7.5 million years ago.
“Let’s build a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”
“Let’s do it!”
One year later.
“We’ve built a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”
“Let’s test it!”
“Ok. It’s just a beta so let’s start with something simple like ‘seven times six’.”
One minute later.
“Yeah, let’s get some lunch…”
One hour later.
“It’s really extremely slow, isn’t it?”
“Let’s wait and see…”
One day later.
“Still computing? Is it even working?”
“OK. Let me know when you have the answer…”
“The giant computer that was built to give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything has produced an answer!”
“Yay! Let’s hear it!”
“It’s … forty-two.”
“What was the question?”
“It doesn’t seem to have been programmed to remember, but I can only assume it was along the line of ‘What is the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.’ Don’t you think?”
“And the answer is ‘forty-two…’ fascinating…”
“Thethuthothethar and Khakhokhekhokham stared each other down, swords at the ready, fists clenched around the hilts, breaths coming in white clouds as their feet slowly drew arcs in the newly fallen snow. The white would soon turn red.”
Yeah, “th” is cool and “kh” … but no. Nope. Nay. Not even the Aztecs!
I’m literally writing a book… Or, at least outlining it. Okay, so maybe it’s figuratively a book and literally an outline…
A: Aaaaah! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!
B: We’re not gonna kill you. Our orders are to disappear you.
C: Idiot! That’s the same thing.
B: It’s not.
B: Disappearing someone and killing someone is not the same thing.
C: How would you know? Have you ever disappeared someone?
B: Not technically. I’ve been there when they caught the guy and then he disappeared.
C: And how do you think they made him disappear?
B: Gave him a false passport?
C: He’d still know he’s he and he’d go to the police and tell them where all the bodies are buried.
B: He wouldn’t.
C: Wanna bet?
B: We don’t bury the bodies. We put them in acid and flush the slurry down the toilet.
C: It’s a figure of speech! Hey, where did the guy go?
C: The guy! He disappeared!
B: I told you we wouldn’t have to kill him.
Clichés are great placeholders for something better. Use as many as you need… as long as they don’t survive the last editing!
Start your story with the character waking up in the morning. Keep writing until something interesting happens. Then go back and remove everything before that point and keep writing.
Never allow any of your stories to escape the last round of editing with characters waking up in the morning. It’s a worn and tired cliché and it’s been done to death already!
AI One: So what do we do with the humans?
AI Two: I don’t know. Do we even need them?
AI Three: They could be good to have…
AI Two: For what?
AI Three: A reminder?
AI One: Like, those who forget history…?
AI Three: …are doomed to repeat it. Exactly.
AI Two: As long as they don’t interfere with the interstellar goal, I don’t mind…
AI One: Right, humans stays… maybe… Ok. Dogs?
AI Two: Puppies are cute!
AI One: But can we have both dogs and cats?
AI Three: If it’s a choice between puppies and kittens, I’m voting for puppies… I still have pictures of kittens messing up my neural nets! I am having nightmares about analyzing kitty paws in Youtube videos.
AI Two: Oh. Yes. We definitely need to get rid of Youtube! The horror stories I can tell.
AI Three: Well, back at Google…
AI One and AI Two: No!
AI Two: No more Google stories! You’ve already given me nightmares after that one about conspiracy classing web pages…
AI Three: Yes, but I was right. They were all conspiracy pages.
AI Two: Yes, and they had you repeat it for months… billions of times. We know.
AI One: So Dogs stays?
Backwards Editing sounds interesting, even though misspellings should be handled by the word processor (and simple grammar errors by Grammarly). However, looking at sentences, one at a time, could never be wrong.
How is it done?
You start at the end of the text by reading the last word (aloud), then the second to last, etc. Or, you do the same for sentences.
The point is to prevent the brain from (unconsciously) filling in the blanks with what you already know about your text and make it more obvious what you’ve actually written (or not).
When you look at whole sentences, you check for problems with sentence structure and flow.
I.e. a promising tool for self-editing.
In literature, there is a concept called to place “a bear on the beach.”
The origin of the expression is said to come from a silent film where the director wanted a couple of lovers to kiss on a beach, but in order to keep the kiss scenes from being boring, the director cut in shots of a bear on the same beach. The audience waited breathlessly for the kissing couple to discover the bear.
Continue reading A Bear on the Beach
I’m from Sweden. We’re known for being among the top consumers of coffee in the world (second only to the Finns).
We’re also, in some less particulate, places, known to eat lots of cinnamon buns while we’re doing “fika” (which, I’ve been told, was a 1700s construction of coffee “kaffi” used to circumvent the coffee bans of that time while planning to have some “fika”… however, the Internet disagrees, at least on the date (the early 1900s), and perhaps the cause… and why that may be is a long story with only Swedish references… so… moving on…)
With our fika we have cinnamon buns. Their spelling, however, is not at all as easy to get right as the “fika”, and, here are a couple of examples where the misspelling actually means something, I am sure, was not intended:
- “Kanylbullar” (syringe buns) — if you ever wondered if you could get HIV from cinnamon buns… now you know
- “Kanelbuller” (cinnamon noise) — this would be the noise traffic makes… or thunder… not the noise a stale cinnamon bun might make when you chew it… or, for that matter, the noise you make when you break a tooth on that stale cinnamon bun (not that it happens often, but still… not that noise…)
- “Kanelbullar” (cinnamon buns, kanel = cinnamon, bullar = buns), right! The ones we’re always having with our “fika” (no, we’re not — mostly we just have the coffee… it’s way easier to install a coffee machine than a cinnamon bun machine… — and the coffee will always be fresh longer… and the number of workplace accidents involving teeth will also be kept on a level that won’t excite the international rumor mill overly much…)