague deliberately, because what i actually write will determine what i actually write, not my ideas, not my research, not my stolen plot devices.

anyway.  because one of the premises of the story is that everything is inside of you, i have been relying on this as a method for figuring out the plot of the story.  for instance, when i was reading about the ingame assasins of ready player one, i thought, hey there’s an idea, and rushed downstairs to make sure i wrote it down before forgetting it.  but immediately an objection occurred – so what if the layers were threatened inside the game, there’s nothing the men in black will be able to do to them.  so i sat there, and rolled the situation around in my mind.  how do the men in black interact with each character?  and as i looked at the girl, i asked what was her vulnerability, and where could they actually interfere with her path?  that’s what they should have done.  i did this for each character.  and then i went back and decided what the men in black would do if they were incompetent, and made a list of these mistakes.  they were simply the actions that were most appropriate (or in-) to my main characters, given a push from THEM inside the game.

it was a very passive thing, finding out how these men in black affected the characters, and how that affected the progress of the game.

this afternoon i started thinking about THEM.  there is a bright young thing that tries to sell all the panicked people the classical solution to all their quantum problems.  after every new quantum marvel, there’s a voice that remarks, ‘we can deal with that, we already have laws/devices on the shelf, just a small mod and we’ll have it taken care of.”  so there’s someone in there talking to the higher-ups.  it’s not snake; he’s got enough to do.  but it’s someone close to snake, and he and snake figure it out, and then this person goes and represents the plan to the higher-ups, sells it to them.  i guess i’ll write it up before shutting down and unplugging the computer JIC.

author’s note

more progress, steady and slow.  now that i’ m working in the union documents – the 6 sections of 7 chapters each – i’m dealing with the material that will become my story.  and getting used to the tone of each section.

every section is different, which duh, but i’m surprised to see the differences.  for instance, the themes of three that i found in the first section dissolves quickly in the second section, and by the time they’re actually in the game, it’s totally irrelevant.  instead, in the game we concentrate on the players playing the game, and don’t include all the other realworld stuff.  i had piled up all sorts of development in the game chapters, but when i got to the boy and girl in antarctica, which is chapter 14, the end of the second section, i decided that there would be no other sounds outside the game.  in the regular chapters, the dragoncon chapters and the realworld chapters both, there is a cacaphony of different characters and happenings, but i want silence in the game.  this happens in the fourth section, and the difference is striking, because you go from a concentrated slice of a fantasy videogame to an increasingly bizarre and unpleasant reality, and the change is jarring.  but when you get to the fifth section, the videogame and the realworld are blending, and the cacaphony bleeds thru.

the sections are all distinctly different from each other.  i wonder if that means typographical differences, since there are many things i can do to make visual differences, even if the primary published version is a blog post.

*  *  *

i’m wondering how the breaks in narrative will look.  i could use the splats, or something similar.  or i could use a font change to introduce sections.

meanwhile...

i’m working on a different look to the blog.  i need to feature the actual story as i’m writing it, with maybe the daily version and the final draft chapter as well, but the research and the other stuff needs to go into the background.  having some trouble finding the right features in the various themes that wordpress offers.

first section breakdown

for the past couple of days i’ve been doing a lot of work with my eyes shut, going thru the chapters in slow detail, with frequent reviews to make sure i had everything and that i wasn’t drifting off to sleep.  this may sound like a trivial part of the work i’m doing, but i’m taking it very seriously.  creativity is all about drifting around the edges of sleep until you get a tug on the line of your consciousness.

the work i’ve been doing with my eyes open hasn’t been a lot different.  i’ve been going thru just the first section, the first seven chapters, marking things, moving things, ordering things but only by general subject.  once i do that, the things that don’t belong in that chapter stick out, and it’s not a problem to move them out.  and when i’m done with this simple task, the whole thing looks so much better.  the whole thing seems like it’ll be manageable.  miracles need to happen, but it feels like they will happen on schedule.

as i was arranging chapter 3 by subject – chapter 3 is where the boy and girl talk to kurt about actually making a computer game – i noticed that there were three main themes in that chapter.  and as i continued to tackle the chapters one by one, i continued to discover mostly themes of three.  i’ve been noticing repetitions of 3s and 7s all the way to this moment, and don’t suppose i’ll stop now.  it’s what helps make it a fairy tale.  i’ve got research to support it…

with the themes included, here are the first 7 chapters in short.

chapter 1, dragoncon 1, the vision.
gifts, lessons, obligation
this is the fairy tale, where the girl and boy go off and fight the evil angel to win a free world.

chapter 2, dragoncon 1, brainstorming the game.
levitation; lessons; videogame; news w/family; report
in this chapter the boy and girl share their vision, wow the audience, and explore what they need to do to fulfil their mission.

chapter 3, quantum programming.
quantum computer, quantum computer game, quantum training
the boy and girl go see kurt, who is building a quantum computer.  they want his advice about creating a quantum videogame for instant enlightenment.

chapter 4, designing the game.
specs, ingame, work
the design team figure out what they want and how it’ll work, and then devote every waking moment to doing the things.

chapter 5, quantum kernel.
kernel, discussion, tablet
kurt creates the kernel in a fit of drug-induced genius, then sits down with the team to talk about consciousness.  kurt hacks an interface for the kernel, and builds enough quantum tablets for the design team.

chapter 6, cre8y the game’s prototype level
tablet, work, peripherals, argument
the team gets their tablets and creates the game with only minimal effort.  kurt knocks together player peripherals, and there is a snitty argument among team members.

chapter 7, testing begins on level 4 clouds
peripherals, playtesting, crappy results,
kurt introduces the game gear, the team tests their game and are disappointed with the results so far.

i’m about ready to start in on the next 7 chapters.  i’m kind of tired right now, or i’d look them over before shutting down for the night, so i can meditate about them.  but i know i’m not going to be spending much conscious time once i get back upstairs…

first section synopsis

i hit a milestone this weekend.  i finally finished sorting and distributing all the research, and all the notes, and all the comments, and all the character traits and arcs.  that was a gargantuan task, with about 500 pages all told.  and now all of that is junking up my chapter structure.  at this point i have 6 primary documents, called the union documents.  each of these documents has 7 chapters, so it’s 1-7, 8-14, etc.  the first 7 chapters is 60 pages long.

right now i’m going thru the first 7 chapters, which i guess is section 1, and i’m beginning to make sense of what i’ve done.  when i can identify that a particular quote or piece of research has to go in some other chapter, i move it, but basically i’m tagging each piece with a keyword – brain, consciousness, quantum – and shuffling them all together with like articles in the same chapter.

my main trouble with this first section are two chapters where kurt does a lot of work.  the first chapter is 3, where the boy and girl ask kurt if he can make a quantum computer that can run a videogame that simulates a quantum world, in order to teach quantum thought so people can use the force luke.  the second is chapter 5 where kurt makes a quantum computer and then hacks a quantum tablet, and builds a videogame engine to simulate a quantum world.

in these two chapters is a lot of research.  my categories are quantum, qubit, theory, time, computer, hardware, software, peripherals, brain, consciousness, training.  some of these things need to be moved either to chapter 4, designing the game, or chapter 6, creating the game.  for example, the peripherals get built in chapter 6 but all the research was stuck in the bowels of chapter 5.

i’m still deciding where things go.  i removed all the research from chapters 3 and 5 to an empty document, and sorted them all according to topic, and right now i’m going thru the list putting numbers on each entry.  then of course it’ll be divided up and reinserted into the union document.  i suspect this is going to go on for some time.

when i’m done with this, and ready to write, i will separate the first section into individual chapter documents, because i need the room to completely tear each chapter apart and build the story from the rubble.

***

i was lying in bed trying to meditate myself to sleep (oh so easy except those nights when my head won’t stop spinning and it’s useless to try to concentrate on anything, or to expect my mind to shut up, and if that’s not bad enough my legs twitch until i just get up and come down here), and running over the first 7 chapters in my head.  i wanted to go on, but drew back and started over again on the first 7 chapters.  but that got boring so i thought i’d write down what i’d been figuring out in my head.  because of course by tomorrow it’ll be gone.

so.

chapter 1 the vision, fine – i’ve done that too much lately.  the boy and girl drop acid and become gods.

chapter 2 they tell everybody at dragoncon about it, cause a stir using their new powers, find out what people would like to see in a quantum videogame, and discuss what exactly quantum training would look like.

chapter 3 the boy and girl go to kurt, a genius programmer, to find out if he can make a videogame to simulate a quantum world and train people in quantum consciousness.  they talk about quantum computers, quantum mind, quantum videogames.

chapter 4 the team design their quantum game using all the tools at their disposal, and the result is well meant but amateur.

chapter 5 kurt works late into the night inventing a quantum computer, then creating a quantum programming kernel, and then writing a quantum game engine.  then he quickly hacks a tablet computer to run as a game editor, and presents it to the team.

chapter 6 the team uses the quantum tablet to quickly create a videogame generations ahead of anything they’d ever seen, and they build everything they want into their game. kurt invents cool new peripherals and everybody feels better.

chapter 7 the girl and boy test the game, and are disappointed at how cobbled together and weak it is, more the product of their squabbles and ego battles than a faithful attempt to make the game they were shown in their vision.  but it’s the eve of the game’s debut, and there’s no time to change course now.

i’m not sure about when exactly kurt invents the peripherals.  they’re the highpoint of the debut, and whenever they are introduced they will attract all the attention.  so do i get kurt to invent them while the team is busy designing the game, or do i have them invent them while the team is busy using the quantum tablets to create the game?  the 6th chapter is much more  high energy and upbeat, and to bring them out while the team is doing such a crappy job of designing would just demoralize them, damping their enthusiasm for the tablet.

besides, does kurt invent the tablet first?  or the peripherals?  the tablet, of course.  even tho that’s the hardest thing.  and he’s exhausted when he’s done, but busy hands etc, and while he’s got nothing to do while they’re creating the game, and has to be there to instruct them on / figure out the finer points of quantum game editing, so he tinkers with game controllers and remotes.  that’s chapter 6.  fine.

at this stage of writing the plot i can make these adjustments following only the logic of what happens next.  but by the time i’m at the end of the story i won’t have that luxury.  i will have to do enormous things to get myself out of holes and corners.  i count myself lucky at this point.

another try at the first chapter

i’ve been spending the in-between moments, the reverie before sleep, trying to work thru the first chapter, which is the vision, the fairy tale, the symbol of this story i’m working on.  and it, more than anything, is the part where i get cosmic help, where my steps are directed from the place where miracles happen.  this may be too new age for some of you, but i’m a recovering newager, and it’s been many years since i took a drink.

i might as well say inspired.

this is the part where i get inspired.  this first chapter is more like poetry, more like a painting.  more like a short film.  a cartoon.

anyway, i’m trying to distill everything i feel about what this story is into one little fairy tale.  i’m trying to let this part of it tell me.  and so i’m meditating on it every time i lay down to go to sleep, and often reflect on it during my day.  and things have been coming in differently than when i first thought up this vision the boy and girl share.

they learn to fly.  they’re up on the roof sleeping it off, and the angel comes along, pokes them, sprinkles fairy dust on them, and directs them to the second star on the right, then decides to go down off the roof and join the party.  their first flight takes them as far as the next skyscraper, where they leave a mark that they’d been there, and take a picture with the girl’s phone.  their next flight is smoother, and by the time they get to morning they’re expert beginning fliers, tho she has trouble staying aloft.  they approach a planet, that turns into a moon as they get closer, then an island, a lake, a pond, a pool, a plate, a reflection in a bubble, a molecule, an atom.  that’s too far, so they back up until it’s an island again, and park themselves on a cloud, where the angel joins them.

i’m not clear on this part yet, but the angel gives, shows, or teaches them a bunch of powers to make, name, create, speak into being.  the angel tells them all they see is theirs to do with what they wish, and then goes off somewhere while they do what they wish with the place.  the angel comes back to find them wasting their time playing idle games and lying on the couch all day, so they get kicked out to do it for real, steal a feather and a sword, and go off to have their antarctic adventures.

i’m not sure how to handle this part, but they spend a lot of time going thru antarctica having adventures, like the most involved and intricate videogame ever, but it’s much more real.

i’m not sure how to get to this part, but in the end, they both have the sensation that they are just lying there, the essence of antarctica, as if their very bodies formed the land masses and seas of antarctica, the soil, the mountains, as if every particle of their bodies were players, teeming over the archipelago and continent, playing the most real videogame ever, thinking they were individual players while actually being nerve endings of the boy and girl who were actually lying comatose on a rooftop.

***

i was just reading max barry’s latest – machine man – a realistic look at corporate values.  he did his first draft online, just like i’ve done.  but he posted his day’s work every day, while i tend to produce a chapter at a time, so as not to really frustrate readers.  but you know what, nobody reads the creative work on this blog.  the only thing that gets views on this blog is the post on pirate maps.  when i wrote my first online first draft, splat, i envisioned writing and rewriting online, so that every draft, every change would be visible.  and that lasted about a minute, as i realized i’d be reworking the same chapter 20 times or more until i was satisfied with it.  sure, it would be fascinating to see a chapter go from outline to polished draft (oxymoron).  but all the mess in between – how many times does anybody want to see the same ten pages tweaked and rehashed?  it’s boring enough for me, why should you, deareader, have to put up with it as well?  why can’t you have the pleasant task of reading it when i’m thru fucking with it?  that’s why i publish when i’ve got it down.  because it takes a long time to whip a ten-page chapter into shape.  because i’m sitting there waiting until it comes thru like a radio station before writing it down, and then when i’m finished with that bit i tune in for some more.  and when it’s to a stopping point, say, the end of the chapter, i stop, and edit it, and make it worth reading.

i guess i can do that online as well. so that’s kind of a plan.  i’m going to publish it as i’m writing it, f’real.  cool.  i’d been thinking about this for the last few months, and i’m glad i’ve been inspired to some sort of resolution.  thanks max barry.

on another tack, i think i’m going to start a new blog for the story.  this is primarily because the name of the blog is ‘my pirate novel’ and i’m not as it turns out writing a pirate novel.  piracy only has a small tiny bit to do with what i’m writing.  so i’d like to have a blog title that reflects my actual story.

trouble is, of course, that i don’t know the title, any more than i know the names of the boy and the girl.  for some reason, these seem to be very elusive, or important, or stubborn, or something.  but i still don’t have names for them.  the working title of the story is quantum antarctica, or q-antarctica, or q-ant, and the name of the videogame is the game.  in fact, when i posted a synopsis awhile back, i got a case of paranoia that made me change all the keywords to things like badguys(tm) and s/f*fancon, so i’m not entirely sure on even the larger concepts, as far as names go.

anyway, these are the kinds of little things i get to deal with.

author’s note: progress

i’m almost to the end of cutting and pasting research.  first i went thru my research document, where i’ve been compiling research for over six months.  i went thru every bit of research and copied a great deal of it over into the particular chapter it belonged to.  in some cases it was easy to tell where something had to go, and to which character it belonged.  in some cases, i sat and read the research, and then sat and thought about it, and eventually some character’s voice echoed the point of view of the research, or i saw one of the characters explaining it or acting it out, and so i knew where to put it at that point.  the ones i couldn’t figure out i highlighted in yellow, to come back to when i was all done.

then i went thru my blog posts, the research i transcribed from library books i made notes of, and articles that i posted from articles on antarctica, and brain research, and piracy, and quantum physics, things i got off the internet and didn’t immediately mine for my research document.  i went thru all of that and highlighted the things to transfer, and then just the same, figured out where they went and put them there.

then i went thru my comment document, which is all my posts about character and plot and story idea, and made sure all that was in the chapter structure documents where everything else was.

finally i went thru my miscellaneous character notes document, where i had all sorts of character progression notes that were still waiting to be distributed among the various chapters, but at least i’d figured out which characters these lists belonged to.  i’m in the middle of that now.

in fact, the thing i’ve just finished doing is taking a list of the chapter headings of the 48 laws of power, going thru each one and figuring out which of several characters to assign it to.  snake got most of them, obviously, because these ‘laws’ are mostly manipulative tools, and teach you how to cheat and hustle your way to a heartless victory over others.  but some of them are useful if you’re fighting abusive behavior, so i ended up giving a lot of them to c3ll3r! (read: celery), who is fighting an abusive dad, and to =p (read: everyplayer), who both manipulates c3ll3r! and fights snake’s abuse.  but i was quite surprised to see a whole bunch of them getting assigned to random, because he’s not at all abusive.

turns out that some of the 48 laws of power have to do with staying in the background, not offending anybody, getting your way without anybody noticing, learning how to negotiate.  and random can use all these traits in his journey from india call center operator to hero of the  evolution.

when i’m finished adding in all these things, because there are loads more after the 48 laws go in, i will be able to take each section of 7 chapters and go thru it, sorting and filing, getting each chapter in shape.  when all 42 chapters are similarly trimmed and tidy, i will be able to start writing.  it’s the last step; i swear.  millions of total pages of research.

it might happen as early as the beginning of next month.  we’ll see.

in addition, i am spending a lot of time meditating on the first chapter.  this chapter is the fairy tale itself, the vision that sets everything into motion, the compelling story that sums up all the effort to follow.  the way i wrote it in my notes, originally, was merely a foreshadowing of the rest of the story, and i don’t want that.  i want a completely different fairy tale that says the same thing in a visual way, a simple story you can see, where complex ideas don’t get in the way of the fun things that happen.

because in the fairy tale the boy and girl get to learn how to fly, and how to create their own world, and they play this great world simulation game, like a videogame but real, and they learn the big lessons, and live happily every after.

in my meditations i get as far as the boy and girl, having flown to antarctica, meeting up with the fiery angel on a cloud.  then i fall asleep.

i’m working backwards here.  going from cinderella to the patriarchal constraints of modern fundamentalism, so to speak.  here i want to take the inevitable movement towards quantum oneness and turn it into a folk tale, with a hero and a monster and a twist and a moral.  and it’s driving me nuts, because i’m good at stews, not distillations.

which is why i’m meditating on it.  i’m giving the rest of the universe all the room i can to make suggestions about how it should go.

i’ve been getting excited about beginning the writing.  all this work i’ve done up to now is going to become invisible, remain in the background, as i put all the bits and pieces of each chapter into order, and figure out who does what when.  i can see what happens in some chapters, especially in the beginning when it isn’t quite as complicated.  for most chapters i have no idea what i will actually write about, how i will introduce the things that have to happen in order to proceed with the story.  it’s going to be a real trip sitting down to write.  gradually, over days, i will get everything ordered so that i’ve got a rough outline, every character’s piece pasted in where it goes.  then i’ll fill it out a bit over the next day, until i can see every part of the chapter.  and then i sit and write it.  and then i edit it once.  and then i post it.  and i’ll do that day after day for months.  months.  and then jim and i will work out the illustrations, and then i’ll edit the whole thing.  and then we’ll put it together and print it up.  in between this is getting publishing figured out, and marketing, and distribution.  and that’s going to take a couple of years.  in between, THEY will decide what i’m doing is a threat to the way they want it, and i’ll get watched and investigated, but hopefully they’ll think i’m too obvious to be harmful, and will leave me to continue writing and publishing my novel.  and i think 2 years is good enough, even tho i feel the pressure to do it all NOW, because even after 2 years it’ll still be going on, and my contribution will still be out there doing whatever it’s supposed to do to whomever it’s supposed to reach.

author’s note

i’ve completed another milestone, tho you can’t see it.  i’ve finished transferring all those hundreds of pages of research to my union documents.  the union documents are the 42 chapters separated into 6 sections of 7 chapters each, and they’re filled with everything that has to happen, and everything behind what has to happen, and all the realworld references for all the things that have to happen in each chapter.  they’re all very long and bulky, and organized into topics and characters.  i’ve covered this before.  i’ve been assembling the research for 6 months now, and there are hundreds of pages, and now all that bulk is added to the union documents.  i’ve put a nice big separating line in the research document, and all the new research i do after today will go behind that line for distribution later.  i’ve been color coding and everything.  it’s been a real strain on the computer, with the 6 union documents open, and the research document, and my browser with its several dozen open windows.

this evening i started to do the same thing with my miscellaneous character notes, a document that contains all the things the various characters go thru, like fairy dealing with victimhood and snake abusing the 48 laws of power (sharing a few of them with c3ll3r!, who will use them to free herself).  i still also need to go thru the comments document for all my original ideas, to make sure they’re all in there.

just a few minutes ago, i downloaded all the research i’ve posted on this blog, from books i got out of the library, for example do you quantumthink? and rules for radicals and level design for games.  and now i have to go thru 483 pages of notes and continue extracting research from this new blog research document into the union documents.

so there’s still a great deal of work to be done before i start writing.  but that doesn’t mean i’m not already writing, just that it’s still formless.  in the void.

i have been reading other peoples’ fiction lately – i finally read the hunger games, and some really great fantasy like kage baker and hilary mantel and emma bull, and now i’m reading absurdistan, and all the while i’m thinking about my story, how will it sound, how will it come out?

i’ve been thinking about what i’ve been researching, too.  all this politics.  all this political theory.  all this history.  the technological breakthrus that are occurring in so many fields.  climate change.  revolution.  all these heavy topics.  and at the same time i’m trying to internalize the quantum lessons my own self, i’m trying to evolve just enough to describe it before struggling toward the next moment, and describing that.

i’m getting excited as the time for writing approaches.  the same excitement i felt in the beginning of this process, when it just occurred to me, and before it got so complex.   now, after 6 months of plotting and scheming, i know what has to happen, and i know when it happens.  the story is almost tidy enough to begin, there just needs a little more moving things around, cutting and pasting into correct chapters, stuff like that.

the one thing i don’t know is how things will happen.  or even who will do what when.  i’ve built enough uncertainty into each development, each chapter, that i can pick which character or event thru which to show what piece of the whole needs to be seen next.

this still makes me a little nervous.  i can see vague outlines when i look from a distance, and can follow the progress easily, but it all smudges up when i press my nose to the glass and breathe.

i still have no idea of my narrative voice.  i always like talking to my audience, like a missive, like how i’d run on if i cornered you in an elevator.  but i can’t afford to be preachy, or sound like a textbook;  all of that research has to become invisible.  and if i took all the research out of the union documents, then it would be a few descriptive words for each chapter, and that would be it.

because this is all floating around in my head all day, it blends with everything else that happens. we watched mysteries of lisbon the other day, and i was taking notes about dramatic staging the whole time.  and we watched little senegal and i was doing characterizations.  even no strings attached had me thinking about plot devices and timing.  and then the plots and situations of these movies go and blend with the background thoughts i’m having about my story, and mix again with my dreams, and i end up not really knowing which is which.  the whole thing becomes a fluid, dreamlike recall of a book i haven’t written yet.

i am, in a quantum way, taking the creative process backwards.  it’s perfectly feasible to start from the end point, because quantum physics works backwards, using actual time travel.  i’m spending actual time and energy visualizing what the story will look like, what it will sound like, how it will go.  i figure if i can see how it turns out, then i can write it like that.  this, in fact, is the original vision of the two main characters, who get a good glimpse, and then have to create it the way it was shown to them.  it’s as good a way as making it up as you go along.  better, really, because it starts with how it has to be and works backwards, a damn sight more sure than narrowing down an infinite number of possibilities.

i can’t see the cover yet.  but i can see people reading it.

the big trick is to present the keys to quantum change in a way that makes readers experience the change in themselves.  one of the books i just read had the hero go down into the earth with his mind and change something vital.  this is just the kind of thing i want to teach – you could easily do this if you developed your quantum powers.  but i don’t want to stop with showing the hero doing it.  i want the readers to do it.  i want everybody clapping for tinkerbell the whole time.

how do i do that?

since i’m writing this on quantum principles, i am going with no real plan.  plenty of equipment, but only a suspiciously vague mapquest printout beside me as i head off into the sunrise.

so presumably i will figure out how to infect others with this as they’re reading it.  i don’t know how.  but that’s the whole point of writing it.  other than what good i get out of it, of course.  it’s the problem with teaching zen, teaching enlightenment.  it’s very simple to attain enlightenment.  the trick is in choosing to do so.  it’s a quantum state, so it’s not like there’s a gradation between regular consciousness and enlightenment.  it’s a leap.

the sufis can do it.  reading sufi inspired literature, you are reading one thing off the page, and your mind is processing an entirely different thing at the same time, and the whole thing combines to give you interesting insights.  there are other examples of this in other disciplines.  you first experience nothing unusual, then it becomes chaos, then it resolves a different way and you understand that you didn’t understand anything before.

you can learn to be a zen master just like that.  you can attain enlightenment in the blink of an eye.  you can just decide to do it, and there you are.  babies are masters and forget almost everything by the time they can speak  but for us, it’s a combination of willpower and surrender.  but it’s still possible.

my task is to create the air of this happening in each reader.  to show the leap and get them to follow, and to do it over and over again until it becomes their habit.  that’s how it would work if the whole thing were really a videogame.  and of course i have no idea how i’m going to do that.

if it were just up to me, i’d quit at studying all this stuff and trying to apply it to my own life.  but it’s a compulsion, and a need to spread this around, so that’s what i’m doing.  it’s going to be a miracle actually accomplishing it.  it’s going to involve channeling some interesting material.

because when i write, i basically disengage one part of my mind and let the words flow into my head and out thru my fingers.  i don’t even think about how to spell words at this point, and i’m typing well over 80 words a minute.  it flows; it feels physically good as my fingers fly over the keyboard without any hesitation at all.  and when i look at what i’ve written, i often don’t recognize it.

i’ve been watching myself think lately, as an exercise.  i was taking notes the other day, from the quantumthink(r) book, and there was the part of me that was looking at the book and keeping my place and reading the words off.  these words sounded in my head as i read them, and there was a part of my mind  controlling my fingers and making sure they went to the right keys at the right time.  another part of my mind was catching spelling errors that my fingers missed, and making me stop and back up and correct the spelling.  another part of my mind was scheduling how much i had to go on the page, and thinking about how much more i had, and how much i’d done.  there was another part of my mind that was thinking about the newsfeeds i was digesting that morning.  there was the part of my mind that is always chewing over my story in the background, the hazy dreamy part i mentioned earlier.  all these layers of my mind were operating at once, and they were all distinct, and i was totally comfortable with the gentle murmer that all these streams of consciousness were making.

the i that was totally comfortable, i suppose, is what you’d call the observer.  the overseer, the one that watches.  this, of course, is like the turtles that hold up the universe, in that there’s always another level of watcher no matter which way you look.  i suppose god is the last layer of watcher, the watcher that watches all the others, but this would be slightly outside my normal frame of reference.

being quantum means dealing with t his.  that we’re not just one personality inside, not just one voice.  we don’t get up on the same side of the bed every morning.  each day we are different, sometimes drastically so.  the universe corresponds to our minds, not in a causal way as such, but i’m working on the premise that the condition of my mind on a given day is what primarily conditions the kind of day i’m having.

how do you teach that?  and even tho enlightenment is simply a choice, how do you get people to make that choice?  it’s only a simple change of habit, a tiny little thing

that completely changes your entire universe.

author’s note

i’m taking a slight break from my story.  i got commissioned to do a piece of fabric art, and am beginning to spend my hours in the studio flinging dye onto a large piece of stretched silk.  you can follow it here if you’re interested.

i’d reached a stopping point.  i’d finally worked thru the fucked up family long enough that pretty much everybody was doing something in pretty much every chapter.  i was surprised that they had such active lives, and so many correspondences to what the other, more major characters were doing.  they really enrich the story.

i’ve been thinking about this project, this world, this plot, these characters, for about six months.  i got the idea suddenly, as i was finishing up my last novel.  it was a very compelling idea, a compulsion.  often i have complained about the opportunities i did not take when they presented themselves.  my life is full of them.  i didn’t write that astrology book.  i didn’t paint those breast cancer pictures.  i didn’t design that line of fantasy clothing.  i didn’t start that podcast series.  these ideas occur to me in the middle of a time of change, when i sense opportunity.  but always something in me says ‘nah,’ and i pass the opportunity up.  and am always sorry later.  not necessarily because i would have been successful at what i was compelled to do.  not that it would have changed the world.  just because i was compelled, and really should have investigated further, not suppressed the desire.  anyway, i’ve been studying this lesson intently for the past few years.

so i jumped right in to this project.  what if kids learned quantum ‘magic’ in a videogame and used it to change the world?  what if we were all jedi knights?  where would the forces of repression be if everybody stood up and waved their light sabers?

it meant studying quantum physics, and theories of consciousness, and spiritual practices, and computer programming, and videogames, and gaming, and graphic novels, and politics, and culture, and religion, and history, and about antarctica, and pirates, and psychology, and social movements, about abuse, and repression, revolution and authoritarian institutions, and occupy whatever.

my plotting methods were strange, gathering an interesting miscellany for several years before starting this project, casting gathered information randomly thru the plot structure, building a large amorphous pile of research and musing about chraracters and story events.  it has consumed me for six months, and only now am i to the point where i know what’s happening in every chapter.  not precisely, tho.  it’s very vague.  but each chapter has a flavor, and a tempo, and i can sometimes hear words – no, attitudes – coming out of the dark.

the story is so familiar to me in all its complexity that everything i see and do reeks of it.  when i watch a movie, i have my story running in the back of my head, and i’m comparing how the screenwriter handled a similar scene to mine.  reading the bedtime chapter of a library book and eat my bowl of chocolate ice cream every night, i’m not sure if what happened to the main character in last night’s chapter isn’t something i was considering for a character in my own third act.

i dream of my story at night.  i spend hours of dreamtime arranging symbolic blocks and making sure i am remembering their hidden significance, which i forget the moment i wake up.  all i remember when i wake up is that i’ve been very busy with the usual people doing the usual preparation things, bustle bustle, trying to get things right.

i go back and forth in my energy.  one day i’m working well and things are filling right in, and everything i find reading the news is something i can use in the story, and the next i’m paranoid about being mistaken for a badguy(tm) by them(tm) and am self-censoring myself even in my chapter notes.  and the following day i’m thinking that all this work is never going to be seen and is the waste of time my daughter insists it is, and the day after that i don’t care because it’ll have a life of its own once i finish it, and i’ll have done what i set out to do and can move on (to all the work i put aside).  every time i feel down, something happens to remind me of why i’m doing it, and i get right back on.

doing research, reading about what’s happening in the world today, and how crazy people are about it, and how irrational they sound, and how wicked they act, it makes me angry and dispirited.  i feel like i shouldn’t bother because we’re all going to die in a fema camp.  but all i have to do is a little research about how miracles happen all the time, and how good wins out over evil simply because evil is fear-based, and how quantum thinking will replace classical thinking as a matter of course.  and i feel much better about my chances; i know we’re all one, and love will win.  which is good, because i want a happy ending.  i don’t want them(tm) to ruin my life and enslave everybody like the evil zombie vampire aliens they are.  i want a duplicating teleporter and your choice of world to live in, and a pink pony with wings.  and since i’m writing this, that’s what i’ll aim for.  the characters might disagree, and they’re free to battle me on this.  and since there are more of them and they only have to keep track of their own little character arc, the chances are they’ll win.  there is no win or lose, of course, that’s because it’s quantum.  it’s a continuum, it’s a spiral, it’s a flow, it’s a dynamic.  there’s no final battle, no final solution, no absolute victory.  that’s classical thinking.  and it doesn’t work.

anyway, it’s being a lot of fun working on this story.  and as soon as i make some serious progress on my fabric project, or as soon as i get a burst of insight, or come across a pertinent piece of research, i’ll be back with another post.  and i’ll be thinking about it all the time in the meantime.

author’s note: tertiary and quaternary characters

at first, when i conceived of this story, it was all about the girl, and the boy, their vision, and how they changed the world with a video game.  the others were always there, and soon kurt, fairy and snake became the secondary characters, and they did a lot of work making the game and playing roles in the game and influencing the story’s overall plot as well as acting out development arcs specially made for each of them.

as for tertiary characters, at first the masses of game players, and the whole rest of the world, were summed up by ‘players’ and ‘they’ and ‘society’.  then i was introduced to a plucky band of players, a random adult player, an everyplayer type, and a typical teenager.  they know nothing of the overall principles the central characters were so concerned with, or interested in the struggles to create and manage the game and its consequences.  they just play the game, and have their lives outside of the gameworld.  in imagining the lives thru the 7 years of the story, it was really easy to envision the quaternary players, the teenager’s family, dad mom and sis.  i just took a classically dysfunctional family and ran with it.

originally, i wrote keywords for what goes on during each dragoncon for the family as a whole, from the point of view of the dad.  then i separated out a bunch of research into abusive character types and put them into the various chapters, from mild expressions of abuse to the very worst.  so when it came to stretching everything out over 42 chapters, i had to spread these abusive traits around, using one chapter to illustrate emotional abuse, and one to illustrate economic abuse.  there’s so much of this in this story.  so many lists of traits, of methods, of how things work, of progressions.  at times they were immediately associated with a character, or with a stretch of chapters.  but at times they sat there looking for expression.  that’s where the quaternary characters came in so handy, because each one could express a development of personality and situation that would ring true because it’s how many people have experienced it.  whatever it is, whether it’s a good character development or an evil one.

the backstories of random and everyplayer are only now coming clear to me after weeks of thinking, receiving, fantasizing what their lives had to be like in order for them to do the strange things i had for them to do.  this is what i have discovered, much to my surprise. random is from india, which good thing i’ve seen a bunch of bollywood movies and read some recent indian crime fiction.  and everyplayer is a piece of work who popped into my life recently, just long enough for me to take their character for this story, and knock on wood they won’t be back.  this is how i find characters.  fairy literary staffing, how may i direct your call.

this last week, i have been refining the story arcs of the teenage boy’s family.  i’ve been calling the dad an armchair authoritarian, because he embodies on a personal scale what is happening in society.  originally i wasn’t going to mention the teenager or his family, or any of the tertiary characters, until the game went live, in the 15th chapter (a third of the way thru the story).  but their involvement spread and spread, and finally he has something to say when the levitation is reported on the news in chapter 2, and got an after-school job at the very food court where the main characters work out the details of the game in the 4th chapter.

so he and his family are in it from the beginning of the story.  this is a surprise to me.  i didn’t know that about these characters.  and another surprise, he and his dad go all the way to the end of the story, 42 chapters.  in effect, the story will be told from the viewpoints of these characters.  i hadn’t thought about that before.  i was expecting to center it on the girl, and gradually transition the point of view to the plucky band, who do the hard work of bringing about a quantum revolution.  it may end up being a much stronger voice than i have been anticipating.

you just never know in a story like this. it may have something to do with why i can’t figure out how to start the story.

here is a sample of what i’m working with, a quote from the document i’m working in at the moment:

chapter 23 game banned. round up quantum terrorists and sympathizers. random becomes part of the network, joins quantum working groups, uses quantum to ferret out spies.
c3ll3r! beaten by dad for quantum. Refuse to accept abusive behavior. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions.  demanded to get job at factory alongside dad.
dad
traits: self centered, exclusive, zero sum. rigid, punishing. might makes right.
events:something that calls in outside attention.
work: upgraded to light industrial, closing boxes, if good can label, if real good maybe forklift.  warned by local militia about quantum infractions. faces debtor’s prison. needs son to join work.
abuse: colonial civilized versus savage thinking. class divisions. numbers, commodities, rules, laws and penalties. there is one objective reality, subjectivity is an error. witch hunt, scapegoat, punishment. Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad. Minimizing, Denying and Blame Shifting. Using visitation to harass your partner. Using Children. Silent or overt raging. Using Intimidation.
anecdote: It’s difficult to argue against criminal justice fees for those who can pay, but for those who cannot– and most criminal defendants are poor–such fees can be a personal and public policy disaster. Criminal justice debt drags people further away from reintegration with civil society. A person’s life can spiral out of their control when interest, late fees, revocation of a driver’s license and ineligibility for public assistance, mean that unpaid criminal justice debt snowballs.
mom wasn’t home when son beaten, is threatened by militia when she returns, has crackpot theories, not getting much sleep,  always has flulike symptoms.  dad blames her, accuses her of drug use, assures her he’s her only protection from antiquantum lynchmobs.
sis moves in with boyfriend, more peaceful at home but sis and dad always texting. intimates mom’s flulike symptoms due to drugs.

chapter 24 wilderness plucky band: pursue convergent paths in the wilderness (troubador, soldier, merchant),
c3ll3r! angry, victimized.   =p advises her. react in kind. Let him taste some of his own medicine. advises c3ll3r! how to deal with dad. 5Fight Him in Court
dad n/a
mom n/a
sis n/a – playing teh gema at boyfriend’s house

chapter 25 indefinite detention. contradict inflated perception.  (pointing out classical weaknesses direct action) you’re not so special.  do not give second chance.  people pop right out of confinement, doors don’t stay locked, computers don’t stay passworded.  building infrastructure for new society, somewhere during the oppression in the real world they surface as quantum irregulars.  see them fight trolls/infiltrators.  deal with objections and use anti-abuse techniques.  translate facebook and twitter into quantum? then outreach recruiting education and training, =p stands up to snake, arrested, pops over to c3ll3r!’s house, confesses. tells dad she’s a spy investigating his son’s cell, reveals c3ll3r! is a girl.
c3ll3r! banned from internet use, has to go outside house to do schoolwork, has to sneak to play.  recognizes realworld, heads for own house, thinking to stop dad.  =p pops in as he’s fighting trolls, hides =p (dad likes, uses against wife) disenfranchised groups operate within a system owned by someone else, and can’t just take because the system will take back.  they have to work under the radar, subverting the way things are to suit their own needs, like the mexicans under spain. Never show your abuser that you are afraid of him. Do not negotiate. Do not succumb to blackmail.
dad
traits: generosity of oligarch, treat family like slaves.
events: likes =p, uses against wife.  decides son is gay. wants vengeance for drug dealer attack on daughter
work: thinks he can control them with =p’s help, plans to turn them in for reward
abuse: Prohibit disconfirming information and non supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed. abuse – then they oppress you.  emotional abuse – create strong aversive emotional arousals. Heap blame/put to shame.
mom supposed to be worried about =p.  too busy working to notice, =p does good deed.
sis boyfriend home invasion pistol whipped, troll.  held and tested but not charged.  bail, =p like her.

chapter 26 hinterlands. revolutionary grafitti, beginning to leak thru to real world.
c3ll3r! conscripted into army, not recognized (kernel), plays along and is sent as scout to suburbs of elizabeth.  meets girl (again). makes it to his neighborhood, sees dad and =p having sex.  sees mom zonked out, looks for sis and sees her zonked out, tries to wake her but zaps back into game with her, to her location.
dad sex with =p
mom zonked out, dad medicated her.
sis zonked out, c3ll3r! stumbles across her in the landscape, wakes, explained as low blood pressure (but caused by opiates). she’s been making deals with trolls in hinterlands, wakes up sitting around the campfire.

i’m going thru the entirety of the story on this level, over and over, fiddling here and there, following threads thru this strand and sometimes going back to the union document to follow the threads thru other strands in the same chapter.  the whole is tremendously more complicated than the tales of three little people, and sometimes keywords are all the indication there is of what’s going on in the outer world.  and oftentimes it doesn’t jibe at all.  i had the hardest time adjusting what happened to the dad in his career to what was happening in society and what his son was going thru in the game.

but i’m mostly finished with that now.  now it’s almost time to put this document back into the union document, a chapter at a time, clearing up the old version as i insert the new one (because threads appear in the arcs of more than one character in each chapter).  it sounds like writing computer code.  debugging.  and when i finish debugging the entire program, then i can start fleshing out all that shorthand, all those keywords, taking all those indications of themes and turning them into conflicts between this character and that one that spans however many chapters before it resolves into conflicts with other characters based on the growth that occurred in the last conflict.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.

i’m finding that i’m less anxious about all the apparently extraneous research quotes and dead end ideas and musings in each chapter.  i’ve been starting to see how all of these things could influence the progress in that chapter, as stages in one character’s thinking or in diverse stances taken by a variety of characters.

i guess the next thing i’ll look at is the interactions between the primary and secondary characters and the tertiary and quaternary characters.  with the armchair authoritarian and his family, i have found surprising links between these two camps, like when kurt and the teenage boy become friends and influence each other thruout the story.  when i go thru random and everyplayer’s arcs, i will find more ties to the main characters.  and the more filled out these links, the richer the story becomes, and the more possible it is to think of telling the whole thing from the teenage boy’s point of view.  as well as everyone else’s, that’s the point of quantum – every viewpoint is valid.  this way i’m strengthening every viewpoint, because every one is beginning to run right the way thru the story, making a view from anybody’s position possible at any moment.  online i might be able to do this with links, so you could follow the story once, from anybody’s point of view, or a million times, from everybody’s.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.  i keep getting really antsy to begin, to get into the soup i’ve created.  but i know from bitter experience that whatever ingredients aren’t on the counter aren’t going to get into the pot.  so i have to make sure all the wholes are filled, all the changes are indicated, all the blank spots on a continuum between what happens in the chapter before and what happens in the next one beyond.  so i keep plugging away at reconciling the character arcs of even the quaternary characters (even maybe thinking about quinary characters in a vague way, what i could show here, what could develop there).  i keep going thru the 42 chapters, envisioning each one from the point of view of whatever story arc i’m working on.

once i get the current detail document integrated with the main 6-section outline, i can take each section and break it down into its 7 chapters, and start writing.  after i’ve gone thru them to make sure they’re developed consistently.

this recent process, of filling out the life of the armchair authoritarian’s family, and the youngest member of the plucky band, has made me very happy, because it’s been a wonderful creative experience.  a whole family’s entire life parading before my eyes, developing as if in a bath of photochemicals.  before that, it was getting tedious.  there was too much to deal with once i had combined all the individual character threads into 6 sections of union outline.  and now i’m going to have to go back to that, to finish tying everything together and filling holes.  but i’ve come a long way in this week of work, as i do in every week of work, as it turns out, and tho i spend all my time on the computer (when i actually have a piece of paid work to accomplish), i feel like i’m doing what i need to be doing, and i’m happy with my progress in it.  and look forward to starting to write…

author’s note: the meaning of games

really the meaning of life.  i woke this morning all worried about what makes a good life.  what makes a good video game?  are they the same, or diametrically opposed?

here’s a typical life that most people would consider good:  nothing upsetting, nothing conflicting, just work that’s not too hard and not too demanding, peaceful relationships, steady economic progress, and a rich old age, dying in your sleep.  no discomfort, no questioning, no doubts, no big disruptive changes.

as a video game, it would suck.

a video game is full of conflict and struggle, how many others you kill and how much loot you have when you die is more important than self mastery.

that’s a fair description of the game we’re supposed to honor in real life – blood and guts survival, ending up with all the loot and power, monetary success for you and yours, and grinding your enemies into the dirt.

but we’re finding that the real life of ‘conquers all’ is not a good life.  it’s a life full of pain and anguish, and if you’re not feeling the pain, then you’re causing it.  it’s a life where things are split into two categories, divided to conquer.  your side is automatically the right one, your enemies are endless and easily identified, and violence is rewarded with spoils.

but maybe we’re counting the wrong things.

if your life goal is growth or wisdom, rather than a rich old age, then you get a different path to follow.  there is conflict, there is struggle, there is a lot of defeat and mistaken action and wrongheadedness, pain and anguish and doubt, difficult and unpleasant answers.

what kind of video game would the dalai lama want to play?  okay, i looked it up.  he doesn’t play them, but the 24 year old karmapa lama does, and finds it’s a good way to work off negativity.  not an answer i can use, really.

let me ask in a different way.  if you look at life from an individual point of view, then it looks very different than a consideration of the entire mass of humanity.  as a species we act very differently than we do as individuals.  we get very hive-like in the aggregate, where the troubles of individuals don’t amount to a hill of beans.  which is more important, the hive or the ant?  and it depends on which level you’re playing at.  if you’re playing the ant, oops; if you’re playing the hive, good.  better him than us.

that’s still not it.  the goal of this story is to get people focused on a different way to live.  a different way to think, different principles to organize your life around.  quantum reality that looks and works just like magic, and that lets you out of the horrible zero-sum game of classical thought that has led to so much torment and heartache.

the stated purpose of many people’s lives is to have an easy life.  an orderly life, a predictable life, a life where things go according to plan, goals get achieved, and your basic situation is a pleasant reminder that life is good.  this isn’t usually what happens, of course, and i’m not really focused on leading a life according to anybody else’s rules or their definition of good.  my life has been a series of distractions from stated goals, a series of wanderings, curious investigations down unfamiliar paths, poking into places others warned me against.  now that i’m old, i know why they warned me against these  things.  but i would have done it anyway, because i saw fear in their eyes at the time, and i hate the way fear makes you behave.

not that i’m not full of fear myself.  there are times when i can’t write because i’m afraid i’ll be punished for what i say.  but i always find a way around the fear, because if i stop, then i fail, and if i continue to stay stopped, then i drag others down too.  the pressure always makes me speak up; i believe in what i think and say, and i believe others need to hear it, so i go ahead and say things that get me in trouble.  because i’ve always seen that there’s another way, and when people get either/or about things it just drives me nuts.  there’s never one alternative, there’s never only one answer.  we live in a quantum world, and there are infinite right answers.

which is giving me a lot of trouble today.  because at every level i can make a distinction on, the right answer is dramatically different than on all the other levels.  and there’s no right place from which to make a determination.  and on the highest level it doesn’t matter at all.

author’s note: closer? farther?

it’s hard to tell in which direction i’m making progress.  i’m working 6, 8 hours a day, sitting at the computer, doing research, adjusting the plot.  it’s the same old thing, except every little bit of it is different.

the big change in the same old thing, in this last week, is the lack of research.  the lack of new research.  it seems i’ve got some research on most aspects of the story now, because all i’m coming up with are new twists on the same information.  there’s only so much you can learn about abusive personalities.  there’s only so many ways to repress a people’s drive for freedom.  there are only so many ways to reach enlightenment and change your life.

so, i’m ending the research stage and moving on. i have taken my 42 chapters, and over the last week i have separated them into 6 sections of 7 chapters each, and am busy filling out the chapters with all the information i had previously separated out into all the different characters.  with each shuffle, i filled out the structure with new thoughts, new research, new observations, and then reshuffled and did it again.  i like this way of doing it.  it made me look at every little bit in several different ways.

i know that when i do a painting i have to do a good drawing first.  and my drawing is just as good as i can make it.  but in the middle of painting i will notice that there are bits i didn’t understand when i was drawing it, bits that need to be corrected now that i understand what i’m looking at better, now that i’ve been looking at it for many more hours than it took to draw.

it’s the same in constructing a plot.  there’s the overall 2-page summary that tells you nothing about the individual actions of the well-rounded minor character, and there’s what i have now, which is individual chapters containing every character in the story, everything that might be happening to that character, and every bit of research that pertains to the topics developed in that chapter.  which is to say there’s a lot of extraneous material in these chapters, and absolutely no sense of how the chapter will look once it’s written.

i still, this late in the preplanning, don’t know how any of the chapters will actually turn out.  will i use first person or third, will i be omniscient, will i take multiple character points of view, will i be cheeky or serious, will i be addressing the reader directly?  i’m only beginning to get a sense of how it’s going to be.  i am unable to plan it.  i don’t have a voice on it yet.  it’s all still just images and scenes in their entirety.

the stage i’m in now is as close to ‘ready to write’ as i know how to do.  here’s the basic structure:

chapter number, keywords
setting (dragoncon, real world, or inside the game)
narrative  (all the versions from all the different shufflings)
the girl
the boy
kurt
snake
fairy
the plucky gang (random,  =p (pronounced ‘everyplayer’), and c3ll3r! (sorry, ‘celery’))
quantum shit that happens
they
the media
the authoritarian culture
an armchair authoritarian
quantum advocates

i had gotten all the information down to a single paragraph per chapter a few weeks ago, and then broke it down again into individual actors and events, and now i’ve piled it all back together again, and now i’m adding all the research.  i’ve got 125 pages of research, consisting of quotes taken from various sources on the internet.  and now i’m taking these bits and pieces and inserting them into the chapters they relate to.  they won’t end up like they are when i get around to writing the chapters, but they will be the information i rely on to build the scenes, the background, the examples.  you can see this research, copied and pasted into blog posts i’ve put up in the last week.

it’s still not over; i still don’t know how it’s going to turn out; i still only have some faith that what i’m doing is important or even desirable.  i’m just proceeding because that’s what my little voice is telling me to do, and i’m quite confident that the fairies will write this story for me while i sleep, as they have a hand in all my creations.

author’s note: almost there

after that last, incoherent author’s note about what exactly i do with my workdays, i thought i would try to be a little more forthright.  i find i self-censor when i’m writing on my blog, and that’s not going to get me very far.  i’m understandably paranoid about them coming to get me for saying things some people don’t want to hear, since it’s not a free country anymore.  so i find myself couching my words, using vague descriptions and rambling around instead of saying what i really mean.  and why am i pulling my punches?  it’s not going to make for a very entertaining story.  but i’m afraid of speaking my mind in this political climate.  it’s stupid, but there it is.  and i know i can’t let it silence me, the fear.  it just takes working up to.  forgetting my fears in the enthusiasm of what i’m doing.  i guess a period of self doubt and questioning is good as long as you’re not in the middle of creating the actual piece you’re working on.

this past week, with all the stuff happening around me, it’s seemed as if i’ve turned some sort of corner in this work.  i’ve rearranged a bunch of goals, like that professional development workshop i was going to do in june, and maybe even that artist residency in the fall, things that seemed so inevitable and important a few weeks ago.  i’ve lost a bit of passion and interest about my characters and plot development.  i’m still teasing out who did what when in the individual character documents, but it’s with a sense of detachment.

so i’m letting that sit.  i know my emotional makeup changes all the time, as does my health, and the shit hitting everybody’s fan in this year of great changes.  and i’m being flexible, because you don’t want to be fighting great change, you want to go where it bats you and try to keep from having your extremities torn off in the turbulence.

having arrived at the place where i had all the characters separated out and all their chapter outlines filled in, which is where i was the last time i wrote a post, i started recombining them this week.  chapters 1-7, the first section, have been added back into a new document, and i’ve been going thru it over and over, making all the chapters structured the same way (the same character order, basically, the same format conventions).

so now i’m going thru it over and over, reading it now, trying to see how it works as a chapter, trying to figure out what’s missing.  i still don’t have the tone of any chapter yet, or the point of view, or the descriptive voice.  i still don’t know how it’s going to work.  letting that bubble up is the next step.

actually, the next step is writing.  i’m as close as i’m going to get to writing the story as i can get without actually writing the story.  it’s as if i have done a bunch of preliminary sketches and some pastel studies, and am now ready to take charcoal in hand and start marking up my gessoed board.  the real painting.

i’m tempted to start now, without building any of the other sections.  why should i bother?  let them come together when i’m done with this section.  i could do that.  in fact, i started to this evening, and stopped after a sentence or two.  because i don’t know what tone to take.

the first chapter is a fairy tale, so it’s going to start ‘once upon a time’.  i guess.  unless something hits me and it all comes in a flash.  but i still don’t know how the story starts.

common advice is to start in the middle and get your voicebox clear and get your mind moving in the rhythm of the story.  and i could do that, i suppose.  i never have before.  what happens to me is that i rewrite whole sections.

once upon a time…

…there was a boy and a girl, and they partied a little too much at dragoncon, and went up on the roof to search for stars and wait for the good drugs to kick in…

…there was a vision, where a boy and girl went to paradise and played videogames…

…there was a huge game just for them, and they played all of creation…

…there was a bunch of stuff they were supposed to remember, important stuff…

…there was a strange message on the girl’s phone…

the interesting thing about this story is that each chapter is its own piece of work.  the tone of each of the first 7 chapters is very different from each other; each covers different things, and has a different pace, and reveals and points up different aspects. and i can sense that as i go thru the chapters over and over.  i get something like a tune going thru my head as i scan the notes for each chapter.  a melody maybe, or particular voices or a beat.  i’m sure i’ll hear it louder and more clearly when i start to write.

which will be any old time now.

the rule of 7s

i’m not sure if this can be read, but it’s the grid i figured out after noticing that every little aspect of the story fit into a pattern of 7s.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
art style watercolor monochrome pastel bright garish stark b/w wireframe
game level tutorial midway carneytown cloud antarctica heaven earth
reality xian newtonian relativity quantum animism goddess god consciousness
power movement knowledge ESP time travel entanglement manifestation consciousness
discipline mind body quantum head subtle body ESP flying manifesting
lesson all one way all knowable all relative all possible all alive all together all one
midway ride
coaster tilt a whirl bumper arcade hall mirrors tunnel love ???
classical physics momentum angular ? 2nd law optics ??? ???
carney job
service gamemaster miner builder accounts personnel cop
relativity time dilation distortion of light gravity wave curvature big bang black hole ???
cloud level power
action@dist teleportation clairvoyance time travel manifestation multiple univ ???
antarctica ring isles mountains lowlands wilderness hinterlands hell gamburtsevs
age baby kid young grownup committed midlife old
skill create name nurture guide share preserve pass on
religion animism goddess early xian buddhism fundamentalist black pope god consciousness
historical period neolithic viking medieval invasions revolutionary totalitarian quantum

author’s note: catching up

shit has been happening this week, so i took a break from my work.  and now i’m edging back into it.  we have a houseguest who, tho charming, takes up a great deal of time, and what little opportunity i have to work is instead frittered away on facebook or reading the various newsfeeds.  and i’m not getting enough sleep.

i haven’t been posting much, even tho i’ve been working steadily, 6 or 8 hours a day, sometimes at night.  i peruse the newsfeeds. using a google page full of widgets, i read 50 or more feeds from all sorts of sites, from reuters, nyt, the guardian and the times of india, with fox news for fair and balanced reporting, to science daily and space news.  and then my facebook feed has tons of news, much of it passed by friends, some from pages i’ve liked, ranging from alternet to gizmodo to inhabitat and lifehacker.

a vital part of the work at this stage is combing the newsfeeds for relevant research material.  terms i search for are quantum, consciousness, gaming, psychological, political, spiritual, historical et cetera things.  i do this for several hours thruout the day, finding interesting sounding titles, clicking on the links and setting the articles aside to read later.  when i have a good mess of tabs open i stop clicking on links and open up my research document.  then i copy and past anything that’s relevant onto the end of the document (i’ll be posting some random research soon), capture the url for reference in case i’ve missed something, and save my document after every addition because the program is unstable and crashes at random.

once i’ve gone thru the newspapers with my scissors and tacked the clippings to my bulletin board, i go thru and sort them by character, opening up my main or secondary character documents, and cutting and pasting the relevant bits in the back.

for information concerning the plot, there’re 3 documents worth of storyline, the 3 acts, which are the same number of chapters (i think, still, at this stage).  based on 7 of course, the major theme of the book (not the story but the book, if that makes sense to you). 42 chapters, 6×7, 3 acts, 16 chapters per act.  all very orderly.  and i didn’t plan it that way.  it just came that way.  everything i thought up or researched came out in 7s, until the chapter structure was built.  and it continues to be 7.  which is really cool.  rarely do things announce themselves to me with such insistence.

such things fit into this scheme of 7s:  illustration style, videogame level, version of reality, special quantum power, quantum discipline, quantum  lesson, midway rides and physics, carneytown job and physics, quantum abilities in the cloud level, the game’s antarctic ring, human age, basic skill, type of religion.  that’s 13, so there’s maybe one missing from the list.  i’m sure it’ll occur to me.

a few weeks ago i made a chapter list, just the number and keywords, and put a copy of this list in every character’s document, and since then i’ve been separating out all the notes i’ve taken and character sketches i’ve written into their proper chapters.  i started with the girl and organized everything, then moved to the boy, and each one took a couple of days.  kurt, fairy, snake.  then i did the secondary characters, who i call the plucky band – random, everyplayer, also known as =p, and (i apologize in advance) c3ll3r!, which you can read as ‘cellery’.  they are people who play the videogame and get caught up in the storyline.  they introduced themselves to me as i was working out the broad plot structure, and i’ve been finding out so much about them, often by complete accident.  and there are other characters, tertiary sort of characters.  c3ll3r!’s family, for example, and =p’s boss.  i actually have no idea what random does when he’s not playing the game, but i will by the time i sit down to write it.

i had some difficulty dealing with the document for THEM.  them is not only the shadowy hands of oppression, but also the media, the overall culture, and c3ll3r!’s family, especially the dad.  as i said, i had some difficulty organizing this document, because they do the most horrible things to peaceloving quantum types, and i really don’t enjoy dealing with realworld oppression and what’s going on around the world right now, because inequity and iniquity make me mad.

my solution to this was to work on both the plucky band and the thems at the same time.  so i would copy from my research document, and paste at the end of the relevant side’s document, then go figure out which character that particular trait or act belonged to.  there were many lists of character-developing stages in this part.  i would come across a reference about abusive people, and would trim it down to its essentials and use it for any of the thems, and thereby built up a bunch of character-developing stages for my characters.  in effect i’m looking at the same kinds of behaviors as seen in individuals and in cultures and in organizations.  they all look similar but some things stick out more than others to illustrate the type.

with every new article i abstracted the essence from to stick in my research document, my story got more rich, more detailed.  it began to make more sense.  even in places where i distributed traits at random (like a long list of disinformation tactics, or a long list of abusive traits) thru the chapters, once i’d distributed a bunch more things into the chapter structure, i began to find that it made sense to have these random traits here because some character could easily progress from the traits of the last chapter and thru those of the one to come.  these random collections of character traits and experiences fleshed themselves out into real, plausible characters, and in some cases, the apparently random trait explained parts of the character’s temperament in a way i would never have expected, answering questions i had about how the development was going to work.

all very synchronous.  these last few months have contained loads more confirmations that i should continue with what i’m doing.  vehement objection by my daughter, for one thing.  but other things, from outside, long in the works, also say i’m on the right track, the hunger games, for instance.  and all sorts of scientific studies and discoveries are all being announced just as i’m getting to that particular chapter’s difficulties.  things like that.

but then again, shit happens.

author’s note: walking off the cliff

about a decade ago, when all sorts of life changing things happened to me, i learned the lesson about trusting the miracle.  miracles happen all the timesurrender and wait for the miracle.  phrases that make some people cringe.

and i’m pretty skeptical, for a recovering newager.  i’m allergic to organized systems of thinking and behavior.  i get hives when people get gullible.  but as i learned to adjust and adapt to my changing circumstances, as i gave up more and more of what i had thought defined me, i started getting my wishes.  i started to have opportunities fall into my lap.  one day, almost way late on the rent, i sold a painting for exactly the amount of the rent and went waltzing into the rental office waving the check they’d just given to me.  everybody in the office agreed that it was a miracle.

just last week i had a miracle that reminded me.  a few months ago a super-paranoid friend of my kid’s was over, and borrowed my kitchen knife so he wouldn’t get jumped on the way to his next hidey-hole.  and so i lost my knife.  and knew i’d never get it back.  my 30 year old carbon steel sabatier knife.  with a bent tip and all.  and i went around telling everybody i wanted my knife back.  and never stopped visualizing getting my knife back.  and was even offered the lend of a much better knife, which i declined.

and lo and behold right after that, while out on a dog walk, a young man of the neighborhood walked up and handed me my knife back.  it was a lot more obvious a miracle than i’m presenting here, with more sparkly bits than i’m telling, but i don’t want to be all dramatic about it.  the point was i had a clear (to me) lesson about trusting to the miracle and not letting negativity and fear kill the energy.

this is an important part of being quantum.  i think quantum things happening in the realworld qualify as miraculous, something supernatural.  i think a quantum world would qualify as a supernatural world.  magical realism at the very least, and there are miracles everywhere you look in magical realism.

i learned a bunch of lessons when i learned about miracles.  it’s all in your attitude, for example.  worry kills the miracle.  you actually have to act like the guy in the cartoon who walks off the cliff – just don’t look down, and keep going.  let a foolish faith in miracles sustain you, and the universe will do what you expect it to.  and that’s magic.  that’s what miracles are.

and this is important to my story.  because the forces of fear and the classical insistence on certainty are very strong, very demanding and intimidating.  and the quantum way has to win.  quantum reality is inevitable, because there isn’t just one right way but endless right ways, and no amount of force and coercion is going to put it back in the box for good.  it’s been tried, and eventually the forces of change and diversion win out every time.

so the point has to be made again and again that the answers don’t come from the rational places, they come out of left field.  from intuition and that place where we all communicate with god.

so what i did today was to write out how the girl learns this lesson in herself, and how she teaches it to others.  it actually helped quite a bit to illustrate her character, and i discovered some interactions between her and other characters (snake) that i hadn’t realize before.

and that’s what i told jim when we were walking the dogs.  here i am, month after month, breaking the story structure down into smaller and smaller chunks while the whole mass grows larger and more intricate.  and it all seems so tedious and useless while i’m in the middle of it.  and then there comes an insight like the one i had about miracles yesterday, and just like that there’s another huge chunk of the story’s essence dropping into place.  which qualifies as a miracle.  when you start qualifying, everything turns into a miracle.  and why is that bad?  because it leads to constant praise and hope and the feeling that someone out there loves you?  that’s not so bad.

author’s note: snafu

this seems like a good time to write an author’s note.  my word processor blew up on me.  and it will take several hour to download a new one.  which i already know won’t solve the problem.

see, my word processing program has been blowing up a lot lately.  it’ll quit in the middle of a keystroke.  so i’ve been saving early and saving often, just like in old fashioned video games, the ones back in the mid-80s.  monster bash.

anyway, i got tired of saving after every operation, which slows me down a little bit…so i downloaded the newest version of my word processor program, and installed it.  which worked fine.  i always feel a little proud of myself when i can actually download and install something on my computer without begging my ex to come and do it for me.  which always takes him 24 hours, and i have to hang out with him while he does it.

so i had the next version, with cuter icons in the toolbar tray.  but it still blew up in the middle of a keystroke.  so i sighed and went back to saving early and often, wondering if maybe it wasn’t a short in the keyboard or something.  maybe a virus?

and then around 6 this evening the word processor blew up and wouldn’t come back up, not even after rebooting.  not even after a cold start.  so i uninstalled the upgrade, and downloaded a whole nother word processing package, only to be totally unable to install it.  so now i’m back to trying to reinstall the word processor that i upgraded to, but i’m having ttrouble getting to the proper directory so i said fuck it, and now i’m redownloading the upgrade, and will do it all over again.

but it’s still better than having my ex do it.

i needed a break from the work, but not by having a broken computer.  be careful what you wish for…

the work is agonizingly slow and painful.  i’m still doing the character arcs, and am in my least favorite part of the story, which is what happens in the outside world.  them.  i am far more interested in what happens in the video game, which is pure transgressive fantasy, than in what happens in the realworld, which is dystopian and evil.

as it turns out, there are a lot of them.  THEM.  there’s the agents of the dominant culture bent on keeping the status quo and eliminating dissent.  there’s also the media, not only their tools but also their voice and in a certain sense their consciousness.  there’s the authoritarian culture as a whole that prefers the status quo even if it’s a bad one, and there’s the armchair authoritarian who heads up a dysfunctional family.  i haven’t included them yet, but there’s the anti-plucky band who is the face of THEM on the street and in the game.

in every chapter, i have listed the shit that happens, the quantum newness in the world.  and then i go thru and say what THEY think about what has just happened (like when the universal constant changes), and give the media response, which is always more shrill and febrile, and shows a particular tactic of abusive or sociopathic types, and then i fill in what this illustrates about the authoritarian culture we’re living in, and then i’ll list what level of abusive traits i want to show in the armchair authoritarian’s makeup.

altogether it’s a love fest of abusive tendencies.  and i’m repeating myself a whole lot, sort of.

what i did was to go around and collect a bunch of different research on psychopaths, abusive people, authoritarians, disinformation artists and infiltrators, and i ranked them all from bad to worse traits within their category, and then split them up and assigned them to the chapter structure according to the plot that’s already in place.  and now i have to make the progression of each of these parts make sense, both together and separately.

well, it’s such a hodge-podge that my eyes glaze over just scrolling from chapter to chapter, and by the time i get to the en d of the story it’s a bunch of blank placeholders.

so the last thing i did before my word processor crapped out on me was to split up the different agents of THEM into their own chapter progressions, so i have 42 chapters of THEY followed by 42 chapters of Media and 42 of authoritarian culture and 42 of armchair authoritarian, along with 30 tactics and 25 techniques and 17 abuses.

once i get my word processor working again, i’ll be going thru these lists over and over again, cutting and rearranging and filling out, until i can sum up all the information i’ve gathered and spread out into a single paragraph per chapter.

and once that’s done, i have to do the same thing to the plucky band.

and when i’m done with this, i have to put all the character arcs back together again into a chapter structure.  and then i have to make them all smooth and working together.

and only then can i think about writing, and all i’ll be writing is a better version of the synopsis i’ve already written.

then i’ll be taking a break to attend a workshop (i hope) that will help me with the business side of actually publishing and marketing a book.  and after that, maybe i’ll be able to start writing the actual fiction that this is going to become.

because no matter how much preparation i’ve done, no matter how much research, how much character arcing, how much plotting, i still don’t know what’s going to happen in each chapter.  i still don’t know what the characters will sound like, what they’ll say, what they’ll even really do.  or what’ll really happen.  or how i’ll even write it.  i have no idea.  i won’t know until i’m a few chapters into it.  if you’re reading along, you’ll be able to tell when i hit my stride.  and even then it’ll only be the first draft, and it could come out completely different in the second draft.

but first i need a working word processor.

author’s note: character arcs

it’s yet another slog thru the chapters while i build out my characters.  first i copied out just the keywords for each chapter, and then pasted the bare table of contents into each character’s file.  and then, starting with the girl (and not having gotten any farther yet),  i went around to all my supporting documents, all my versions, all my blog posts, and pulled all the descriptions or discussions about the girl, and put them all into her file.  and for the past couple three days i have been sorting and chopping and rewording all the bits of her character.  after sorting them, i put them into whatever chapter they’re going to be a part of, and have only just now finished moving these disparate paragraphs into place.  so i now have a sketchy but verbose character arc for my girl.  and i went thru most of it to add what she would be feeling like during this chapter, to fill out what she’s going to be doing in that chapter.

and boy it is tiring work.  it seems futile, redundant, since i’m just pulling things together that i’ve already written, for the most part.  and it may well be.  but it’s really a fine toothed comb thru the tresses of my story, and the more i can do that now before i actually begin weaving my tale, the better.  so i’m taking the time.  and doing it a bunch of time.

and then i’ll put it back together again and go thru it a bunch more times to make sure they’re all reacting to each other, as well as marching fatefully down their own paths.

and i’m not done even then, nowhere near ready to write.  i don’t know at the moment what i still have to do once i rebuild the chapter structure with all the character arcs, but i’m sure, no, certain, that there is something.

i won’t be starting to write until summer,  and it’s only midspring now.  and that’s too bad, because i’d like for it to be out for the end of the world as we know it.  but it won’t be until 2013 or 2014 until it sees the light of day.  god help us all.

author’s note on the synopsis

Quantum Revolution might be the title of the novel i’m writing.  i was going to call it Teh Gema, a misspelled version of ‘the game’, but it’s pretty pretentious to genericize my game as the standard all others are versions of.  because well feh. i don’t even play videogames.

this story is about a videogame that changed the world.  it’s about the revolution of quantum thinking against classical thinking, and a convoluted exposition about why it is inevitable that humans move toward a quantum society.

what is a quantum society?  what is quantum society a metaphor for?  a quantum society is bottom-up.  it’s based on the knowledge that everything is connected to everything else.  it’s a love-based society, not a fear-based one.  and there currently aren’t that many love-based societies so nobody thinks it’s even possible.  except in heaven, after all the fear-based assholes have been sent to hell.  but a quantum society doesn’t do eternal punishment.  a quantum society lets people who don’t want to be connected isolate themselves, and that can be a definition of hell.  but it’s a self-made choice, not a punishment.

the post before this one is the synopsis i’ve just whittled out of a whole volume of notes and outlines.  it’s very long, and very involved, and that’s just the bare bones of it, as simplified as i could make it. i’d appreciate comments, if anybody’s actually reading this blog.

and i’m not ready to start writing yet.  i have to do another breakdown, and make sure all my character arcs are in a row.  and i now have the original 5 characters, and 3 more characters to put a face on the trillions of players who appear in this story.  so that’s 8 character arcs going thru 6 sections and 42 chapters.  it’s going to be a very tangled web to weave.

i had to do some serious thinking before publishing the synopsis.  the story i’m writing is very similar to what is going on in the world right now.  that’s why i feel compelled to write it.  i talk about this in another post.  the trouble with what’s going on in the world right now is that one side is getting very paranoid and reactive right about now, and are passing laws making dissent illegal, and i’m all about dissenting to what i think is a really bad direction for the world to be going in.  it’s anti-quantum.

so i’m more than likely showing up on all the lists that are being made of activists, and keywords.  and while i feel waves of paranoia when i write about it, i can’t live in fear, and i can’t hide my truth because of fear.  the time for that is past.

but i can use less radioactive keywords.  for instance, i don’t want to get my favorite science fiction and fantasy convention in trouble, so i’ve changed the name to s/f*fancon.  and i don’t want to have 83 instances of the world terrorist in one blog post (because of course that’s what the goodguys(tm) will label the opposition), so i changed the name to badguy(tm).

not that i think for a moment that this will keep me off the radar, because we all know they’re watching everything we do.  but you can’t live in fear.  you can’t let fear stop you.  if i shut up now, my most creative acts would be squelched, and i would silence myself, and cower.  might as well commit suicide, and i’m not doing that.  but if i suddenly go missing, you can infer that i used too many keywords.

fera is the mind killer.

progress

what i’m doing at the moment, in case you want to know, is working inside the game.  i went and copied all the chapters dealing with playing the antarctica level of the game, and pasted them into a new document, and now i’m standardizing it and fleshing it out.  when i’m thru with this i will separated it again by the characters, and run thru that to make sure character development is solid for all the various characters.  this is the main template:

chapter x, playing antarctica ring x
places: in the game
physical description:
religious tendency:
graphic style:
things to pick up:
kernel:
npcs:
fairy:
exkurt:
player:
note:
snake’s religion:
players:
boy and girl:
girl:
boy:
girl’s death:

i have inserted a player as a character.  i have to follow at least one independent of my main characters, so i’ll just pick a random character that has already introduced me and filled me in on his/her life in the game.  this character will be visiting both sides of each ring and play on both sides of the main conflict.

another thing i’m doing is making sure exkurt has a role thruout.  and that fairy develops from her very one-dimensional current incarnation.

the main thing i did yesterday was to build up what happens to the girl in this level.  i’ve got the boy’s patterns down pretty well, and he’s got all sorts of hero things he’s doing – he’s part bluebeard, part sheriff of nottingham, part genghis khan, part buddha, part christ.  but jim mentioned st francis of assisi the other day, and we researched the sufi influences of the man and his church, and i decided to write his life into the girl’s story arc.  so she’s going to be st girl the sufi as well as all the other things she’s going to be.

and when i wrote in the random player, it connected a lot of things between the girl and fairy.

and then there was a bunch of research i read about the brain, and that worked into everybody’s attitudes.

so things keep dropping into my consciousness, and they all fit, and they all improve the flow and the connectivity between threads, and i’m just working away getting it all organized.

last week i tightened up the plot structure of act 1, and this week i’m doing the same to act 2.  as i’m in each chapter, the story seems simple at that point, but i know the few paragraphs i have in the outline will translate to ten, fifteen pages of text, and it’ll take a long time to finish each chapter.

at this point my kid is hectoring me about how much time i spend doing this, and how little time i spend cleaning the house.  but this is where my value is at the moment, and cleaning has no value at all.  so here i am.

these are the thread elements of each chapter, rather than the plot.  i break down the plot into who does what where and insert it wherever it goes, and this way i pay attention to all the threads and don’t drop any, as i already know i have a tendency to.  writing the last 5 unpublished novels has really made me figure out how to do a lot of professional self development things that really help.  like staying organized, like figuring out your weaknesses and working around them.

quantum possibility

the article i reposted yesterday affected me all evening.  ostensibly about peer review issues in science, it spoke to me about how thru history the rich and powerful have dominated and abused the poor and meek, and how we’re busy dealing with this same issue on a whole new batch of hardware.  we have free information on the internet, and they try to control it.  we try to grow our own foods and they patent the seeds.  we try to organize to take back some of the huge disparity of wealth and they call out the troops.  it has happened in every phase of civilization, whether we’re talking about king john against the merry men or the industrial factory owners against the luddites or the robber barons against the wobblies or the cellphone factory against the workers.  and in each case, it was whoever had the most money won and the opposition got stamped out.  and that’s always been the way it was.

but if it was quantum, it wouldn’t work that way.

at least, the quantum ideal i’m thinking of in my own head, not related to the actual reality at all and not backed by current scientific understanding.  but so what.  i’m writing idealistic fiction, and i can dream up the kind of world i want to live in and make it come alive on the page.  and it can find its own way to reality.

reading the article i’m referring to, the comments were very thought provoking, and i’ll summarize the interesting ones.

the problem with having a duplicating transporter, something that would generate viable copies of itself anywhere and everywhere, thus increasing the supply of that item without cost, is that people would just forcibly seize control of it and we’d be in the same boat as we always are, with a few people owning everything and everyone else suffering.  this is the way of the world, and why i sometimes hate being a human.

but what if you can’t seize it, what if everybody has the ability to do it themselves, directly, without anything that can be broken or confiscated? you could then try to disable it in them, somehow break their new abilities.  or kill them. you’d have to kill them all, but that’s kind of where they’re going with this.  but what if you couldn’t?  what if there was no more power-over, and you couldn’t just kill those who disagreed and otherwise threatened you.  you couldn’t stop them at all.  but they could stop you, and suddenly it wouldn’t be a matter of the few controlling everything.

is this where the slaves rise up against their masters and kill them in their beds?  that’s certainly a good argument for keeping the status quo, by force if necessary.  but it’s fear-based.  so it’s not quantum thinking.  no, what happens is the slaves free themselves and ignore their erstwhile masters, who then have to do everything for themselves and can now inspire only pity instead of fear and loathing.

then you have the problem of infinite resources and uncontrolled growth, when there is no scarcity. the argument here is that if you have no limits to growth, then people increase and increase until there’s no more room and the whole thing blows up in your face.  again, that’s a good argument for limits, which then turns into disparity and ends up as a zero-sum game.  so it’s fear-based, and wrong.  do people drug themselves to death when it’s legal and available? no, that’s a scare tactic, people regulate drug use within themselves; some become addicted (but not criminals), and others don’t.  people would, if everything were freely available, take only as much as they needed, and not hoard because that would diminish their own lifestyle.

but this is only once they got used to it. until people lost the fear, they would continue to hoard and suppress and be agressive against perceived threats.  and you’d have them trying to take it away from us again.  how would people with infinite resources react to this? fight back? or erect appropriate barriers? or laugh? depends on how fear-based they are themselves.

the main problem is that people fear quantum reality.  they want certainty; they want a daddy god, they want a clear right and wrong, they are comfortable with us versus them, might makes right, do it my way or burn motherfucker.  so they will resist the shift to quantum consciousness.  even the protagonists of this story resist becoming quantum beings.  it’s ever so much harder being god than being an infantile petty human.

people will try to suppress quantum consciousness themselves, if it should arise in them spontaneously.  they would listen to the voices that tell them there’s only one right way and it’s certainly not quantum, it’s classical.  and they would be ashamed of their differentness, and they would punish themselves, just like in the bad old medieval days when religious types went around hitting themselves with scourges.

there are many times a day when i pause and think how impossible a task this is that i’m working on.  there’s no bringing quantum consciousness to this part of universe, nobody really wants to be god-in-aggregate.  they want their petty individualistic human squabbling, like a married couple that loves to fight.  and then in my research i’m always coming up with evil ways to use these energies, like the military’s perversion of neuroscience to incapacitate declared enemies and protestors.  this is discouraging to me, because it clearly shows how even a power for good (quantum thought is inclusive, non-hierarchical, tolerant) can be misused to achieve  power over.

but i can’t despair, because that’s fear-based.  i can only proceed one day, one paragraph, one post at a time.  my part to create the future i want to live in.

7 tests

7 tests for the boy
7 tests for the girl

i’ve got the tests for the boy all laid out.  he’s not a bad guy, just a little conservative (fear-based, favoring status quo, punishing and rigid), and he keeps going for the short-term goals and forgetting the non-violent principles.  so he has to go thru a whole lot of testing.

the girl remains steadfast to the principles of quantum thought (peace and love) but can’t delegate and suffers great stress and martyrness.

it’s the tests to her development i’m having trouble with.

jim suggested i might want to model the girl on st francis of assisi, who started out military but was captued and spent time in an arab prison where he was exposed to sufi thought.  and when he came back he talked the pope into letting him start up a new kind of church that was against all the wealth and power of the established roman state church.  more like jesus’s real teachings than the perversion the established church became.

that’s got a nice story arc to it.

so where’s her dark night of the soul?  she has no trouble choosing power-with and rejecting power-over, even tho the choice is constantly presented to her.  her temptations are to think better of herself, the typical angry liberal reaction.  of course, this doesn’t make her any more likable as a character…

as for the boy, he’s basically tempted again and again by the same choice – and chooses power-over rather than power-with every time, even tho he reawakens in the wilderness.  in each case he feels he has no choice.  in each case it’s snake who tempts him.

isles – gardener; i’d rather be a tinkerer, it’s mechanical and you can depend on harnessed power (over)
mountains – come away and be a pirate
lowlands – pope to constantine: convert and win
wilderness – devil appearing to christ; dark night of soul. buddhic enlightenment
hinterlands – state church persecuting boy for heresy
hell – pope making deal – clemency if he fights to stamp out rebels
gambutsevs – snake spins what ex-kurt says to players

perhaps what i’m looking for should be narrowed down to the iconic, or archetypcal.

a long time ago i realized there are two kinds of people – those who think people are basically bad, and those who think people are basically good.

later, i realized that those who think people are basically bad are also people who live in fear.  this produces all sorts of intolerant  behavior (xenophobia etc), rigidity of thinking and expression, neatness, resistance to change, the whole unpleasant 9 yards.

people who think people are basically good tend to be optimistic, outgoing, tolerant, a willingness to experiment, loose morals and a slovenly appearance.

A core premise of the growing movement known as restorative, or transformative, justice is that conflict is opportunity. This is where we have our greatest chance to grow: at the friction points, as our emotions are heating up. We just have to face the situation with openness, calm and courage. Once again, this is no easy task. But the more we work at this, the more we realize the value of doing so, and the less inclined we become simply to swat our difficulties, and the people we blame them on, out of the way.

I’m convinced that uncoupling our inclination to dominate others to get our way and embracing “power with” them as our prime approach to life is the fundamental emotional shift necessary for the creation of lasting peace.

from the fearful worldview we get wars, dictatorships, repression, bigotry and intolerance, a preference for the status quo, a desire to punish transgressions, a militaristic church, a violence-enshrined society, elitism and wealth disparity.

from the accepting worldview we get a laidback, partying, fun kind of everything-goes society where everybody’s more or less equal.

it’s plain to see the traps of the fearful worldview, but what are the traps of the accepting worldview?  one of the main ones is that people who expect good from others don’t expect evil.  and that’s where the fearful worldview has the advantage – because they won’t hesitate to crush the opposition to ensure their dominance, while the accepting worldview just wants everybody to get along and never sees it coming.

how does this translate to the story?  the girl has a big blindside when it comes to wickedness.  she rejects violence and the ways of those who want power-over, ignores evidence of it, believes the lies without looking beneath it, ends up being victimized, and then closes down and becomes suspicious and demanding.

so her problem is that inside she becomes the same fear-based person that tends to cling to classical reality inside, while being the spokesmodel for quantum reality, which is love-based.  and because she’s been hurt, she has no love in her.  there’s nothing sustaining her except her energy and drive, and so she exhausts herself, becomes a real bitch, and does everything herself while making everybody around her feel bad for not doing enough.  she’s never happy.  and she’s got self-pitying excuses for anything anybody cares to point out to her.  so she’s a big hypocrite.

that was easy.

so what are her tests?  where does she continue to choose the self-righteous angry reaction to the world?  why, at every turn, of course.  but we need to have 7 points of testing, in 7 different ways, just like with the boy.  the 7 stations of the cross, so to speak.

does she keep shirking her responsibility?  does she keep hiding her powers and pretending to be just a regular person?  does she secretly hate all those people who look to her for guidance?

her tests are all variations on this theme – she can’t bring herself to commit totally to the love-based reality she espouses.  and she can’t admit to her doubts.  she feels she has no choice.

isles – she doesn’t want to be responsible for all those players
mountains – she starts a center of learning and then runs away
lowlands – she can’t quite let people organize for themselves
wilderness – she really loves being alone and has to be dragged to the next ring
hinterlands – she punishes others for not being good enough
hell – she totally exhausts herself and becomes the bitch from hell
gamburtsevs -???

thru all the boy’s tests he has to face his temptation to use his power over others to force victory and decide to choose love.  thru all the girl’s tests she has to face her temptation to force her will and choose surrender.

these are the same choices.  just split into male/female, conservative/liberal.

descent

thinking how it works that the game descends into the kind of game nobody wanted, and how they help, and how it gets worse and worse from alpha to beta tester and what it looks like in the final candidate.

when kurt makes the new version of the antarctica level and then dies, the level is locked away where they can’t get to it, and so they revise teh gema’s scope downward.  it is no longer an epic tale of self-mastery and saving the world.  it’s an amusement park where, if left to their own devices, players would soon find a way to rob and kill other players.  so the boy and girl set out to make the carnival levels into a game that appeals to the masses, and plan to release the antarctic level in a future upgrade.  this means they add elements of first person shooters, melees, strategy games and races, and remove the safety elements of the previously well-balanced physics rides.  and the testers do their part by perverting gameplay and organizing gangs and wars.

and i have the end of the first act to do this.

ch 10 – they finish creating teh gema without kurt
ch 11 – the boy and girl test the cloud level and meet ex-kurt
ch 12 – testers on level 2 midway
ch 13 – testers on level 3 carneytown
ch 14 – they notice in the realworld
ch 15 – testers on cloud level
ch 16 – dragoncon 3 boy and girl open antarctica

this is kind of clunky.  and right after this the real players go thru these same levels for real, so why am i doing it twice?  and to tell the truth there is a realworld THEY notice part in each chapter now, while the overall structure dates from over a month ago and shit has happened since then.

so i need to rethink the chapters.  perhaps if i visualize it, then the chapter structure can be seen and not forced.

the game is finally rebuilt without the antarctica level and is ready for testing.  it’s got a lot of new features, expanded architecture, new threads and choices.  they’ve been testing it bit by bit as they’ve installed pieces, but when it’s assembled they open it for testing.

11. the boy and girl stand around inside the game while the testers go thru.  the alpha testers find bugs and there are art adjustments and several actual geometry adjustments as they suggest new activities and the kernel accommodates them.  the girl and boy direct the kernel to do this.  they facilitate it somehow.  so the alpha testers distort the teachings of the game, change the parameters to make the games violent, find ways to cheat.

12. when the beta testers get there the alpha testers take advantage of them. but the beta testers themselves interact with the kernel, which turns the games even more warlike and unfair.

13. at go-live the boy and girl open antarctica and are alone in it for the moment.

14. when the real players get to the carnival levels, the alphas have taken over and made rules, the betas are an underclass, and the real players are slaves following rules that were never thought up by the boy and girl.  when the real players get thru to the cloud level it’s a madhouse and things are leaking thru to the realworld all the time.

15. and then they’re all in antarctica.

so i think i need one fewer chapter.

seven quantum skills

if you take all the magical or miraculous powers of all the enlightened and heroic figures of myth and history and imagination and dreams, then you have a list of all the things that are possible in a quantum universe.   altho i knew this, it was very interesting to see all these various aspects of human higher consciousness coming together in support of the quantum essence.  and i was very amused to find that they broke out into 7 categories.

training to master your mind
meditation, mind control, obe, magic, bene gesserit truthsayers, simulflow, jedi enhanced empathy

exercises to master your body
(breathing exercises, yoga, tantra, dance, martial arts, bene gesserit prana-bindu and weirding way, jedi reflexes for speed strength accuracy

practice thinking quantumly
zen koans, newage affirmations

practice with the subtle bodies
healing, reiki, auras, thoughtforms, action at a distance, entanglement, tunneling, telekenesis, jedi force abilities and lightsabre

developing esp
group meditation, sending and receiving, akashic records, jedi precognition and telepathy

learning to fly
jedi levitation, astral projection, time travel, lucid dreaming

manifesting
loaves and fishes, two places at once, directing weaker minds

***

some of these are in the wrong places and some of them need to be broken out differently and i’m probably missing one which is why i’m finding it so awkward to arrange.  perhaps someone’s got a suggestion?

immediate repercussions

in this same chapter as i was revising last night – designing the game – they’re discussing the details of the various economies and population centers and historical technology details that need to be in each ring of the antarctica level of teh gema.

we’re talking about an economic and technological progression from stone age to current time, and beyond into quantum future, in 7 rings.

perhaps it’s something they plan for and it ends up really clunky as a prototype level before kurt wipes it clean and starts over.  or maybe it actually works that way once they’re playing the gema – like they’re in the lowlands and there’s a problem getting the technology to work and they have to bring in a kluge from the hinterlands, or there are too many people to support on medieval fields and they have to import a tractor and gasoline.

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

***

so how clunky is it when they build the antarctica level before kurt’s epiphany changes everything?

nothing works right.  the quantum kernel is there, the bugs are being fixed before their eyes while the boy and girl test, fairy’s going nuts trying to deal with all the bug reports because she’s afraid of the kernel – she has funny thoughts when she gets on the cloud level and prefers not to go as far as antarctica, so she spends all her time tweaking the carnival levels.

they’ve got all this elaborate stuff in the 7 levels of antarctica, with cities lovingly laid out because this is someone’s specialty, the girl’s background details gorgeous, but (whosie’s) foreground slapped down in repetitive chunks with cracks in them.  (is their architecture grid or hexagonal block?)  they want it to be the perfect social world, but it’s easy to get lost, the missions are unclear, there are no gameworld-typical landmarks, and they would have to be fascists to get the players to learn their lessons, because people will just want to run around and shoot things.

the big problem is how to get the players to learn the 3×7 quantum lessons voluntarily, to leave the wild action for a reclusive life of study and solitary practice.  or do they turn the game into hogwarts and force them all to wave their hands in the air as if they were actually doing magic, when it’s all just scripted, no better than learning to shoot an assault rifle at anything that moves?

remember, when kurt rebuilds the antarctica level right before he dies, it’s sealed off, and it takes them until the next dragoncon to unlock it.  plus snake’s sabotage.  they will abandon the antarctica level and concentrate on the carnival levels as the new, and greatly reduced, scope of the game.  and when they finally unlock the antarctica level, it’s real.

so the problems in this first part are all technical.  bugs.  and the boy and girl and fairy and kurt are the only testers.  they build the prototype level, that’s the cloud level where everything is quantum.  and that works fine.  they build the carnival levels on themepark areas made to look like the east and west antarctic ice sheets.  they build the antarctic level with its 7 rings.

first there are endless problems getting the games and rides to work on the carnival levels, not just adjustments in the variables, but when their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

so they are running out of time when they turn their attention to antarctica, which is 7 rings that might as well be levels in their own right.  they take up as much space and more in the world diagram, and are the whole point of what the angel showed them.  the carnival levels, which they’ve spent so much time on, are just remedial, as basic and irrelevant to the true gema that they’re really just advanced tutorials.

they’ve been working on antarctica the whole time, and it’s fine in a basic placeholder way.  it’s got photoshopped backgrounds and rough edges and missing objects, the npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody of a badly made, cheaped out videogame someone made in their bedroom.  the cities are impeccable, but empty.  there are no skills to develop because the boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  all they can do is test objects and task npcs to test things, meaning they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

the problem isn’t with kurt or the kernel; it’s that the level they’ve designed is clunky, inelegant, and stupid.  it’s boring.  there’s no quantum anything on this level because they don’t know what they’re looking for and don’t know how to get there from ordinary reality.  the boy and girl have made the breakthru personally, but they’ve lost an important piece and can’t quite get back there again so they can teach it from the inside.  it’s all mumbo jumbo.  they can still talk to each other in their heads and all that; they’re entangled in themselves, but can’t transmit quantum anything to anybody else except physically, and while the boy thinks setting up shop as a newage sex coach would be fun, the girl isn’t having any of it.

so the big problem is that no matter how they try, they can’t think of a good way to teach the quantum lessons.  are they arguing about it?  because the lessons are there to be learned, all laid out and accessible, whether couched in math and physics, which i can hardly do, or hidden in occult teachings that can be transliterated for the masses. and they know how to make the quantum thing work on the cloud level, because it’s energy produced by concentration in the player’s body that is them directed to manifesting things inside teh game.  simple enough for a good program and sensitive inputs even now, without a quantum computer.  and so what it’s just a simulation?  if you put your feet in those footprint thingies in time with the music long enough, you WILL learn to dance.

so what’s the problem?  it’s not coming clear to me.  what’s wrong with the antarctica level as they have built it?

okay, i went and asked jim.  he nailed it for me.

the boy and girl are working against each other, like me and my ex when we tried to work together.  each thinks they know what something needs and so they both do things unilaterally, mainly without telling the other one about it.  and then, right or wrong, they defend their actions when confronted.  the boy doesn’t like confrontation so always expresses his displeasure with passive aggression, and the girl was raised with conflict and gets in his face to point out the obvious.  that’s one thing.  the other is that they’re way too focused on the details of this overbearingly complicated game and have totally lost sight of their mission, which is to raise the consciousness of the player to quantum levels.

so, a lot of time is wasted in pointless arguments, and in redoing each other’s work, and not talking to each other.  their relationship cools some, they ignore each other in their heads at times.  and at dragoncon 2 when he soaks up the attention and she only feels drained, they begin to sour on each other.  after kurt’s death they come back to a good working relationship, and they repress growing irritation with the game and each other as it becomes a burden, but by dragoncon 3 they’re hostile toward each other, and feeling trapped. they have a big fight and split at dragoncon 4, teh gema is banned for dragoncon 5 and they’re working on opposite sides, a big protest and brutal repression at dragoncon 6, when he is forced to betray her, and a miracle happens for dragoncon 7 and all you need is love.

so, i’ve got that.  cool.

okay, to sum up, what have i written today (this is the part i’ll cut and paste back into my document)…

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

fairy’s afraid of the kernel – funny thoughts on the cloud level, tweaking the carnival levels.

their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

antarctica basic placeholder.  npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody  videogame.   cities impeccable, but empty.  boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

me and my ex.  unilaterally, without telling.  defensive. passive aggression, in his face.  forest for the trees.

plot problems

it’s the first time that the plot has probed problematic.  i knew it would, because i’ve just got placeholder chapters until i figure out what really has to go where.  but this is the first time when i’ve seen a real gap in the flow.  the way it goes now, they design the game at dragoncon 1, then kurt creates the kernel, and then all their designs are for naught because of the way the quantum kernel, and especially the quantum tablet, change the way the game is created.  and kurt only creates the antarctica level at dragoncon 2, at which time he’s almost done making the game architecture.  and they go live close to dragoncon 3.  so there’s almost a year where they design the game and adjust to creating the game, and almost a year of finishing and testing the game.  but it won’t take all that much time.  and i’m not sure the chapters i have set out aren’t way too long for what’s happening.

do we spend an entire year tweaking the intro, carnival, and cloud levels? because we can’t touch antarctica (because once we do then the other players all appear on that level too, so it’s got to be live).  does snake fuck things up so it takes a year? or do we have to change chapters around – do they take a year to design the game, and then meet kurt at dragoncon 2? and the kernel takes awhile, and the cre8tion takes awhile, and they’re only testing at dragoncon 3 when kurt dies? and snake finishes it and they test and go live at dragoncon 4? more than halfway thru the story?  i don’t think so.  i’ve been watching movies latery with an eye on the clock.  the significant event or  person doesn’t tend to happen until around 35-40 minutes in, at i guess the beginning of the second act, and way before the 2-hour end.

antarctica is only built once they start playing. it’s an empty antarctica without ice archipelago of rocks, inaccessible, with carnival overlain on top of the ice sheet. so what takes all the time to build once kurt’s finished with the kernel? the quantum tablet makes actually creating and finishing the game a snap, so why would they wait to create antarctica? because even with the quantum kernel it’s not right until kurt gets there the night he dies at dragoncon 2 and makes it all over the right way.

so when they do a demo at dragoncon 2 and it’s less than stellar, it takes them a moment to recover, after thinking they should get real jobs and give it up. but then kurt goes off and thinks about it, and does some tinkering, and finally completely wipes antarctica and starts over from the kernel out.

and then he dies the next day. because snake has to take over between the completion of antarctica and go-live so he can plant all his bombs. snake already has a minor role, and has wormed his way into the administrative meetings. and this process takes a year? half a year?  we take half a year to tinker and test everything but antarctica? i can see taking most of a year to design a game and then have to start all over again when the technology changes, but how can it take even six months when things happen so much more quickly thanks to the quantum tablet and kernel and now ex-kurt. and he’s already built antarctica and it still takes them half a year?

can’t they figure out how to get to antarctica in the game? did kurt leave it unattached altogether? and nobody can create a link because that’s architecture in the game engine which is locked inside the kernel.

so they vastly scale down the scope of the game and turn the carnival level into the violent corrupt social parody of modern consumerism that it ends up as, the girl fighting it all the way, in order to make up for the drastically reduced functionality of a locked-down kernel. snake and fairy develop a great antipathy to each other, and the boy and girl show distinctly different styles in testing and applying the essence.

the special feature of dragoncon 3 is the final candidate and go-live right there at the show. the boy and girl are in the game watching from the cloud level as beta testers work on the final candidate when ex-kurt shows up and creates a portal to the antarctica under the ice (essentially encasing the carnival levels in clouds, melting the ice sheet, and finally shoving them thru the portal.  suddenly they’re falling into ice-cold water only yards from the stony shore of a barren and mountainous land.

go-live, some hours later, sees first a trickle then a flood of players washing up on the shoreline.  players aren’t expecting this and are surprised and pleased at the additional playability. the game is a sensation overnight. players appear as dopplegangers in the marriott/midway hub.

i think that’s a much nicer flow, with a few more twists than i had before.  tomorrow i’ll have to go back into my document and alter the chapters between designing the game, which i’ve been working on for a few days now, and go-live, which is the rest of act 1.  i’ve been revising act 1 for a few days, concentrating on trimming the reference material into a comments document and putting various things that have to go in the chapter into some sort of order, moving some things to other chapters, making collections of things to discuss and expound upon.

in all this i’m trying to visualize how it will play out, and the visuals race between cartoonish splash pages to whole cinematic scenes.  my mental conception is like a still picture that becomes sharper and more detailed and more involved the longer i think about it, like the photos in blade runner only moreso.  it’s like i’m the director wading thru the filming of these scenes, moving actors and props around, showing them how i want to see them do it.  that’s more like what i see in my mental images.  with narration, like a documentary.  the making of.

which i guess is what this is.  not that anybody wants to know the agonizing details, but sometimes i put them in, and sometimes i polish it a bit.  i was reading some videogame designer’s page today, god knows which one, and i really loved how he would ramble and discuss  his thought processes.  because this is what he does, and i could watch him do it, and learn how he thinks about what he’s doing.  it was very helpful.

i’ve been doing such good work the last few days.  even with all the shit happening.  today it was mostly research about videogames, and the day before.  all in the name of fleshing out the designing and creating chapters in act 1.  my working document has all sorts of hyperlinks to the reference documents.  some of it i pots here, but most of it goes into the comments document.

anyway, it’s getting late, and i tend to get out of bed in the morning anxious to get down here and work.  it’s actually exhausting, but i’m really productive and very happy in my work.

author’s note

jim and i were discussing the characters this morning.  he’s got his own ideas as to their backgrounds. he knows where they live.  let me see what i can remember.

the boy is a military nut, and is in the sca because he likes medieval brawlers, but dragoncon doesn’t have an sca track, so he is into space opera military things.  he lives in midtown.

fairy works as a massage therapist and is into bdsm and altered states.  very middle class background, or hippies.  lives in little 5 points, of course.

snake is from real money; his parents live in country club of the south or better, and he’s got an apartment in buckhead and drives a bmw because he’s slumming.  ga tech and he works at emory in their computer department, but he’s more of a manager than a programmer.

and the girl?  he says her name is mary elizabeth, or beth.  i laughed, i’m afraid.  still, it’s better than eve…she comes from a church background, with her mom as a musical director and the dad as the holy preacher. she lives by herself in an apartment inman park, motorcycles or marta in motorcycle leathers, works in computer graphics in a corporation.

kurt: doesn’t matter where he lives.  maybe farm people for his parents.  was a dotcom millionaire and invested it.  works on side projects he’s interested in, but mainly works on his quantum computer, in his van, parked in a public lot on a monthly pass.

jim had a lot to say, but i interrupted him a bunch, so i forget most of these details.  but they’re not the point, and i can fill them in later. (which i did)

i’m going to have to redo the first chapter – the vision – because what happens in their vision is not a miniature of what they develop into a game, but what they’re supposed to do with the game, how they’re supposed to change the world with it.

when they go to translate their vision into a videogame they get sidetracked into making the midway and carneytown levels – they think they need to give remedial physics lessons to the players, and so they delay getting around to teaching quantum skills – and mainly this is because they don’t know anything about teaching quantum skills when they design the game.  they only get put back on track when the boy and girl land on antarctica and find all the other players arriving at the same time.

the game they design never gets built or played.  it’s all there on paper, but shit happens while they’re waiting to make the game.

how are they sidetracked?  could it be that they are already in their midst, sabotaging their every move?  in the case of abandoning classical mechanics for quantum mechanics, the saboteurs are already there inside even the most gung-ho revolutionary – even the people it’s happening to will deny and reject it once they’re back to their ordinary minds.  every one of them will edge away from the implications of a quantum daily life.  what happens in an altered state can’t, and shouldn’t, cross over into waking reality.  that’s what dreams and fantasies are for.  they’re not real.  if they became real, there’d be hell to pay.  so nobody really wants the things that happen in dreams to start happening in real life.  and so there’s no sabotage needed, no agents provocateur, no them.

the way it happens, the midway turns into a gambling parlor where lots of people make lots of realworld money and people learn all the rules of physics that can help them cheat, and all the skills get put to the wrong uses.  carneytown becomes a place of violence, a dark shootemup with stolen car races and group shootouts where players learn cooperation but also mob mentality and wartime morals.

this is how the real players see it once it goes live.  the beta testers only reported gameplay bugs, and started using the lessons to win games, the alpha testers didn’t really get the point of the lessons, and the bug reports were shallow, the boy and girl just ran thru making sure the lessons were in place.

but once they’re in the quantum kernel’s realm, which a real and persistent altered state, they can do anything they desire, literally.  the strength, force, and discipline of your desire is what causes things to happen in the game.  in quantum reality.  and when players get used to that, they naturally start using it in the realworld, and they pick up on it immediately.  but it has to be something small.

they’re doing open testing at the second dragoncon.  testers start popping up in two places at once.  on security cameras.  because…the hub of the midway is modeled on the atrium lobby level of the marriott hotel, yeah, one of the hubs of dragoncon.  right.  and when people are in the hub on the midway, they appear in the atrium of the marriott, in their avatars.  maybe as ghostly shapes, maybe as solid objects.  maybe practicing wacky things with gravity or acceleration.  when the boy and girl go to test the cloud level that night at dragoncon, they find open testers all over, building shit in the clouds.  okay, that’s good.  just popped out, just like spitting out another baby.

that’s not small, however.

jim said something when i asked this question earlier.  when the boy and girl are telling people about their experience and their quantum powers the next day, and they’re asked to demonstrate, they can’t.  no, that’s not it.  when they’re asked to demonstrate, they immediately do something spectacular, but very fast.  a lot of people miss it.  and they try again, and nothing.  it seems the more they try, the harder it is to do.  it’s not something that can be ordered, or that the left brain can make happen.  it’s spontaneous, linked to genuine emotions, flow.  you can’t cause flow with your rational mind, you can only relax into it and allow it.

so they realize they have to teach how to allow it, so they mash up magic and yoga and the force and the bene gesserit teachings and lots of newage stuff, and start teaching it as philosophy and martial arts and healthcare, as well as selling it as a comic book and a game.

so what really happens in the vision?  the garden of eden sequence is fine.  but once they go out into antarctica to make their game, that’s all different.  all my current version is doing is prefiguring the action to come, so i can just split it up and redistribute it.  but what they see in their vision is how the game is supposed to make people accept the reality of the quantum universe and take their places in it.

they go thru the lessons themselves, the 7 levels of physics/philosophy/reality from animism to god consciousness, the 7 quantum skills from mind-reading to manifestation, the 7 levels of civilization from the isles to the gamburtsevs.  then they can answer the question (what is the meaning of the game).

but how to tell this as a fairy tale?  in the first level they learn the first skill and the first mindset?  a long complicated fairy tale?

maybe their bodies don’t work, or go right thru things. they have to learn to make the grass grow and talk to animals so they can eat (consciousness, energy building ring 1 isles animism) then build shelter and make fire (levitation, concentrating energy ring 2 mountains goddess).  they become more real (manifestation ring 3 lowlands xian) with every lesson learned.  they look outward for something else to interact with (entanglement ring 4 wilderness classical).  they master their environment (action at a distance ring 5 hinterlands relativity).  they learn their limitations (self consciousness ring 6 hell quantum).  they accept themselves (god consciousness ring 7 gamburtsevs god consciousness).

this can be worked into a coherent little story.  but it was awful to present to jim just now.

so how does it go as a story? at each ring they ask themselves if they have the answer, and it’s a different answer each time.  they don’t split up in their vision.  they don’t fight.  there’s no violence, no cheating, no resistance to the message.  if they get distracted the flow fails and things get sick.  the colors gray out as the story goes on, with stark black and white in hell and wireframe in the gamburtsevs.

neolithic: among barren rocks they are like babies and have to coax the environment to help them.  they interact with winds and water and seeds and finally with great effort establish contact with animals who help them and feed them until they can form weak bodies.

viking: in harsh mountain forests and on cold deep seas they compensate for their childish weakness with psychokinetic muscles, concentrating energy to build ships and buildings and make fires.

medieval: in pastoral villages and small port towns they attain their full strength and opacity, and develop the ability to manifest, as other players appear to fill out the other roles.  they find themselves entraining other players, hampering their gameplay with interactions.

golden horde: over vast areas of uninhabited piedmont and estuary they avoid the growing crowds for a time, developing a sense of where all the players are.  they become aware of everything in the game world.  their powers enhance their appearance and confidence, exaggerating their strength.

hinterland: in rich and productive lands being steadily encroached upon by the big city, they organize the following crows and teach them how to harness their wills as best they can.  but the crowds are mesmerized by them and can only be controlled weakly.  their appearance hardens and lumps up, shrinking slightly as they tire from the effort.

hell city: in dark, dirty and crowded city of extremes they and all the droids they command are no match for the powers that be, and they resist as best they can, within the system and against it.  they continue to spread techniques for self-mastery / quantum powers, even tho tptb are winning.  their appearance ages and weakens as their powers are exhausted by fighting tptb and watching their people suffer.

gamburtsevs:  in an electronic mountain range they stand alone to fight the boss enemy.  they face themselves as they were in the garden of eden – young, spoiled, innocent, stupid.  then they are those younger selves, facing caricatures of their old selves in ridiculous ill-fitting fantasy getup. ready to fight to the death.  they decide this is a silly idea, and put the weapons down, and embrace.

the embrace makes them all explode, and they see that they are all one, and there is no time or space, and they create the entire universe in their own minds.  the angel appears to ask the meaning of what they’ve just been thru and they answer.

how’s that?

***

i’m working it all out on the blog today.  and then i’ll transfer the main chunks to my document where i usually do it the other way around.  i just started here today and never made it back to the outline, because i need to split it up again and amn’t really ready to tackle that.  plus these ideas came up this morning.

and then i’ll do some work on it, and come back here with it all chopped up into panels and pages for illustrating.

Q

Q-flow, quantum flow, also known as ki, chi, reiki, etc.

i’m struck at how much this is dealt with in popular culture.  the force.  bene gesserit powers.  merlin.  harry potter.  etc.

supernatural powers that some people possess is a very deep theme running thru human history.  according to most of the tales, everyone is capable of these powers, but various conditions have to occur to distill these capabilities so that they can be used in practical ways in the real world.  the sorcerer’s apprentice.

in the paranormal-friendly ’70s there were spontaneous demonstrations of mass paranormal powers (crowds of children bending spoons).  the force was with us.  newagers were everywhere insisting on the doctrine of mind over matter.  all you need is love.

now, at the end of the world in 2012, we live in fear, and hardly anybody loves themselves anymore, never mind the world.  we’ve turned into a world of conservatives trying to get it all before someone takes it from them.

and this is the point of the game.  turning it back to love.

the point of this work i’m involved in is to get people to start thinking and living in a quantum world, where we’re all one, and the consequences of fear and self-hatred is the death of all.  and i find this message everywhere i look.  all the occult teachings point to this.  so all i have to do is tap these traditions and i have my quantum teachings laid out for me.

watching the sorcerer’s apprentice the other night, they went thru a crash course in magic, which was hooked in to the protagonist’s studies in theoretical physics.  what happens when you condense things?  they heat up.  what happens when you release them?  they explode.  and out of this you get how to make a plasma ball.  and the process is to clear your head, envision it clearly, put yourself into it, and create it.

the boy and girl come back from their vision knowing quantum skills, being able to fly, to manifest like a wizard, to travel thru time and stop the inevitable.  can they prove it?  are they actually superheros because of a drug-induced vision?  no, not in the realworld, not yet.  but with critical mass we’ll bring harry potter to the muggles.  if you believe, like tinker bell.  then all the newage mumbo jumbo will become real.  is that what i’m trying to say.

because i’m getting overwhelmed, a little.  with all i have to do, and the subjects i have to master, and the sheer effrontery of trying to write a video game and a comic book when i’ve hardly ever played one and wasn’t allowed to read them when i was a kid.

 

author’s note: the vision

it’s going to be all graphic, with as little lettering as possible.  no dialog, no narration.

when the boy and girl are in a receptive state, ex-kurt’s wireframe hand comes out of a tiny cloud and sprinkles them with pixie dust, shows them how to fly, and sends them off to the first star on the right.

the image is of michael and john, done just the same way as ET flying over the moon.

just thought i’d share it.

i don’t mind incorporating references into this.  i’m hoping to make a lot of references.  after all, it’ll be like dragoncon, with 50,000 different science fiction and fantasy and other fans all doing their own thing their own way.  so there’s lots of room for really wild characters and really obvious references.  if only i read more…

author’s note – editing the chapter outline

first you build it up, then you cut it down.

my kid tried to quote me this:  editing is when you cut out all the good parts.

i think it was a misquote, but i thought it was funny.  if a part’s really good it will creep back in somehow.

so i had this long preliminary outline, which i published about a month ago (whatever), and have since then been filling out.  i’d sit and muse on an aspect of the plot, or the characters, or how they developed individually thruout the story, or how the background changed, or what level 3 looked like.  and when i was finished sketching it out, i would scroll thru the chapter outline until i found where it went, and put it there.

i am forced to save after every operation because i’m on a linux box and my libre office writer is unstable.

after doing this for a couple of weeks, i had a horribly unwieldy document full of conflicting sketches.

which i saved as chapter outline 2, and am now consolidating.  i’ve been doing it for about a week.  at first it was daunting.  and then i got used to the flow of it, and then i could begin to see how threads wound thru the story, and then i could see the beats and timing of the threads, and then i could see the parallels in action between the threads.  and now it’s starting to make sense to me.

i’m still a long way from being able to show it to jim and get him to think up visuals for it.

first i have to standardize the chapters.  where are they, in the game, in the realworld, in the development studio, at dragoncon?  what does this level of the game or realworld look like, what stage of development is it in (depends on the characters and the storyline), who is playing this level of the game, what scenes are there in this chapter?

right now i’m using color coding.  the various characters’ progress thru the game (the boy and girl, the alpha testers, ex-kurt, snake and fairy, the beta testers, the real players), the various levels of the game, the realworld, dragoncon.  the quantum (and other physics) lessons.

i’ve got placeholders for a lot of the things, like the lessons (which jim has asked me about.

the lessons are basically like teaching someone to fly in their dreams.  they’re the tube desire-thing in donnie darko.  the lessons are how to create thoughtforms (tulpas).  the lessons are how to meditate, how to be zenlike, how to do magic, how to love everybody.  jim thinks that this is better shown in pictures than it is written a bunch of prose about, and i agree that lecturing isn’t going to do it.  so the girl is going to become the teacher of the lessons, and she’s going to become madame guru like it or not (she doesn’t), and she’s going to try to pass it on to fairy but she’ll still have a heavy burden to carry around with her (all that devotion is very onerous).  it’s also how to be telepathic, how to do telekenesis, how to travel in time, how to create worlds with your mind.  all this is better illustrated.

and the thing about comic book illustration is that the script has to be a bare minimum of words, and each of those words having an unspoken subtext that helps to convey the meaning.  it’s very visual and very complex, and the words are clunky.

and you may have noticed that i’m not a concise person.  i go on a lot.  i’m going to cut the to-be-drawn scripts down to as small a chunk as i can, and then turn them over to jim, who will distill everything to fit on a 6-panel page.

i still have a long way to go.  yesterday i was only dealing with early act 2, and today i worked my way thru act 3, and now i’ve gone back and put placeholders for the categories i still need to flesh out.

and now i’m tired.

musing about the politics

 

there’s politics all over this story.  being a metaphor for what’s going on right now, as well as directly addressing the huge big changes, i’ve got to have a vocal opposition, and have to explore their thoughts and minds in order to convincingly voice them.  which i have a hard time doing, and so why it might end up as graphic, meaning someone else paints the picture so i don’t have to.

planetary tuning forks.

 

conservatives seem to think poor people are evil and deserve to be denied services. as if they should be ashamed to ask. how does this translate to the suppression of quantum thinking?

 

in the game they’re economically enslaved, but in the realworld the same conservative backlash occurs with different nouns and the same rest of the sentences. quantum thinkers are evil and deserve to be denied human rights. they should be ashamed to demand them. because by their very nature they’re an affront and a threat to normal humans. they’re not really people. quantum thinking isn’t evolutionary, it’s a disease. when indulged in it becomes a choice, like being gay. god made you classical, and it proves your depravity to have the least interest in quantum thought. it goes so against everything humans stand for (daddy god, one right way, truth, objectivity, straight path), they want to dirty up reality, to besmirch certainty and defile rectitude and rightness.

 

they’re wrong by definition. quantum error. quantum thinking is destructive of our economy, our society, our religion, our values, our history, what makes us civilized. we need certainty, we need right from wrong (suddenly we remember that adam and eve ate from this tree)

 

adam and eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the tree of eternal life. and god chased them out so they wouldn’t, because it would make them like god. when right and wrong come into question, then they fall back on the fact that adam and eve did eat it, and therefore have the responsibility to uphold right and wrong, and one god / one right way is definitely right, and many ways and many rights is definitely wrong because it obliterates the difference between right and wrong, which is eternal and unchanging because god is eternal and unchanging. and male.

 

it’s the worst threat ever, worse than gay marriage, worse than aids, worse than abortion and divorce and sex before marriage and illegal drug use, nuclear war and reelecting obama. quantum thinking directly affects the fabric of reality. quantum thinkers want to destroy our whole civilization. they want to bring about the end times but in a way that goes against the biblical end-times, corrupts and pollutes it and turns it all into an evil to be resisted in the name of all that’s right and holy. they’re insane and want to kill us all. because make no mistake, a quantum world means the end of the universe. it’ll all just wink out, and we will be there to see it, and it will be all their fault.

 

and the people just have to hear this kind of thing and they’re out in the streets looking for people with twitchy hands. not only will the army be out suppressing those god damned quantumite faggots but loyal classicists will be out there doing their bit, too, turning in suspected quantum thinkers, taking all their possessions as a reward, not that the quantum type tend to have much in the way of possessions. but since they’ll be rendered nonpeople, the victor gets their social security when it comes due.

 

what’s the worst rhetoric, from the ’30s about the anarchists, or the 50s about the communists, or even back in the earliest labor disputes (the apprentices)? the quantumites have to be painted as the lowest slime, eat your babies, (insert racist hatespeach) there is.

 

planetary tuning forks.
conservatives seem to think poor people are evil and deserve to be denied services.  as if they should be ashamed to ask.  how does this translate to the suppression of quantum thinking?
in the game they’re economically enslaved, but in the realworld the same conservative backlash occurs with different nouns and the same rest of the sentences.  quantum thinkers are evil and deserve to be denied human rights.  they should be ashamed to demand them.  because by their very nature they’re an affront and a threat to normal humans.  they’re not really people.  quantum thinking isn’t evolutionary, it’s a disease.  when indulged in it becomes a choice, like being gay.  god made you classical, and it proves your depravity to have the least interest in quantum thought.  it goes so against everything humans stand for (daddy god, one right way, truth, objectivity, straight path), they want to dirty up reality, to besmirch certainty and defile rectitude and rightness.
they’re wrong by definition.  quantum error.  quantum thinking is destructive of our economy, our society, our religion, our values, our history, what makes us civilized.  we need certainty, we need right from wrong (suddenly we remember that adam and eve ate from this tree)
adam and eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the tree of eternal life.  and god chased them out so they wouldn’t, because it would make them like god.  when right and wrong come into question, then they fall back on the fact that adam and eve did eat it, and therefore have the responsibility to uphold right and wrong, and one god / one right way is definitely right, and many ways and many rights is definitely wrong because it obliterates the difference between right and wrong, which is eternal and unchanging because god is eternal and unchanging.  and male.
it’s the worst threat ever, worse than gay marriage, worse than aids, worse than abortion and divorce and sex before marriage and illegal drug use, nuclear war and reelecting obama.  quantum thinking directly affects the fabric of reality.  quantum thinkers want to destroy our whole civilization.  they want to bring about the end times but in a way that goes against the biblical end-times, corrupts and pollutes it and turns it all into an evil to be resisted in the name of all that’s right and holy.  they’re insane and want to kill us all.  because make no mistake, a quantum world means the end of the universe.  it’ll all just wink out, and we will be there to see it, and it will be all their fault.
and the people just have to hear this kind of thing and they’re out in the streets looking for people with twitchy hands.  not only will the army be out suppressing those god damned quantumite faggots but loyal classicists will be out there doing their bit, too, turning in suspected quantum thinkers, taking all their possessions as a reward, not that the quantum type tend to have much in the way of possessions.  but since they’ll be rendered nonpeople, the victor gets their social security when it comes due.
what’s the worst rhetoric, from the ’30s about the anarchists, or the 50s about the communists, or even back in the earliest labor disputes (the apprentices)?  the quantumites have to be painted as the lowest slime, eat your babies, (insert racist hatespeach) there is.

reflection – author’s note

my standardization sucks.  when starting a project, it helps to have conventions, so that you can tell your files at a glance, so that info is included in the same place in roughly the same way for each chapter, etc.  like the author’s notes, half of which aren’t subtitled so i won’t be able to find things later when there are a hundred author’s note posts.  like all the posts that are author’s notes without saying so, how to find them at all?

like i’m sure i’ll go on in another author’s note. i’m not organized enough to run a huge operation like this is turning out to be.

jim and i went to the library today and found a whole bunch of graphic novels, and how to make graphic novels, and his friend jerry is relearning poser that i won’t probably be able to use without getting a whole nother computer and i’m not doing that.  so there’s another learning curve – how not only to write for comic books, but also how to ink and color and letter and compose for print and web.

thinking about doing part of the story as prose and part as graphic novel is a very large bite to swallow.  i’ve been thinking in thought bubbles and framing in black and white since we decided to think about doing it, about a week ago, i guess.  things do get very simple when you imagine them as panels.

so many other things have been happening in my real world that i haven’t been able to think much about this story.  that’s this past week.  i’m only slowly going to be able to get back to some sort of work ethic, while so far the project has kept me busy day and night since late november, which i guess is only two months.

my task now, because jim wants to think about preliminary drawings, is to do character sketches.  we figured that while the human characters only change over 7 years, from their early 20s to hitting 30, their avatars in the game change from whatever idealized youth figure they first were to the old people scarred by their own lives by the end of the game.  but i think i did that yesterday or something.

i remember waking up in the night and seeing a panoramic panel with a close up boy as an old man, his repeated face and upper body changing from left to right from old to ancient, his body bending, his face growing gaunt, his hair and beard longer, his eyes hollow, the sweat of fear flying off his face.

also in the night, zombies figured prominently as a theme or gag thruout.  but i’ve forgotten, now.

but the processing goes on.  i’m like a newborn, who has been used to dreaming and thinking, and goes right on dreaming and thinking in their outside life until they can stay awake long enough to notice what’s going on.

also, i need to detail the 7 quantum lessons, as well as the other physics lessons.  and i have to come up with the exercises and katas.

graphic novel notes


the rings are: the isles, the mountains, the lowlands, the wilderness, the hinterland, hell, the gamburtsevs

this is my first test of the directions i’m trying to follow about making your own graphic novel.  i’ve imported a line drawing and am adding layers for each of the rings of the quantum antarctica game.

next i have to go in and draw some more bounding areas and fill them with details, effects and so on on more layers.  i’m learning the principles, and so far the first one i have learned is that, like the silk painting serti technique, you have to have enclosed areas to put the colors in, so jim’s line drawing is going to have to mark where the color changes are, rather than the edges of objects.  i guess the lines usually do just that, but i’m going to have to go around his drawings after i scan them in, just like i do when he designs a scarf for me.

***

oh and i’ve been thinking about names.  quantum antarctica.  quant’artica.  q’ant.  i had some other names on the dog walk this afternoon, but they’re gone now.  must have been a lie, as my dad used to say.  wish i could remember.  they were good names.  not quantum quest.

we’ve been discussing which parts of the story to do as graphic novel.  we feel comfortable with maybe an eighth of the story illustrated as comic book pages.  most of it will be prose, just every now and then there’ll be up to 5 pages of full color insert.

i can see the finished book.  the cover is like an old worm bible, leather, embossed, worn down to the brown skin.  inside there’s marbling.  there’s a list of illustrations, and there loads of illustrations.  there’s a list of maps, and there are 46 maps at the very least.  there are maps of each level and each ring, and each town, and the trade routes, and the weather, and the heroic journeys, pirate maps and symbolic maps and flowcharts.  maybe we can switch typeface for different situations or developmental levels.  i hate stories without pictures, and i’m going to have loads of pictures in this one.  jim will do all the illustrations, i will do the maps and anything that’s better done on computer, like scanning and inking, coloring and lettering.  but especially i get to do all the maps, because jim’s never done it, and i’ve always loved drawing maps.

we can’t illustrate the whole story, but we could illustrate a thread, or two, that runs thru the story.  like the dragoncons.  like the real world events.  like the quantum lessons scattered about. that way we touch on everything with every graphic section, because everybody’s appearance and the appearance of the world, and the style we use to illustrate it, change thruout the story.  there would be other threads running thru the game that we could illustrate, and a lot of this could be covered by spot illustrations that appear at each level or ring or chapter heading and inside the level/ring/chapter wherever it needs it.

all of these threads, or pieces of the story can be really cool as a graphic novel, and so the question arises, why not do the whole thing that way?  but we’re talking about several hundred pages of written script (finished about like i did train wreck, which is first draft and might as well be notes) and several hundred pages of graphic novel, which jim doesn’t have time or energy to pencil, and i don’t have time or software to process into tiffs.  thanks gimp for not doing cmyk, me hole.

this is so much work it’s not funny.  we’d need a team to actually do this the right way.  but all there is is us, so we’ll do it our way.  the story comes first, however.  and it’s got to be a final, full outline before we can proceed to either scripting or prosing each chapter.  we’ll have figured out which ones to illustrate by then, i hope, but maybe not.  no, i’m pretty confident we’ll have it figured out.

the way this process is working is that i’m struggling along with one little aspect of it that seems to be going so slow (like rush-hour traffic in atlanta – bumper to bumper at 70 miles an hour), and it goes along and limps along, (notes on the political mind, research on graphic novels, doing character sketches) and i have to stop and do other things, and the days rush by without my doing very much at all, and then all of a sudden we go for a dog walk and i voice my frustrations, and jim comes up with a little twist that makes everything fit together in a really elegant way, and i start sputtering and flaming and pretty soon we have an entirely new understanding of how the story works, and i come home and scramble to write it all down before it’s tomorrow and a whole nother day.

of course, i stll have to go back to taking notes and figuring out what the characters look like.

***

on the dog walk this evening, jim and i went over the various aspects of the story that could be illustrated.

the seven dragoncons can be illustrated as a graphic novel. i can just see the hyatt flooded with people on two floors, a crowded escalator going diagonally across the page.  the fairy tale vision would work very nicely as a graphic novel.  illustrating all the dragoncons would function on its own as a summation of the action and progress.

creating and testing the game would be very easy as a graphic novel, because the scientific details escape me and have to be shortened to the rudiments to begin with, and because it’s easier to show a wireframe landscape than to describe it.  illustrating the principles of classical and relativistic (and quantum) physics is probably easier than talking about it.  especially judging by all the quantum physics books (without equations) that i’ve tried to get thru.

the seven rings of playing the game, which is essentially following the boy and girl as they play the game, as they change in their appearance and grow in their actions and responsibilities and finally face each other and let the add-ons drop away.

playing the game is a very large part of the story, about half, and as such you couldn’t illustrate all of the game.  this is where we might could illustrate learning the quantum lessons, doing the exercises that enable you to think quantum and act quantum.  it’d be a whole lot better to show this learning process than it would be to lecture about it.

the real world.  there is a lot of the real world, and it takes up the other half of the story, so you couldn’t illustrate all of it.  but there are various facets.

the public reaction goes the whole gamut from unease to rabid mob, a parody of the right wing reaction to socialism, for example.

their actions from installing spies to directing sabotage, to suppression and syrian military diplomacy.  this is a metaphor for all the uprisings against the elite now occurring in the world, and best left as indescriptive as possible, since i don’t really want to pay attention to it – it’s so unpleasant and i just get mad.

then there’s the pivotal dramatic sequence where the boy is coopted, but changes his mind after the game and is forced to watch as the girl is captured and tortured and the kernel is destroyed, but the boy fights them, rescues the girl, and seeks shelter and aid.

there are lots of realworld and game effects when the kernel is destroyed, and it goes from bad to worse, doing catastrophic things that would look really good visually, and the prose description would pale by comparison.

there’s the final realworld showdown, when we see the defeat of quantum, the cruel celebration of the victors, and find the losers in fema camps.  is irony best captured in visual or text?

and how to play it when people find themselves playing the game in their dreams, and the whole quantum thing finally reaches critical mass, where players go around creating the parallel worlds they want to live in, and they coalesce, and collapse into a new, shifted reality that doesn’t normalize a power-hungry, fear-based mindset.

as an epilog, at the final dragoncon, there’s a new baby who already thinks and acts in quantum, the first of her generation, an improved game, and a world settling in to a new reality where we are all one and love is all you need.

***

the character sketch

the boy is tall and lanky, unkempt and slouchy, a self-conscious wannabe geek who uses his smarts to get ahead.  in the course of the game he turns into a swashbuckler, a gengis khan, a red-haired fabio with a kirk douglas chin, and then an old bodybuilder in a khan suit.

the girl starts out as a waiflike thing half the boy’s size, pixy black hair, and grows thru a dumpy and somewhat bitchy and put-upon middle age to be a mother earth crone with a halo, leaving flowers where she steps, all that.

kurt looks like my ex the computer genius, and acts like those dysfunctional guys in project x, but once he becomes ex-kurt in the game, he is a bundle of light, a moving finger, a face in random patterns, and in the realworld he is a face in the clouds and a gust of wind and a shadow on the sun.

snake is lithe and quick and has triangular shaped head and fanged teeth, long fingernails, lots of tattoos, and shaves his greasy hair in diamonds.  he is smart, and snide, superior and snarky, and mean.  his appearance doesn’t change in essence but gets more exaggerated.  he dresses in black.  in the game, as pope, he is smarmy and perverted.

fairy is a plump little thing with frizzy hair and pimples, and she giggles and is quietly hostile when people go against what she thinks is right.  she hides her fear under a layer of saccharine optimism.  she quietly clones herself onto a good portion of the non-playing characters, who meet out information according to how players treat them, and have very long memories.

***

then let’s talk about art style, panel style, lettering style, coloring style.  and variation of styles, using what when and to show what?

but not tonight.

pirates

when people hit my blog, they’re usually looking for pirate maps.  there’s some interest in the quantum posts, and no interest in the plot of the story i’m going to write.

i’m used to this.  in one of my unfinished novel i kept getting search hits for one of my characters, a guy who was a professional barney.  he was a great character, and deserved the name, but i had to change it and actually redact it through the blog, because i kept getting hits by people looking for barney.

and not just the purple dinosaur, but kill barney, death barney, electrocute barney.  it was frightening, actually.  but i learned about extraneous search terms.  unfortunately, the pirate theme has worked itself firmly into my story line, so i’m going to keep having a million hits a day landing on ‘pirate map’.  i’m not counting hits, so i don’t care.  i’m doing all this for me, and you all can read along, but you don’t have to, and i don’t mind.

must be a full moon

i’m up another night at 3 am, driven awake by the relentless pressure of the full moon on my eyeballs.  as bodies of water, they too are affected by the moon’s tides, and so shit happens and i lay awake thinking for hours.  but now i’m down in the studio, with the dogs settling down around my feet, and i can proceed to think with my fingers.

tonight i was musing about the great and growing wealth disparity in this nation.  it pisses me off.  i’m not part of the 1% and it would be laughable to think i could ever get that way; nor would i want to be that rich, because i’m not stupid and i don’t think money buys happiness.  in fact, i’m fully aware that the rich have so much more debt than i ever will and so little free time, that they’re actually poor, and i’m the one who’s rich because i don’t owe anything or anybody.

but this is getting ridiculous, and people actually make $30,000,000 a week.  thirty million dollars a week.  one week.

my problem is translation.  how do i take the actual reality – the powerful are grabbing more power and the masses are getting fed up – and translate it to a fight over quantum physics, where the status quo is classical physics and the quantum side is suppressed?

they’re not even congruent subjects, they’re not analogous.  they are to me, emotionally, but my reason just sputters to a stop when i try to make a statement of it.  so let me see if i can work it out digitally.

the similarity is this.  when the gamers start manifesting quantum powers, the status quo is threatened to its core and responds with violent suppression.  when the huddled masses start manifesting the power of numbers, the plutarchy is threatened to its core and responds with violent suppression.

the problem is this – when a few people grab all the resources and leave the rest to fight over the crumbs, how do the rest behave?  we can see the result when we look at the middle east this year, but when we turn our eyes to our own country and a similar situation, we forget our words.  and when i try to translate it to quantum, i freeze up and my brain spins on a tangent.

i guess the analogy of quantum power is taking to the streets and saying we will not be moved.  it disrupts the hell out of the old order, calls all sorts of inconvenient things into public discourse, and illustrates novel ways to organize life.

when quantum effects begin occurring in the realworld, they disrupt the hell out of the way things are done, calls all the unspoken attitudes and inequalities out of the closet, and empowers a bottom up way of running the world.

this of course scares the hell out of people who live in reality, because reality is classical, newtonian, there’s one right answer, things are mechanistic and predictable, and if you started fucking with that you’d bring the whole thing down.  the old argument springs to mind  – if everybody stopped paying their credit card bills, the whole financial system would collapse.  and this would be bad because?  because, duh, our current system wouldn’t work anymore, the system where we live on credit and people take profits from labor they didn’t do, the system that uses debt to enslave people into bad jobs.

and this would be bad because?

i don’t think i’m hiding the fact that i think capitalism has had its day.  and this is not yet an offense under the law.  but it would be if the radical right had its way.  treason, it would be.  direct antiamericanism, because true patriotism and capitalism are the same thing.

or some such reasoning.  and that’s going to be an issue with me because i find it very difficult to understand how people can think this way.  how people who have no chance in hell of joining the 1% nevertheless act like poor people deserve nothing, and in fact, they really deserve a whole lot of nothing – negative nothing, to punish them for not being rich.

again, it makes no sense to me.  until i understand it as fear.  fear-based people think there’s not enough to go around, they have to get theirs first, and if they can have it all they will only begin to feel secure once everybody else is permanently prevented from even coveting it.

i’m the kind who want everybody to have theirs, and for those with more than they need to share theirs, because it’s not the money that counts.  it’s the happiness that counts.

and i can hear a whole bunch of my friends and family snort and chortle at that.  because happiness is unimportant.  it’s the things you have that matter.  it’s winning, being right, having everything you ever wanted.  but it’s never enough; none of my friends and family are happy with all they have, they’re actually unhappy because they don’t have enough yet, and they spend all their time focused on their lack and their abundance and they never enjoy themselves and can’t stop worrying and all that crap.

and if i never enjoy myself and can’t stop worrying, at least i’m not in debt and don’t have to go squandering my time and energy on someone else’s project in return for not enough to pay the extra bills i uncur by doing paid labor.  it’s like the simple solution to having more than one kid – the mom stays home because it would take all she could make just for childcare.  at a certain point, you can’t afford to work because of the hidden costs.

i’m going back to my analogy of the quantum videogame to the occupy movement.  quantum effects begin in the realworld.  they go unregarded by most, but certain watchful elements are freaked out and start screaming in the ears of the powerful that this is a really urgent threat.  the powers that be have enough problems, and ignore these early warnings.  shit continues to happen as a result of the game, and the warnings spread and grow more shrill.  when more shit happens, the media pick it up, and suddenly regular people feel threatened, and call for the powerful to do something to protect them from this evil menace.  so leaders are arrested and made examples of.  laws are passed.  sympathizers protest, and troops are called out to restore order, which means more sympathizers, etc, escalating right up to pantomime proportions where the powers that be are leaving the country and going underground while mobs rule the streets and the army fights its own people.  all the while, the evils of quantum are pounded into peoples’ heads, and those who use quantum are demonized, and punishments are bizarre, and neither side can talk to the other at all, and families turn against each other and civil war breaks out with one side having all the weapons and the other side having the weight of numbers.

i can’t get any more specific than that.  i have an emotional block i can only sense.  i’m going to have to get really specific about all this repression and struggle, down to the level of characters and named and faced Thems.  like in the moon is a harsh mistress, a reworking of the 18th century revolutionary war.  whereas at the moment i sound like a conspiracy theorist.

it’s just a tiny little quantum change in the realworld.  it starts when the testers are on level 1 fucking with the arcade game settings.  they are minute settings, but some instrument somewhere registers a whole bunch of realworld anomalies.  like maybe a satellite somewhere out in space collects a bunch of different measurements of the weight of the earth.  some unique measurement, anyway.  how many satellites are out there measuring the earth’s mass?  can’t be that many.  or maybe a whole bunch of sensors detect a wild fluctuation in the visible light spectrum.  something.

it takes a few tiny little things in a few different areas to freak people out.  maybe at first they think it’s an effect coming from the sun, like a solar storm.  or massive instrument error.  or massive human error.  or maybe it’s the core of the planet suddenly hiccoughing.  but then they realize that it’s happening to everything, everywhere, and that in fact it’s fucking with the fabric of the universe in a perhaps permanent nonzero way.

maybe one day the sun pulsates with the rhythm of something kurt’s listening to on his headphones while he’s working in the quantum kernel.

quantum effects on the macro level, maybe computer calculations start coming back with multiple answers, nonconsistent answers, quantum possibilities forced by classical mechanics to show up as consecutive different answers, so you could add 2+2 and keep coming up with different answers.  that would screw things up immediately.  there wouldn’t be a computer around that could cope with that for more than a few operations, say a tenth of a second.  we’d have to leave that for the end, i think.

it’s only after the public is exposed to kurt’s face in the clouds that the authorities admit there’s anything going on.

the boy and girl are busy making the game and putting all their quantum energy into making the game real.  so they don’t generate any quantum effects in the realworld.  kurt generates fleeting but definite effects when he’s working in the kernel, before it’s locked down and he dies.  the alpha testers start creating weak effects as they learn the game’s quantum techniques, but these are baby steps and very local.  however, it’s enough to have watchers notice them at dragoncon.  the testers notice the effects, think they are side-effects of gameplay, and only report them in the bug database.  the beta testers notice the effects, and assume they’re part of the game experience.  their quantum skills add to the effects the other testers are creating, and the notice is much sharper and more organized among the watchers.  the players notice the effects and begin to use them openly in their everyday lives, exulting in their quantum skills.  this is what freaks Them out.

the joyful use of sticks of dynamite by babies.  that’s why snake’s religion has so much purchase in the game, even the players are freaked out by their own quantum powers.  they believe it’s too dangerous for individuals to use, and think it should be owned by an elite few who can use it for everybody.  or so.  and this is really crazy, because they’re in the game learning quantum skills to be used by all, and insist on locking it up for the use of a few, even in the game.

but people are like that.  like my ex, over the other evening, who insisted that there is only one reality out there, and that at best, subjective reality is in error particularly because it differs according to one’s reference frame.   there is no relative reality, he insisted.  but quantum physics says there is, and quantum physics works in our everyday world.  your gps isn’t in error, is it?  but he ignored my arguments and called me arch.

so even among otherwise hip, reasonable people, you have this instinctive insistence that there is one right way, arguing for a punishing daddy god right out of the box.  you have to drag people kicking and screaming into being their own god.  most will willingly play god in a videogame, but suggest that they can live their own reality and they will scoff.  we do of course all live our own realities, and that’s why our memories of the exact same events will be markedly different from one another.  we call it subjective, and dismiss it as a lie our minds play on us.  but quantum physics suggests that these are actually different universes that we are remembering and that there’s nothing wrong with our minds.  we just need to learn to trust our own selves.  and who can do that, really?  who isn’t full of doubt really should be, and saints have the most doubts of all.  imagine how doubtful god is, especially if there’s only one?  if we’re all god, then we can talk it out and come to a consensus about reality, but who’s going to say there’s one right reality when we’re all god?  which of us has the one reality that the others are supposed to acknowledge?

this of course is why there’s only one god in the classical system.  because it’s easier.  there’d be endless argument about when the sun was going to come up if we all pitched in.  but this kind of classical view breaks down as we move from babyhood to something approaching adolescence as a species.  we learn to think outside our little heads, to experience wider reality, which isn’t as nice and orderly as classical physics would have us believe, and works a lot more on individual levels than anybody’s comfortable with.

except kids growing up with it.  and that’s why the change from classical consciousness to quantum consciousness is inevitable.  because the old order just fucking dies out.  it won’t change.  classical realists will never give up thinking there’s one god and it happens to be their god, and everybody else is going to hell.  but to quantum realists, they just look calcified and flattened.  and not part of the consensus, which is the reality.

the work i do at night

it’s gone half three in the morning, and i’m down here in the studio wrapped in a fuzzy housecoat, the dogs piled up around my feet, the oil filled radiator pulled in next to my chair because the main heat is off for the night.  i do this alot, especially during the summer months.  because i have gotten two or three hours of sleep and now my mind is spinning.

what did it this time was the image of ex-kurt the kernel programmer, alive and living in the kernel, with the game in his back yard, or in a cupboard, or something incongruous.

ex-kurt is entangled, thru the quantum kernel, with the realworld’s ‘nervous system.’  his neurons flow thru all the connections to the outside world – wires in devices and walls and underground conduits and overhead lines, radio waves in the air and thru building materials and bodies, into and back out of every institution and house and car and computer and store.

ex-kurt is so connected to the realworld that the game is actually a minute part of his life.  he spends much of his endless time ignoring the realworld, but it annoys him because they’re always fighting, and always coming to him for help, and he doesn’t like their taste.  he doesn’t know what else to do with them, other than consume their energy.  otherwise they never stop trying to interact with him.  (where’s this coming from?)  as in life, he just wants everybody to leave him alone, but he has discovered that in a quantum state there’s no end of bother if bother is what you’re going thru, and he wants people to leave him alone more than ever.  he’s going crazy trying to be alone (but being alone makes you crazy because even tho you’re entangled, you’re unconnected).  in fact, he’s been crazy, and running from interaction is the main symptom, and it’s only when he gives up and lets them consume him that he’s going to get any peace.  can he eventually find peace reincarnating as a material human, say as the boy and girl’s kid? that’ll take some foreshadowing.  he’s got to do it on purpose and some time earlier than the climax, and not just reveal it in the end.

while ex-kurt is connected to the world thru the internet, the programmer in him can’t help but notice certain inefficiencies, and he begins to tinker.  and this produces real-world effects, of course.  let’s see, a quantumization of everyday large-scale realworld physics, what would that look like?  murphy’s law producing indeterminacy of electronic signals propagating down the wires (violation of ohm’s law)?  he doesn’t so much improve daily life as make it more energy efficient, not more rational but more quantum.  he’s not out for human results, but overall system performance.  the consequences on humans don’t bother him because he’s your typical sociopath and couldn’t give a fuck.  but what these might be i have no idea at the moment.

in the kernel, ex-kurt is just qubits, and you can only see him as a brightness, or a darkness, depending, fluctuating, or maybe pulsing differently.  when he comes into the game, maybe materializing at the back door of the kernel, which maybe looks like a kernel of wheat in the landscape.

  the kernel

i have a vision of ex-kurt lounging in his back yard, on the patio, materializing in split seconds all around the visitor, unhurriedly but instantaneously attending to whatever problem the visitor has.  he is everywhere at once, his face is every face at once, he is every possibility at once.  in his natural state he’s a cloud of possibility.  i guess he’s hanging out with the girl, who is stuck in the game when the kernel is destroyed (which begs a rather obvious question i might have already answered).

when ex-kurt is out and about in the game, he materializes only as much as he needs, like the cheshire cat.  most of the time he’s realized in the front, especially his hands.  his body is stock avatar, his face is idealized youth and fuzzy, both because he avoids mirrors and also because he’s part everybody, and the back side of him is wireframe because he never thinks about it.  sometimes it’s just his hand.  sometimes it’s just his face.  when he is greatly affected, his idealized young face shows up in the clouds out in the realworld.  when he is forced to appear in public after the boy and girl exit the antarctica level, he decks himself out in flowing robes and white hair and fudges the other details.  when he appears to friends he’s most completely realized, mainly relying on their perception of him.  he looks like his 20-something youthful self, when he was fresh and idealistic.  most of the time when he’s by himself he feels this way again, but when the annoying others creep in he becomes very troll like.

troll

these others are like roaches.  they crawl everywhere, they get stuck in synapses and connections, they smell bad, they breed like roaches.  they leave droppings and little roaches.

i guess i’m going back to bed now.  it’s been an hour and some, and i’m yawning.  one of the dogs has moved off my foot and the other one is a bit stiffly crunched, so i’ll continue these images in my dreams, where i do most of my work at night.

graphics

it’s going to end up being part graphic novel.  jim is in the middle of deciding to illustrate the story.  i have to do all the preliminary drawings, because i can see what it needs to look at, and he’ll do all the real drawings, because he can draw shit right of his head, and i can’t.

what needs illustrating?  a lot of the game concepts, a lot of the quantum concepts, a lot of the idea of being inside a computer game, the landforms of antarctica, maps (because you wouldn’t believe how popular maps, especially pirate maps are.  the majority of the hits on this site are for pirate maps).

a cover painting.  a handdrawn map.  chapter heading illustrations, a series of climax and turningpoint illustrations, and the physics concepts all need illustrations.

it might be interesting to illustrate the gameworld as a graphic novel.  we can cut in and out of graphic novel and prose.  there’s no way a story of this complexity could be an entire graphic novel, because you couldn’t reduce the endless prose to simple captions.

but action and a bit of dialog is easy in graphic form.  so the game could be illustrated.  and at first, when the boy and girl go thru levels 1 and 2 it could just be empty halls and placeholder textures, and then when the alpha and beta testers go thru the same levels it could be more and more developed.  and this way i don’t have to explain so much, i can show it instead, which will make things so much easier.

what would be the point of illustrating the realworld action?  showing the quantum effects (the shit that happens) would be useful. illustrating the crowds at dragoncon would be a trip.  how about showing battles between classical realists and quantum relativists?  i think there’s no point trying to illustrate reality, because the reality i’m writing is a fictional reality, and i want the reader to provide the images for that.  but i think quantum effects should be illustrated (except how would you illustrate a quantum weapon?).  this is going to take some thinking.

but i just ordered several books on creating graphic novels from the local library, and will be posting notes from them as well.  so we’ll see.

so we’ve got a romantic comedy and a revolutionary saga and a fairy tale and an everything-to-all-people videogame, a mystery / spy thriller, a popular physics course, and now a graphic novel.  is there anything else i can throw in here?

the thing is that all these things seem to be appropriate to what i’m doing.  they all ended up in this blog because of my interest in all these different things anyway, and it’s inside my mind that i’m creating a work out of all these ingredients, so it makes sense that it would make sense to do this, in a roundabout way.

the only thing i haven’t really been able to fit in yet is the idea that the corporations are really a bunch of evil vampire space aliens and that we’re their slaves / energy sources.  it seems a little extraneous.  on the other hand, i didn’t think i’d be able to fit the pirate idea in, and it turns out to be made for the boy to wear as his persona.

so we’ll see.

i only know that the bar for science fiction and fantasy illustration is high.  when you have the likes of boris and julie doing work that outshines the work of fine artists, how can we hope to compete?  i’ll find a sample to post.

boris and julie rule the fantasy artworld – i’m a fan

we can’t do this level of illustration, but isn’t it beautiful?  what i need to do is to find a visual style that isn’t too far from the current standard for fantasy illustration, and is more classical than trendy (anime, steampunk), but that is quantum in its essence.  but let me figure out what a quantum costume would be, and what a quantum character would look like.  will pixelation or meshes be a part of the look?  will there be visible circuitry?  will there be a cartoonish look or a fairytale look?  never mind will we use woodcut or etching or pen and pencil or full color or watercolor or egg tempera or encaustic?

so now i’m art director for the game as well as the graphic novel.  whoopee.

so when we go back to dragoncon this year, we’ll be spending a lot of time in the game room, and a lot of time in comic book alley talking to artists, never mind all the time attending panels in the various tracks i’m going to be researching, and taking loads of pictures of the environment for my own art that i hope to exhibit in dragoncon one day.  a lot to do, and well worth the money.

a more complicated map of the antarctica game

it’s a doozy of a map, too, with a base layer of bedrock, then a layer of ice stream flows and continental divides, then a longitudinal grid, then a contour map of the bedrock (contours adjusted according to my whim), then the seven rings in white, and colored in from red to purple with zone 7 being white (only it’s mostly transparent, this level), and then all the cities and villages in pink.

as you can see, there are very few settlements in ring 1, which is where the entry to the level is.  when this level is first experienced, there is practically nobody playing the game except the girl and boy.  the gameworld ages as the game is played, and with every ring the boy and girl grow older as well.  the landscape changes and becomes more temperate, even tropical as they go thru the rings, the civilization becomes more developed. by ring 6 the civilization is beginning to infest adjoining regions.  only in ring 7, that bird shape in the middle, are there no settlements.  there is  nobody in ring 7.  players actually can’t get there from ring 6.  it functions for most of the level as an impenetrable barrier, until the boy and girl find a way in, and then everybody in the game can see it, even on the cloud levels.

the boy and girl: their differences

things they differ over ring by ring.

in general, you die and come back a lot in antarctica. he deliberately lets her die several times (when they’re hanging out in the latter part of ring 1 in an accident, and at the end of ring 2 when he sinks her ship, and she has to go back to ring 1 every time. so she is late in visiting the other rings, and as a result her people are more backwards and unaggressive, while the boy has been building an empire. so by the time she gets to ring 5, suburbia, the area is already overrun with the boy’s agents (quantum tunneling), people are already mindless and queuing up to become enslaved, and in hell they’re at the ends of their ropes.

when they make their way to the gamburtsevs (ring 7), they are in touch with the kernel, who shows it to them. they unlock a door into the impassable mountains that have cut off communication with the various rings (4,5,6), and enter into the wireframe area built by kurt.

ring 1. (they come together and witness each other’s behavior; he defers to her) self. (very sparsely populated) killing food, taking tools, sharing. he already has a tendency to hoard, so she gives hers away and takes half of his, letting him provide for half the settlement, for which he thinks he should be paid. (she dies in an accident (he’s negligent) and goes back to the entrance island, he joins a ship and leaves, she goes looking for him and gets swept way.)

ring 2. (they’ve split up and don’t witness, each develops willfully) other (sparsely populated) risking own safety, taking shortcuts (ethics), cheating (morals). he’s a bloodthirsty pirate and she’s a nun, horrified and intimidated and offended by him. (they meet in a sea battle, and he apologizes because he’s greedy before sinking her ship and she goes back to the entrance island. she laboriously returns to ring 2 and consults others about his behavior, learning the first tactics of dealing with bullies.

ring 3. (they’re split up, they meet again at the end. she dies again because it’s convenient and she’s annoying. she uses her willpower haltingly to fly back, gets advice (from kurt?)) agriculture (moderately populated). corruption, unfair rules, underclass. cooperation between diverse interests for basic survival, innovation and organization.

ring 4. (they’re split up) animals (sparsely populated) cattle and territory raids, endless plains wars, dongivafuck gang rule. managing ecosystems, equitable distribution, microloans, buying clubs. first appearance of organized religion teaches quantum is heresy. (quantum goes underground)

ring 5. (they’re split up. she dies because his minions kill her. she zips right back.) minerals (moderately populated with dense pockets) many mighty enemies and endless riches with massive loss of life and misery, fanatical crusaders. countering suburban apathy and brainwashing, teaching, swap freecycle. religion teaches quantum is for elite. (quantum for everyone)

ring 6. (they meet and argue. she dies because he kills her. she teleports back instantly.) industrial and corporate systems (densely populated with crowded areas) ruthless plutocracy ruling with hypocrisy, force and shitty attitude. active resistance, building replacement services, occupy. religion teaches quantum is for everybody thru priests. (quantum is self evident)

ring 7. (they fight. they both die and exit the level.) all. (unpopulated) bared emotions and motivations, manipulations and betrayals, judgments and projections. seeing thru division to the underlying unity. religion teaches god’s will / miracle. (quantum is everybody or nobody)

ex kurt

where is ex kurt?  does he live in heaven (level !)?  in the gamburtsevs (ring 7)?  in the kernel?

he does reside in the kernel, but only as qubits.  his manifestation can be anywhere, as a regular kurt-avatar player character, except he’s a npc, except he’s not.

he’s the spokesman for the kernel, without being the kernel itself.  and the kernel is as much him as itself because not only did he write it and generate the overall entanglement of it but he also copied himself inside it and they squared themselves.  because of all the other players he’s also a bit of them as well, and so his demeanor and attitude has softened, and he’s almost talkative.  but just as inscrutable.

his job as kernel is to create and control the ‘physicality’ and operations of the game, so he’s connected thru all the networks to basically everything electronic in the world.  he could actually reach out and change things in the real world, and it actually does change according to his emotions.  he’s not really interested in the outside world, and sees it as conduits thru which he has to work in order to keep the game running.

the world is a series of veins and nerves, bones and muscles, not an overall person, so he’s stuck at the micro level of the game, seeing the world thru the eyes of the game as a living entity (a helpless baby).

over the course of the game, kurt/kernel grow up and begin to take an interest in the outside world.  this is why shit happens.  it’s kurt reaching out, kurt emoting, kurt in pain.  toward the end, he doesn’t look like kurt anymore, he looks like all the players, and when you stop to look at him, he looks like all the people a player knows.

finally kurt develops a view of the game as a person, a macro view of the game, seeing the game thru the eyes of the world as a self-actualized being.

when does he show himself and to whom?  he probably has to reveal himself at the end, to come in glory on a cloud with his beard streaming out and say in a booming voice…what, the game is over, go in peace to love and spread the game.

do the players all stand around gaping after the boy and girl go out with a bang?  does he have to revitalize them because they’ve all fallen into a stupor, their characters have all zonked out and they’ve stopped playing the game?  and he’s got to step in and play big daddy to scare them into playing again?  starting up the whole coercive power thing again?  fuck that.

why does he ever have to show himself?  the pressure is on him not to be a god.  he lets the boy and girl become the deities and only reveals himself to people he already knows.  but others see him, and the rumor is pervasive, and when shit happens it looks like him.  so there’s pressure at the end to show himself.  and he has to face that and overcome it or the whole thing will fail.  and i guess he has to answer the mystery of how he died, and i guess that means i have to leave clues thruout the story, like in all the dragoncons.

the boy and girl

the boy and girl are the same person.

therefore they are schizophrenic.

they are also yin and yang.

and tho it doesn’t have to be complete stereotype – he doesn’t have to be yang down the line, she can have yang too – it’s got to be fairly simple, because this is a fairy tale.

even tho it’s also a romantic comedy, and a video game, and political nonfiction, and physics for the challenged.

this work is by its very nature a reduction.  and reductionist is classical, not quantum.  after quantum enlightenment, you can hold contradictory views in your mind.  reductionist is bland and cardboard-tasting.  but when you’re writing a novel, even tho you can enrich it with link-vitamins, it’s still not anything like the complexity of the study it took to write it.

when i’m being reductionist about a duality, i usually settle on this flavor:

love versus fear
liberal versus conservative
tolerant versus punishing
power with versus power over
bottom-up self government versus control in the hands of the few
indulgent mother goddess versus strict daddy god
codependent insecure people-pleaser versus sociopathic egotistical abuser

as it happens, the current dominant culture seems to be on this same track.  the political parties are all pwned by the evil alien vampire corporations, so the fight is between the corporate ownership of everything versus the right of human beings not to be enslaved.  the 1% versus the 99%.

when i get personal about it, i have to confess that i’ve given up believing in the punishing daddy god and the duty of us as xians to follow corrupt human practices masquerading as untouchably divine.  i’m far more comfortable with the idea of a female god, a female religion, the old ways of matriarchy.  this is not to say i believe rule by women is all sweetness and light.  i’m a horrible bitch when you cross me, and my female god is too.  just not an avenging god.  not a god to be feared.  i don’t buy that.  i didn’t buy that when my parents justified their own authority with the same argument, and i don’t buy a bunch of male priests and pastors standing up there handing out the same logic.

and as far as being really personal about it, i’ve been the codependent insecure pleaser trying to make a sociopathic abuser happy, and i don’t terribly enjoy revisiting it in order to write about it.  but it’s a great dynamic, all too familiar to most of us, in its fairy tale reduction (see list above), and easy to lampoon (seeing as i made light of it the whole time i was in it, which helped me get thru it, but also extended my stay).

***

as for the boy and girl.  i have to take them thru all the levels of the game, which adjusts itself to them because of quantum entanglement.  we don’t see them testing levels 1 and 2, we see others doing that.  we see them in antarctica, and after that they’re not playing – or they’re playing another game and their interactions are different.

she starts as in insecure codependent enabler.  she ends up as a force of nature.

he starts as an easy-going popular loser with talent.  he ends up an overblown sociopathic bully.

likewise there’s got to be a realworld example of the same progression, from a consumerist world where there’s plenty of latitude to a totalitarian dictatorship.  and from a bunch of lazy consumers to a committed bunch of revolutionaries.  even the levels of public outcry and government response go from ignore to fight.

and of course, there have to be 7 levels of each.  so now i have to write the outline of this piece about love versus fear as expressed in the characters.  and when i’m finished with this particular process, i will entangle it with the plot as it stands, change a bunch of things because of its inclusion, and braid another one.  when it’s all over, i’ll have a nice piece of complicated fabric that i will then drape, cut and sew into a story.

and because i’m bad on the details, it’ll have missed stitches, and places where you can tell things were ripped out, and if you wash it too many times it’ll fall right apart.  but oh well.  that’s what second drafts are for.  unless i become interested in something else, which is what usually happens, because while this is going on, i’ve got all sorts of projects piling up in the corners.

author’s note

i’ve just finished posting my notes on level design, which everything i know about it i’ve gotten from books and websites.  in other words, i know nothing.

so i’ve got lots of questions.

it seems that video games have lots of obstacles, skills, and enemies.  the obstacles and enemies part bothers me.

most of the game is based around learning quantum skills.  and these skills are needed to get thru the game, and they’re cumulative.

but enemies?  obstacles?  the book explained that enemies are obstacles that you fight, and puzzles are obstacles that you solve, and props are obstacles you go around or use, depending.

i guess the enemies are your habits of mind, the things that keep you from fully living in a quantum world.  as such, these enemies are endless.  and how do you fight them in a video game?

in typical games, you collect things, including skills, and fight enemies.  but i’m not fond of the fighting idea.  some sort of contest.  so, you collect things, including skills, and have contests with others that affect your score.  i can deal with it on those terms.

the book says most games like to keep you busy, and ten seconds won’t go by without having the player do or experience something different.  and levels are about 20 minutes long.  they make an exception for mmo games, because i guess of the multiplayer interactions which must take up some of the slack between missions and battles.  and in the reading of the playing of the game, it’ll be easy enough to eclipse the long boring bits when players are traversing the mighty spaces that fill antarctica.

as far as i can figure, the level design book talks about levels in a different way than i do, so maybe i’ve got it wrong.  my levels are massive compared to theirs, mainly because you can go anywhere in one big huge giant level, and your ring is a layer in that level.  so i’m probably being an order of magnitude off.

with that in mind, let me mess with the level diagram one more time.  this time i’m going to break it further down, and start to describe some of the features of each level.

players can interact at will with other players on every level.  there are no social rules.  the only penalties are karmic consequences.  there are a lot of opportunities to practice quantum skills.  every object requires quantum skills, and they seem repetitive (flying and swimming and navigation are all related) but they all activate the movement chakra.  and the practice, under various pretenses, is the point.  the descriptions of what players can do on each level is a sample based on the two protagonists.  there are unlimited options for player choice and game experience, and these options can be taken up at any point on any level, depending on the player’s score.

the tutorial level is level 1.  after picking and customizing their avatar, players learn the functions of their walkers (gameglove) and viewers (hud, mic and speakers for game i/o).  these include walking and other locomotion (feet), grasping and other manipulation (hands), whole body movement, verbal communication.  functions like eating, sleeping, peeing/pooping, and sex are either advanced training or can be figured out on their own.  finally,  players are taught the skill of flying, given a pirate map, and set out with others to find the Island Of Whatever.

players land on a carnival midway, level 2.  it’s a complex level, with 7 main zones, zone 5 being an entrance hub.  the decor is sideshow glitz.  at the hub the level’s lessons are summarized, and players can buy and trade consumer goods.  the other zones teach control of gravity, speed, momentum, angular forces, newtonian physics.  things to pick up?  prizes, stuff, skills, winning games.  after a certain score is reached, players are shown the exit thru a portal

into carneytown, level 3.  it’s a larger level, more freeform, with 7 zones (yet to be designated).  the decor is campground shabby.  the first zone is linear, a choke point with a dead end, maybe a maze, maybe platforming.  after zone 1 there are no obvious demarcations between zones and players are free to wander.  each zone’s lessons augment those taught on level 2.  level 2 is accessible to players on this level, and they return to take advantage of level 2 players for fun and profit.  things to pick up?  loot, stuff, skills, queering the games on level 2, contests with players on both levels.  at a certain score, level 7 is revealed as a wormhole exiting level 3.  gravity changes continuously inside the wormhole.  players struggle to use their flying skills, as well as their physics skills, in successfully navigating the wormhole.  all stuff and loot and riches must be left behind on this level, pile up around the wormhole, and earn a penalty score for the player.

level 4, the horizontal level.  this is an amorphous level, full of fog and clouds.  players use their flying skills to move around.  glimpses thru the clouds reveal many worlds (zones) below.  players learn how to manipulate the fog to create simple shapes, further developing their quantum skills.  they use their concentration and visualization skills in groups to transport themselves to the many worlds, practicing their new skills differently on each world but unable to bring anything back with them to the clouds.  when a certain score is reached, players become stranded in antarctica.  there are no things to pick up, only skills.

level 5.  antarctica, looking just like the layout of the midway and carneytown, but as large as a continent.  the system map shows antarctica overlaid by 7 zones in rainbow colors.  the thumbnail resembles the figure of a human.

ring 1.  zones 1 and 2.  the outer islands.  two main islands, barren, one settlement on each.  players enter the level in a leaky boat, and use their accumulated skills to keep the boat from sinking.  they are overwhelmed, and rescued by a seal who brings them ashore on an island where they recuperate among other inhabitants.  players forage for food and learn cooperation with the land, the weather, the plants, and the animals.  thing to pick up, tools from the boat, handmade implements, clothing, seeds, dried food.  at a certain score, a warship comes by and recruits players to fight alien invaders.  players use their skills to help navigate the ship.  if players decline this invitation, a storm blows up that casts their little boat adrift and they practice their skills avoiding hazards and navigating to shore.

ring 2.  zones 3 and 4.  the fjordsshooter/strategy.  a number of hermits, small livestock camps, and fishing outposts hidden away in the thickly treed coastal mountains.  players who joined the ship travel to transantarctica, a mountainous area where players chase and battle aliens.  alternatively, players learn to navigate a sailing ship using quantum skills, practice skills with the weather and the seas, and battle other ships for loot and stuff.  things to pick up include loot, tools from the ship, dropped weapons and other items from dead aliens.  players who were cast adrift by a storm land on peninsula, heavily forested fjords ranging to lower and richer land with larger settlements, where schools are devoted to in depth study of quantum skills and ethics, also practicing weather and climate skills.  rather than battling aliens, they study their culture for valuable lessons.  at a sufficient score, players depart on a mission to the other side of antarctica.  they go alone, and use their quantum skills to journey, tested as usual by the elements and other obstacles.

ring 3.  zones 5 and 6.  the great riftcivilization management.  peaceful and prosperous fishermen and farmers, organized villages with loose governance, rich lowlands and rolling hills.  players from transantarctica become pirates of the western coasts.  players from peninsula become envoys (missionaries) to the humpback islands.  pirates loot and pillage, and eventually settle and become established traders and governors.  envoys increase organization of scattered villages, eventually settle and become established healers and teachers.  the lesson is about waste, husbandry and management.  how to exit? 

ring 4.  zones 7 and 8. the dry landsecology management.  to the west the land is former shallow sea, now salt desert and steppe where vast herds of wildlife run unimpeded.  to the east the land is low and swampy, where vast flocks of wildlife cloud the sky.  players interact with the delicate balance between resources and demands.  pirates try to collect all the resources and win at the expense of extinctions.  envoys try to juggle conflicting requirements and keep all the species alive.  how to exit?

ring 5.  zones 9 and 10.  the hinterlandslive strategy.  pirates journey to the north, where lies a vast mountainous area inhabited by family tribes in fortressed strongholds.  their lives are hard, and filled with endless fighting between fiefdoms.  pirates aim to become powerful leaders, and unite the tribes for an assault on the rich pickings in hell.  envoys go east to the breadbasket and suburbs of hell, whose farmers are taxed and robbed by the marauders from hell, and whose commuters spend each day slaving away in hell.  envoys work to persuade and organize the downtrodden farmers and simple middleclass droids.

ring 6.  zone 11.  hellshooter?  between zones 9 and 10 is an enormous bay, surrounded by most of the resources of the continent, and a surfeit of inhabitants who’ve come to find their fortunes, or fail in slavery.  it’s an urban landscape with all varieties of situations, stuff, and challenges.  the boy comes to hell as a wall street corporate raider and financial powerhouse who singlehandedly corners the market itself.  his supporters run around and oppress people, being employers and bosses and entrepreneurs, thieves and predators, and winning is a matter of how much stuff a player has.  the girl comes to hell as a left-wing radical, preaching bottom-up powersharing and teaching resistance techniques to the hopeless droids and emphasizing connectedness and good karma as the way to win.  the two groups form political parties and vie for control of limited resources.  because the aliens are sucking the cream off the top, there is definitely not enough for everyone, and the pressure is on both sides to get theirs now.  the challenge is to join forces to fight the aliens, but it isn’t the most likely outcome, since most players are itching for some shooting.  as things get worse, and parts of the city burn, and the army is mowing down citizens, and the outcry can be heard all the way from the outer islands, the boy and girl decide that they cannot allow things to go on this way, and arrange a meeting far from the center of the fighting.

ring 7.  zone 12.  the gamburtsevsboss level.  kurt did not make a level exit, he only slapped something together modeled on log-scale(?) radar image of the mountains..  snake continued with level !, and the boy and girl skipped design and art on this ring.  it is totally wireframe with no textures and no sounds.  all the players can see this level once the boy and girl enter it, and they all stop gameplay to observe it.  the ring becomes visible in the real world at the height of their confrontation.

level !.  heaven.  another amorphous level, a copy of level 4.  players have much better skills now, and heaven quickly fills up with fanciful areas made of morphed clouds.  players practice making and changing, and learn the principles of building and running their own worlds.

level !n.  earth.  a world on the horizontal level, a parallel earth where quantum culture is the establishment and classical reality is considered quaint and misguided.  each player creates their own parallel earth according to their own choices, their karma points, and their abilities, and functions as the god of that world.  players remain in their parallel earths as long as they want, have complete power, and can create, alter, or destroy other worlds at will.

the reason the girl keeps working to organize them is because they’re all playing the game like it was some regular video game instead of the quantum teaching tool it should be.  so she spends all her time trying to educate the players and change the gameplay.  but everybody is more comfortable in a classical setting, so she faces opposition within the game from every side.

this ends up with two tracks, the boy’s track and the girl’s track.  because of quantum kernel, the entire game bends to support the choices they make.  so you end up with pirates versus robin hood.  gordon gekko versus the blessed theresa.  and players follow suit, choosing one side or the other.  whole ranks of character types are created by player choices, supporting one or the other or steering completely away or in another direction from either.

i’m going to have to write about the actual quantum skills to teach. they have to be unique for every level and every ring, and have to build on each other. so this will mean meditations, physical exercises, mental exercises, as well as special powers to develop.

map of the game rings

when the boy and girl have their vision, they are flying toward the first star on the left.  they see a ball of light in the distance, maybe a planet.  it reminds them of a cue ball.  as they get closer, they can see it is a ball covered in clouds.  as they get closer still, the clouds break apart and they can see rainbow colors in bands over the planet.  it kind of looks like a figure, with a head and one eye or maybe a mouth, and two arms raised, and two legs down, inside a circle.  as they get very close, they see fractal-like landmasses in a ringed sea, and finally they can see buildings and activity on the landmasses.

revised outline

i have had the whole last part fall into place in the last couple of days, and it has affected my chapter outline a whole bunch.  i basically had to take notes of what i’d written, which came to me suddenly, and write out a new timeline, then break it into chapters.  i will continue to revise the outline as i begin to see what has to happen.

doing this is like a vision, with the scenes all there in a flash, and if i look closer, dialog and gestures.  it’s like a holograph, it’s like google earth, it’s like fractals, the detail just keeps getting more complex, no matter if you go large or small, backwards or forwards in time.  the simplest time is the here and now, because it’s only a conjunction of waves, whereas the past and future are changing all the time according to countless variations in reality.

*

act 1

dragoncon year 1, cre8y the game

chapter 1, the fairy tale

chapter 2, brainstorming the game

chapter 3, quantum programming

chapter 4, designing the game

chapter 5, quantum kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game, boy and girl begin testing (lessons)

chapter 7, alpha testing begins (playing themepark levels 1 and 2), shit happens, they notice

*

dragoncon year 2, testing the game

chapter 8, the kernel programmer dies creating antarctica

chapter 9, replacement programmer, finishing the game, clouds level 3

chapter 10, beta testing begins, they infiltrate

chapter 11, the horizontal level 4

chapter 12, more shit happens, they start to get scared

chapter 13, sabotage apparent, game goes live

chapter 14, the kernel programmer is in the game

*

act 2

dragoncon year 3, playing the game

chapter 15, dragoncon

chapter 16, playing antarcticaring 1

chapter 17, shit happens

chapter 18, game goes viral

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2

chapter 20, outcry, they approach boy and girl

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3

*

dragoncon year 4, shit hits the fan

chapter 22, game banned, protests

chapter 23, playing antarctica ring 4

chapter 24, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret, boy joins them

chapter 25, playing antarctica ring 5

*

act 3

dragoncon year 5, fighting the good fight

chapter 26, fighting, playing in open defiance

chapter 27, playing antarctica ring 6

chapter 28, brutal repression

chapter 29, playing antarctica ring 7

the boy and girl meet in the gamburtsevs for a showdown, reconcile, and implode out of the game, leaving a black hole. the game becomes sharper, the planet brightens, the sun is affected.

*

dragoncon year 6, hell to pay

chapter 30,fema camps

the boy is forced to cooperate with them in their evil plot to take the kernel. the girl is captured and forced to play the game with kurt in a dangerous gamble to create a back door.

chapter 31, kernel destroyed

the kernel is destroyed. the game is broken. the girl is trapped in the game. the planet shudders; for a moment the material world defocuses and resembles the cloud world, level 3. even the sun is affected.

chapter 32, defocus

the world is defocused for a timeless moment, in which a lot of things happen. the girl enters level ! this timeless moment is where level ! is played out.

(the boy rescues the girl and takes her to safety. the girl lingers close to death. quantum things happen in earnest in the real world. people panic.)

chapter 33, playing heaven level !

players begin to play the game in their dreams. the black hole of ring 7 becomes a pilgrimage site and the link to level ! the girl welcomes players as they cross over from antarctica, and teaches them the final set of skills.

(the boy is consumed with guilt, turns to fight them. he cannot win, but they have suffered from the kernel and are disorganized. he assembles a band of crack fighters who can only hope to harass them.)

chapter 34, despair and utter loss

the boy fights valiantly with millions of others, but they are beaten and suffering, and can do nothing as they move in for the kill.

*

dragoncon year 7, then a miracle happens

chapter 35, playing god level !n

the players enter level !n and create the worlds they want to live in. they all feature a quantum reality, they’re all entangled, they all contain the game.

chapter 36, a miracle happens

a miracle happens, critical mass is reached, large scale quantum change occurs as reality shifts into a parallel universe.

chapter 37, epilogue

when the dust clears, they are seen to be weak and in error, and melt away for a time as a new quantum disorder manifests all around. the boy wakens the girl with a kiss, they live happily ever after, and their kids grow up to be mighty quantum superheros in a new magical age of fairy tale pirates. the end.

author’s note

while transcribing copious notes from the yoga of time travel (thanks fred wolfe, i’d like to talk to you if you’ve got a minute, please email me), i was also thinking about my story.  about how we’re all the mind of god and any separation into individual beings is only an illusion, a bit that’s embodied only so god can get outside and have a little fun

god is normally adrift in a spaceless and timeless nonspacetime where everything is possible but nothing ever happens.  then consciousness (god) acts, possibility-waves interact, and suddenly it’s all laid out in front of you (god), the past present and future, and in going along, you develop self consciousness and the ego.  you develop a history and strive for the future and become fully attached to the things you surround your material existence with.  and until you drop the ego, you don’t remember that you are god squeezed into a tiny speck of the illusion of matter.

this is what i really believe.  it all started when i was about eight, and realized that einstein’s theory meant that everything is relative, and that meant it’s not true that there is one right answer to anything.  and then after i was told dogs and cats don’t have souls, i just chucked the whole organized religion thing as a scam, and felt free to believe in reincarnation and magic.  which according to quantum physics is no problem at all and in fact preferable to thinking there’s a daddy god who will punish us if we don’t do it his way.

because we are gods.  in training, and badly trained at that.  but if we are all one, and we are all part of god, then we are all god.  and individually, we all strive to become as close to god as we can, thru whatever means we take,  including the ass-backward ones of failing to learn by your mistakes.  just that being human means having one hell of an ego, and that makes you persist in thinking that you’re apart from god, and that causes fear, and fear leads to error.

***

a note about the characters and the game and the plot.

they are both operating on ego.  they both create a game experience that sucks for them and fucks over their followers.  they both are guilty of leading their minions gleefully into perdition.

they both have to act selflessly toward each other for the magic to work properly, and they’ve both been resisting all along.  when they realize this, everything transforms.  first, it transforms them.  later about that.

this transformation has effects on every level of the game.  it filters out all sorts of patterns (player’s actions and movements have been leaving trails in the game, squared possibility waves which generate probability-curves.  huh?), and generates a clearer, sharper, more real game world.  skills are easier to learn, and seem more obvious, players experiment more and develop more concrete skills they then use outside the game in the real world.

the transformation also affects the real world.  a wave even hits the sun.

and the kernel, when it goes off it affects the game and the real world, and all the players.

do the two occur at once?

after they face each other at the gamburtsevs, they leave a big mark in the landscape.  this becomes a pilgrimage site as their followers cope with their illusions.  it’s also the exit to antarctica, but it didn’t exist until the boy and girl created it.  kurt hadn’t created and linked in level ! before he died.  levels ! and !n were thrown together by snake the replacement programmer from copies of level 3.

does that mean their transformation come before the kernel is destroyed?  once the boy ha’s woken up, he’ll no longer help them complete their dastardly plans.  maybe he’ll have no choice; maybe he’ll have to witness the evil that ego can do.

ah.  i know.  they‘ll be forcing her to contact kurt the now-dead programmer, inside the game, and persuade him to travel back in time and make a backdoor into the kernel, to make one tiny change, whatever.  and because they try to interfere, it sets off the kernel.  so she’s stuck in the game when the kernel blows up.

in the chaos, he’ll escape with her drugged body.  because they‘ll be incapacitated and he won’t???  that’s too simple.

but it means i can transform the boy and girl, and then destroy the kernel.

and then nobody’s playing the game because there are no working copies of the game, because the entangled kernel has blown up in each and every instance of the game.  and the girl’s comatose.  and they’re just about to move to sweep up the whole lot of quantum game players (once they get organized, which the destruction of the kernel has fucked up their operations too).

that’s right, the whole of real reality is now screwed up because the kernel blew up.  and all sorts of quantum things that had been happening – what – stopped? increased?

this is a one-two punch.  first the entire material universe is affected when the boy and girl are transformed.  and then when the kernel blows up, the entire material universe is again affected.  and then when critical mass is reached, the whole thing is affected again.  that’s three times.  i like that.

maybe when the boy and girl are transformed, the real world is made a little brighter and more hopeful, and people forget their differences for a moment.  and when the kernel blows up, there’s a moment when everything turns into the cloud world, or the xian conception of heaven.  but this is a timeless moment, and a lot of it can be held  here.  this is where level ! is.

so.  when the boy and girl are transformed, they leave antarctica.  and when the kernel blows up, they enter level !.  so this bit i’m describing is just one big cut scene.  hahaha.  the real world as a cut scene.

the girl is already on level !.  she meets everybody as they come over, as critical mass is reached.  i guess this happens in their dreams, when they naturally play the game and their fingers twitch and they talk in their sleep.

the boy is too ego-wracked with guilt to enter the game state.  he coordinates the fight against them, while she teaches players how to create the world they want to live in.  slowly the cloud level ! starts to look like antarctica.

while it looks darkest to the boy, as he gives his last strength and fails, and they go for the kill, players are creating their own parallel worlds on level !n, and they’re all linked to each other, and they all contain the game and quantum reality.

and this is when a miracle happens.

***

it’s really cool when the details of the plot appear to me just as i’m getting there.  it’s – i go along for weeks, with the same vague plot, everything just a few limited buzzwords, things like a miracle happening.

and then, after a lot of nonwork when i don’t think about it,  i sit here on the edge of it and just breathe, and wait until something hooks in.  and then i breathe it out, and it comes flowing into my mind in an image or a scene, something with every detail and yet it’s all in only a fleeting insight.  and then it goes flowing thru my fingers, and you read it here.  it’s really a kind of yoga.  and it’s the exact feeling i’m looking to generate in the reader, the timelessness and creative flow that is the hallmark of quantum consciousness.

in the book i just took notes from, the guy mentions how artists often have this flow of timeless time.  and i’m able to testify to it.  i’ve had moments, working on a painting, when i’ll put down my brush and walk to the sink for a drink of water, and when i’ve come back to the easel 25 minutes have passed just walking back and forth to the sink.  whitley striber calls it missing time, and blames it on the aliens.  i pin it squarely on fairies.

author’s note

i’m trying to figure out my main characters, and imagine some secondary ones.  i watched your highness last night, and really liked the younger brother’s attitude, and all the movie references.  i don’t know if it’s a lot harder to do in print than visually, but i really got enthusiastic about all the gags.

the boy wants to put pirates into the game in a bad way.  the girl leans toward fairies and fantasy.  kurt the kernel programmer doesn’t do gaming but sees himself as wizard of the game anyway.  snake the replacement programmer is your basic first person shooter, the fairy godmother fan is a role player and social type, (sims and farmville, mario).

the boy puts piratesque things into the game levels, like hidden stashes and treasure maps, bolt holes, spy holes, black holes.  he bases his game on pirate principles (which are?) and on levels 3 and 4 he raids and steals, and when he gets to the mountain strongholds on level 4 it becomes institutionalized, with tribute from enderby.  when he comes to hell, level 6, he is a corporate raider, of course.  and his appearance at the gamburtsevs, for the showdown with the girl, he’s got on showy pirate gear.

 

but now his pirate ways, instead of being charming and roguish, are brutal and rapacious, causing misery everywhere he goes and leaving the population spitting at the mention of his name.  this is the bad side of piracy, where society finally gets organized to discourage pirates from attacking.  they never go away entirely because it’s such a part of human nature to want to take it all, but it can be minimized, and that’s what organized society is all about.  so it’s his atrocities that drive people to the girl’s side.

when they learned about the quantum world, they understood different things.  she understood that we are all one and that the important thing was to nurture and grow more connected.  but he went for the glitz, the magic of quantum physics, the power of controlling it.  he was enthusiastic when he came to cooperating with them, when they finally approached him.  he’d been thinking for some time about the uses of quantum physics, and had a lot of influence on the direction of their weapons lab.

when people begin to study magic, they’re usually looking to learn the secret powers.  but the whole point of studying these things is to learn mastery of your own self.  the secret powers are side effects, and not worth the bother.  that’s what they say.  the secret powers are really a trap.  and the boy will become trapped by it.

the girl, on the other hand, is trying to use quantum powers to help.  and this is actually the same trap as the boy falls into.  it’s actually an ego builder, and walls her off from the quantum source as much as the boy is walled off.  so they both have shedding to do, transformation.  she doesn’t just start out good and get holier.  her desire to help is from pain and fear, from whatever it was way in her past that taught her to fear.  and so it can’t turn out right.  she has to do the work on herself, not just the world.  so in the end her following is mawkish and self righteous and dogmatic, just like the boy’s following.  they are both sick of the whole edifice they’ve built and the trap it’s become.

and in this spirit they meet each other in the gamburtsevs, for that final showdown that will end the antarctic part of the game and let them go on to level !.

thinking about the characters

speaking with jim about my idea of character development in a fairy tale,  he agreed that the characters were one-dimensional, but once you get into saga myths – lord of the rings, or the story of joseph or any of the bible stories with one character after another, one generation after another doing their thing.  that’s the kind of story i’m trying to write, something very complex, where everybody changes.

i guess i’m just complaining.

the characters

thinking aloud here.

i have done practically no work at all on the characters in this story.  it’s almost as if the events were driving this story.  i have a boy and a girl.  i might use these as their names but for the recent publication of a novel with the characters guy and girl in it.  i’ve used thing 1 and thing 2 before as character names, but that’s just not right here.

a boy,

a girl,

kurt, the kernel programmer, named not only for the name itself but after an acquaintance (who gave me his old laptop) named kurt who was working on a quantum computer way back in 1998.

snake, the replacement programmer, named for his dominant character trait.

a female fan

a male fan?

them

this isn’t much.  the only thing i know for real is that the boy and girl are one.  that’s the message of the whole story, of course, and in the vision they have they end up being a single person.  and of course, i as the author am splitting myself into pieces in order to write these characters, so i’m really both the boy and the girl, and they are one person inside of me, the author (god).  but how does that help?

if the boy and girl are both me, then all i have to do is split myself into two characters.  and that’s completely reasonable, because there are a whole slew of people inside my personality.  but to be effective, i’m going to have to take the part of me that is most conflicted, and split that into two pieces.

so, one half of me is boisterous, outgoing, overly confident, take charge kind of person, a real evangelist for any cause i believe in.  the other half is timid, insecure, doesn’t want any notice.  so that’s not going to do, because neither half is well rounded enough to carry the part.

let’s work backwards.  what kind of people are they when they get to the seventh level of antarctica and stand against each other?  they’ve both grown to be powerful leaders, they both believe in the rightness of their position, they both think they’re the true upholders of their missions and the other is a sellout.

the boy is willful, tho.  he has done things his way the whole time, playing fast and loose with the rules, doing whatever is necessary to win.  he’s ruthless in his quest for power, but is kind and generous to those who support him without question.  he’s got a sneaky look in his eyes, he sizes people and situations up according to their weaknesses, and interacts with them according to their usefulness.  he’s pretty sociopathic, actually.  he’d love to be more sociable with others, he’d love to be lazy and hang around with his friends, but he is driven to be right, and his way of arguing is to bring out the big guns at the first sign of disagreement.

i’m actually modeling this character on a blend of men i have known; real assholes.  the worst of the men i’ve known.

they’ve all got good qualities – they’re most of them really smart, and they do a good job of protecting their loved ones (who are nevertheless prisoners).  and they seem really strong and powerful and right.  but underneath they’re scared little boys and are only putting on the strong and powerful thing so people will leave them alone.  and, really, their inner voice puffs them right up with how smart and powerful and wonderful, even how enlightened, how above it all, how perfected he is.  and he so believes it.  because the sycophants he surrounds himself with are only too happy to puff him up.  fluffers, really, the support system that enables him to go out in front of the cameras and give them the money shot.  in public they are careful to project a pride of association, and so his women have to be gorgeous, submissive, and gracious to all, while being obviously smitten with him.  in private he puts her down and abuses her emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, makes her feel stupid, makes her feel like she’d be nothing without him.

and i hate him already.  i don’t want to hate my character.  so i’m not going to do him this way.  besides, i got over hating this character when i wrote him as rick the prick in my last novel.

so let’s pick a working couple i know and try that on.  he’s outgoing, she’s retiring.  oh this is tiring already.

should i just pick two tarot cards and use them as templates?  should i cast a horoscope for them?

they start out as a couple, friends and lovers, and work together on the game, and learn quantum consciousness together, and are in fact entangled in a quantum way, so that they really are one, and can tell what the other is going thru even when they’re not together.  so neither wants to hurt the other except inasmuch as they hate themself.

he’s the one who insists on having pirates in the game, so he’s impulsive and headstrong.  and he’s the one that listens to them when they want to take the quantum kernel away, so he can be manipulated and led away from his goal.  he actively works against the principles of the game in the end, and choses the side of power all the way thru the game, even tho he knows that it’s the wrong choice given their quantum experience and the lessons they’ve been taught.

whereas she’s pretty boring about her duty.  she’s steadfast about spreading the game and achieving critical mass, and she doesn’t get swayed by the temptations of them.  she concentrates on creating power among, on building cooperation and a new society, on being a peacemaker.  so perhaps she’s a little sanctimonious.  and a bitch.  and she’s got a wicked sharp tongue and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks before she even knows she’s thinking it.  so she’s tactless.  and she’s pretty sure she’s right about her analysis, so she goes off half-cocked, tries to do everything herself, and irritates a lot of people who don’t see things the way she does, because to her this just means they’re slow, and she doesn’t have time to play catch up.  but she’s also unfailingly kind and generous, and does her best to compensate for her brusqueness by bending over backwards to empower others.  she sets things in motion and then backs off and lets others lead, preferring to work behind the scenes.  maybe like jacob she is afraid that he is going to hurt her, and tries to hide from him (esau), trying not to draw attention to herself.  which doesn’t work very well because they’re entangled.

as for the other characters, i have kurt the kernel programmer, and snake the replacement programmer.  kurt is so smart it’s painful, and so he doesn’t talk to people very much, and mutters and uses jargon when he does.  he’s not very sociable, not very neat, not very graceful, and he’s got issues with the amount of pharmaceuticals that he consumes regularly, some of which interact.  on the other hand, snake is meticulous, fashionable, polite, outgoing, talks a great game, and is upfront about what he wants out of life.  he’s also smart, but nothing like kurt (nobody is as smart as kurt, anywhere).  his smart is more wiley, outsmart, smartass, a knowitall smartypants.  just for the record, kurt is more like my ex, and snake is more like a cross between a neighbor and a friend who visits now and again.

then there’re the fans.  there are a bunch of them, but the one i’ve already thought of is the girl, who turns out to be some sort of offsetting character to snake.  where he’s sabotaging everything, she’s going around turning npcs into fairy godmothers.  both are comic foils for the boy and girl.  but i don’t really have a clue as to any others.

there’s the shadowy them, but they can remain shadowy.  the public figures can all be caricatures of public figures, mouthpieces.

in fairy tales, only the protagonist undergoes character development.  all the other characters are stock, and are only there to further the plot.  likewise here, but i need to flesh them out a good deal more because of all the work they’re going to have to do.  because the secondary characters are going to become very important when they’re all playing the game, and when the real world catches up to them.

obviously i’m not finished thinking the plot thru.  when i’m done i’ll have a good paragraph for every chapter, saying all the various things that will happen in that chapter.  when i get it this large, i’ll be saying things like how the boy feels, the little things that the supporting characters are doing, little gestures the girl makes; things that have to be included for the story to develop the way it needs to.  because if the boy is going to turn out to be an asshole serial abuser, then he’s got to become that from the fresh-faced dragoncon geek he starts as.  and this needs to be paced, placed, traced thru the story.

gee, what a job.  i sure hope i’m up to it.  of course, all i have to do is persevere, because then a miracle will happen.

author’s note: the game

the quantum videogame

***

when the boy and girl test the first two levels.  it’s a technical chapter, discussing the bits and pieces of the levels rather than the aesthetics.

when the alpha testers test the first two levels, we see the lessons being illustrated.

the boy and girl are testing level 3, the clouds, when the kernel programmer dies.

when the beta testers test the first two levels, we see the social interactions.

when the boy and girl test the horizontal level, they’re creating it.

they go live.  when the first players play the first two levels, we see the experience.

the kernel programmer is in the game, which now builds itself.

the boy and girl play antarctica (ring 1), so do all the testers and the live players, all at once.  quantum baby steps.

game goes viral; outcry

ring 2 antarctica.  learning quantum skills

boy and girl approached

ring 3 antarctica.  learning cooperation

game banned

ring 4 antarctica.  committing yourself

open defiance

ring 5 antarctica.  struggle for the paradigm

brutal suppression

ring 6 antarctica.  overwhelming odds

kernel destroyed, girl captured

level !.  having to be god

despair and loss

level !n.  learning to be god

ring 7 antarctica.  final battle

a miracle happens

author’s note: revised plotline

so i did up another one today.  i took all the stuff i’d written and forced it to fit in the chapter structure, and then moved it around a bit.  there’s still a chunk that needs figuring out, but it’ll get there.

act 1

dragoncon year 1, cre8y the game

chapter 1, the fairy tale

chapter 2, brainstorming the game

chapter 3, quantum programming

chapter 4, designing the game

chapter 5, quantum kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game, boy and girl begin testing (lessons)

chapter 7, alpha testing begins (playing themepark levels 1 and 2), they notice

 

dragoncon year 2, testing the game

chapter 8, the kernel programmer dies

chapter 9, replacement programmer, finishing the game, clouds level 3

chapter 10, beta testing begins, they infiltrate

chapter 11, the horizontal level 4

chapter 12, more shit happens, they start to get scared

chapter 13, sabotage apparent, game goes live

chapter 14, the kernel programmer is in the game

 

act 2

dragoncon year 3, playing the game

chapter 15, dragoncon

chapter 16, playing antarctica ring 1

chapter 17, oops

chapter 18, game goes viral

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2

chapter 20, outcry, they approach boy and girl

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3

 

dragoncon year 4, the shit hits the fan

chapter 22, game banned, protests

chapter 23, playing antarctica ring 4

chapter 24, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret, boy joins them

 

act 3

dragoncon year 5, fighting the good fight

chapter 25, playing antarctica ring 5

chapter 26, fighting, playing in open defiance

chapter 27, brutal repression

 

dragoncon year 6, hell to pay

chapter 28, kernel destroyed, almost nobody playing antarctica ring 6

chapter 29, girl captured, fema camps

chapter 30, playing heaven level !

chapter 31, despair and utter loss

 

dragoncon year 7, then a miracle happens

chapter 32, playing god level !n

chapter 33, playing antarctica ring 7

chapter 34, a miracle happens, critical mass

chapter 35, epilogue

***

my real issue is the intertwining of levels ! and !n with the action on the outside world and while still playing levels 6 and 7 in antarctica.  i’d love to know what somebody else thought about it.

today i contacted the publisher of the author of delver magic, a web-published book of great reputation.  i’m not looking for a publisher, i’m looking for people who are interested in quantum consciousness as a new paradigm.  as i always do when looking for something, i talk to everybody about it.  that’s how i got most of my cool apartments, and loads of other things.  so this is just one more instance.

like they said in that reiki course i did once, the energy knows where to go, just put it out there and get out of the way.