WIP: “The Biggest Sarge Ever”

This is one of those updates that writers who blog sometimes write. However, I’m getting a kick out of my current WIP, to which I added about a thousand words this morning.

It’s a tough project, partly because I’m trying to blend two different kinds of jargon — futuristic environmental and technical stuff (the SFnal part) with futuristic extrapolations of the Pick-Up Artists’ scene (the cultural/flavoring/comedic part, riffing heavily on Neil Strauss’s popular and widely-reference book The Game). Since, from what I’ve read, there are lots of nerds and geeks in that subculture as it is, I figured, why not have a look-see what that tribe will be doing in ten or fifteen years?

(And yeah, if you’re thinking, “Tribe? Is he referencing Alvin Toffler?”, well, yes, indeed I am. I have a post about Future Shock coming up soon!)

Well, not the whole tribe. Just a small offshoot, who take it upon themselves to… er… well, use their ostensible social engineering skills for something bigger than just, you know, attractive women in bars.

For me, there are a couple of personal things I’m working on in this story. One of them is humor, which, well is bloody hard, just like everyone says. The other thing is writing characters who are very much unlike me. Who are, well… a different kind of mixture of petty and selfish and hopeful and smart. Someone pointed out somewhere that I seemed to be “fascinated with the idea of positive terrorism” and while that’s not really true — I don’t condone terrorism, actually, except maybe if it could be directed exclusively against members of governments like the ones running North Korea and Myanmar — but I realized a lot of my stories do feature lone, sometimes-desperate crusaders fighting against a big huge unjust system that looms above them, in the only way available to them.

It’s a writing tic of mine, and while not universal, it is noticeable in the stuff I’ve published so far. As far as I’m concerned, writing tics exist to be noticed, rooted out, and moved beyond.

So: no loner hero; no gloomy hopeless battle, at least not a thoroughly hopeless one. (You can’t win ’em all, but maybe the biosphere can be kept up enough to keep limping on till happy days come again.) Here, have a dollop of Hopeful Optimism with your future.

You can guess where I’ll be submitting this, right?

I’m tempted to post a snippet, except that the story will be relatively short, so anything I post here would give too much away. I’ll save the fun for those who see the story once it’s published, and whatever podcast snaps it up afterward!

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