Peacekeeper Pathogen is now at 33,473 words. For a brief moment last week, I was stuck. Every so often, I will end a chapter knowing exactly where I want to go starting with the next but having no clue how to do it. When that happens, I usually just set the work aside and stop thinking about it. I watched the new version of Jungle Book to take my mind off the writing. By then, my wife was home and it was time to focus my attention on her. Later that night, as I was showering before bed, the solution came to me--I just needed to tweak the ending of the last chapter just a bit.
Some weeks it's a struggle to come up with anything at all to put in these weekly posts. Others, I have too many things to say. I've been trying to keep these a bit shorter and this week is one of those weeks where I have lots to say. I'll just pick the important ones.
If you're a writer, you should work at creating a network of writing contacts. Use this network to help you improve your craft and write better stories. You can also tap into their knowledge when needed. Most writers don't write for a living and those that do most likely began their working career in a different occupation. As a collective group, they will have knowledge and experience you can use. Over the years, I've had the honor of becoming acquainted with a large number of very good writers. We are all members of a Google email group. When one member has a question they can't find an answer to, they send out an email. The responses begin coming in almost immediately. For instance, we recently had a fascinating discovery of what would happen to blood on the surface of Ceres. One great forum I used to haunt (don't have the time anymore) is the SFF World discussion forums.
Our Changing Society
Growing up, I watched Star Trek and I imagined a world where anyone could achieve their full potential. It was a world where poverty did not exist and greed never reared its ugly head. Our society does not appear to be heading in that direction. A couple we are friends with have been going to Vegas every year for the past 22 years. They've noticed how greed has taken over and it has soured their experience to the point where they were actually talking about not going back. There is an ancient saying that "money is the root of all evil". I disagree because money cannot determine its own destiny. I say "greed is the root of all evil" because it takes a person to bring greed to life. It's an insatiable monster that will ruin this world unless we can find a way to kill it.
I remember back when I was a child living in a society where gas stations competed amongst themselves to see who could provide the best service (I'm talking about full-service gas stations--something that is no longer found). We left our house unlocked and our neighbors could--and did--just walk right in, get themselves a cup of coffee, and visit while my mom cooked. We could trust our neighbors to watch over our house while we were gone. It was a time when people actually talked to one another. Today's society is a very different place and it's not getting much better.
As a science fiction writer, my job is to try to predict the future. Of course, this is impossible, but we try anyway. If you look at how society has changed over the past 40 years and predict that trend into the far future, we are headed for a society where people fear each other unless they are almost exactly like us. We will live next door to someone and never speak to them. Our "friends" will be people we talk to via text or send a funny video to. Our electronic footprint will be under constant attack and only those with the knowledge and money to protect it will be able to do so. A few powerful individuals, driven by greed, will rule the world. Excessive? Perhaps. Possible? Frightenly so!