More Fiction (Part 2.5)

This is not Part 3. It’s just two things I thought of tacking on to part 2.

What can I say? Part 2s are easy blog post fodder; Part 2 appendixes are even easier.

  • One, there’s one other wall I run into often during those rare attempts when I get motivated enough to try to write a story: naming characters is hard. At least, it provides an excellent motivational roadblock whenever I even consider committing a story to paper, a point before I’ve actually written anything at which I think “maybe I should give up and go on Facebook instead” and proceed to do so. Aggh. And I think there’s more than one reason for this:

    • I have trouble coming up with names to some degree. Sure, it’s easy to browse BabyNames.com and look for choices, but a lot of the names there are really weird and contemplating them for every unimportant character kind of rips me out of the immersed mindset.
    • Reading great stories in English class and elsewhere may have gotten me feeling like every name ought to be a deep meaningful allusion, or at least pun fodder. I feel like I will regret it if I write a story and, a few months and/or chapters down the road, realize I missed a better name or the name I chose has some undesirable connotations in context or provides an atmosphere-ruining coincidence.
    • But I think the real kicker is simply that some part of me is terrified of the awkwardness of giving a character the same name as anybody I know, because then they might read the story and wonder if the character is somehow based on them. And too many of the names that I consider common enough to not lure readers off into looking for hidden meanings are used up that way. This is obviously worst if the character is an antagonist. But it seems just as awkward if the character is a protagonist in accord with everything I’ve written, i.e. a paper-thin character blatantly created for escapist purposes. I am already kind of terrified I might ever meet anybody with the same name as one of my mentally established characters even though I haven’t actually written anything about him. And there’s a well-established convention of not reusing a first name in a work, so this gets even harder with every work; I’m just as worried, what if somebody thinks this character is related to the other character in that story I wrote in second grade? Oh no!!

      It’s like not reusing variable names in a programming language where everything is in the same scope. Positively nightmarish.

      And I actually discovered some evidence this is a thing in my past: I found some stories I wrote in 2004. They are possibly the most extreme exemplification of Write What You Know imaginable: the main character, Michael, goes to school and makes friends. That’s all.

      Illustration courtesy Brian2004

      Illustration courtesy Brian2004

      I kind of want to share these stories, but fast-forward a few years and you’ll see that a classmate named Michael entered my grade and we stayed in the same grade until we graduated.

      Hi, Michael. You’re probably not reading this, but the character I created in 2004 is not in any way based on or inspired by you, especially not this image. And unlike later in this post where I name a character after myself, I’m not being sarcastic, really.

      See, this is awkward.

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DOUBLE POST

20 posts so far in my daily streak, ignoring the time I posted after midnight but including exactly one of this post and the commitment-starting post. You pick which one. The arithmetic works out either way. My last four posts have been made with less than two minutes to spare before midnight, and my last post in particular made it by just seven seconds. This is working as intended in that I’ve knocked out nine drafts that I’m pretty sure would have rotted in my draft folder for at least a few more months otherwise, and I’ve also jotted down more spontaneous thoughts and posted them instead of postponing them until they was too late to be applicable. But this is also a problem because I can’t spend every day procrastinating blogging and then frantically blogging before midnight — I have some serious programming work to do, and a talk to prepare for, and, of course, linear algebra homework!!!

I’m kind of stuck here so

FACETIOUS PAINTBRUSH DRAGON TIME

Now I have 23 hours today during which I don’t feel pressured to blog. Yay. See you in 47 hours, probably.

zzz

(daily posting streak)

Facetious paintbrush dragon filler is best filler!

zzz

I actually drew a paintbrush picture like this one the day before that surgery last Friday so I would have something to post if I was too groggy to write anything, but I wasn’t. Instead I am just finding the surgical wound in my shoulder really demotivating two days later and didn’t feel like blogging. So instead I considered posting the picture, then decided it was too ugly to post without the excuse of grogginess and redid the picture in GIMP. In other words, I lied and it’s neither facetious nor paintbrush. It is a dragon though.

He is a dragon though. They can get really irritated if you don’t acknowledge their human-level sentience with the proper pronouns. And you don’t want to irritate a dragon.

Public commitment (WE NEED TO GO DEEPER /snark): I’ll be productive tomorrow and

  1. start booking my GCJ flights
  2. start doing linear algebra homework, even if only one problem
  3. program
  4. work on one of my intense text posts and post it
  5. send out my FPOP response form. Oops how could I forget

Mortality

(Faux-philosophical blog content, posted as part of a daily posting streak I have openly committed to; standard disclaimers apply)

This is a hard essay to write because (1) it’s very irrational and I should (and I do) know better — death by car accident is much more likely than death by an airplane crash, but the latter is scarier because it’s more vivid and we have less control over it, and (2) people don’t like talking about it. When I tried writing it, though, I realized I already burned through most of the down-to-earth worries in the posts I made between April and August of 2010. They still coherently and accurately sum up my current thoughts surprisingly well. And most of the irrational, overly philosophical fears appeared in Thoughts at Midnight. So there used to be a lot of fluff here like this, which was inducing procrastination because I don’t know what to include and what to cut, but now that I have a daily deadline, I cut most of it. Here’s what’s left.

One, xkcd:

xkcd

Two, bonus quote: As really-long-term readers know, I have had a reason to think that I might actually die in the past few years, a real reason that has stayed with me and gotten me thinking now and then about what my meaning of life is, instead of a short-lived fuzzy philosophical feeling obtained from reading Tuesdays with Morrie (which is not to say that Tuesdays with Morrie isn’t a good book; I just suspect no book can convey everything a personal experience can.) Anyway, it’s over in all likelihood, but the point is that in the middle, I wrote an essay for class in ninth grade, which I find equally coherent and equally representative of my views. The conclusion runs thus:

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