They say it builds character

Hello again, Past Selves. Been working on my fiction lately.

The worldbuilding part comes easy for me. I’ve spent most of my life imagining amazing settings and universes. Usually placing myself in them, transformed into someone with incredible powers.

But I can’t write an entire story that way, even if I make my main character an author avatar. There have to be other people to interact with, and that’s usually where I run into trouble.

I’m not a people person. Asperger’s and social phobia make it very difficult for me to relate to other personalities, which inhibits my writing about them. I don’t want to end up with an entire novel populated with thinly veiled clones of myself! I’m not Heinlein. (Oh snap, I went there.)

So I’m doing my best to create characters different from myself. Studying personality types and psychology has not helped, it’s too clinical and impersonal. I need a fresh approach. Something to make the fictional creations seem more like real people, that readers can relate to, recognize, love, or hate.

I’ve done OK in the NPC department because they don’t need to be fleshed out deeply, but major characters are proving complicated, because people are complicated. Not that I’d want it any other way. Simple is boring and not really worth engaging with.

This story will involve the military, and as I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not familiar with military culture. I was also not really a social butterfly in college. Other people seemed a bit alien to me due to my (then undiagnosed) Asperger’s. But living in a dorm is still the closest I’ve come to experiencing life in a spaceship, crammed in with a bunch of college age kids new to adulthood and to living away from home.

I’ve got a fairly good handle on the main character’s foil/love interest, and made her a 3 dimensional person with a well developed persona and background. That’s one. But this is an ensemble piece. There’s a whole bunch of folks to develop before I can really dive into storytelling. And to do that I need to consider a lot of factors in who they are, how they fit into the story, and why the readers should want to read them; IE, how to make them interesting. To give them individual personalities. Which is as I pointed out, not my strength.

Up with people!


Join the Navy, see the Marines

Greetings, Past Selves.

Definitely feeling a little more purposeful this AM. I had a bit of an anxiety attack yesterday, but it seems to have cleared up now. My emotional state is as stable as it ever is.

Writing wise, I’m delving into a little more research into military life, so I’ll probably be asking my Dad about his experience aboard the Henry L. Stimson. A nuclear submarine under the ice cap probably equates most closely to life on a military spacecraft, minus the zero gravity.

My main character encounters NASA Astronauts, Russian Cosmonauts (current and Soviet-era), US Navy and USMC. I’ll be checking out sources with as many of those experiences I can find, to get a feel for the life and attitudes, as well as traditions and ways of talking and acting. I want real verisimilitude in my fake universe.

Better living through better living

Past Selves, I’m feeling a little better.

Visited a Nutritionist today, was told I’m eating much healthier, but to lose weight I need to exercise. In other news water is still wet.

I’m getting a little more inspired in my writing. The plot is starting to come together, I’m researching military actions and space technology, so I’ll have a “plausible” story about a probably completely impossible situation.

I was reminded yet again, how amazingly lucky I am to have a supportive family. They are my rock. I’d be on the street or dead without their constant help. It’s not what I wanted growing up, but it keeps me alive. And I’m happy to help them all, any way I can.

Just read back my last post

Wow, Past Selves. I was in a mood, huh?

It’s the wee hours of the morning now. I’m not good but I’m probably better off emotionally than I was when I wrote that.

This is why I need my writing. This is why I need this blog, and social media. It’s an outlet. It lets me vent. Cheaper than therapy, too.

Whew. OK, update. I’m still in science fiction mode, though on a different story than the one I had mentioned in earlier posts.

Seems like all my stories are about a nebbish main character who is somehow transformed and given powers, with which to struggle against great cosmic forces. It’s the running theme of all my works, and going back to when I played pretend as a child. I was always a wizard, a superhero, a powerful alien, a robot, anything but an ordinary guy in my fantasies. Wish fulfilment. I wanted, and want, to be something beyond, to change in ways that would give me agency and a decisive role in events. Exactly what I don’t have now, a middle aged, way out of shape man, totally dependent on others to survive, on government agencies, on a medical infrastructure and industries, on even my own family and friends.

I grew up on Heinlein Juveniles and pervasive 70s/early 80s mentality of “can do” spirit, of total independence and self reliance. But those things are literally not physically possible for me. If they ever were they certainly are not going to happen now. I am disabled. Mentally and physically, I am crippled. My shortcomings make me a lifelong dependent on an unstable and unreliable set of circumstances. Civilization teeters, and my life hangs with it.

I am so desperately afraid.

(So much for being in a better mood.)

Moredom boredom

Hiya Past Selves.

Just sitting here wallowing in my own depressive stew. Working intermittently on bits of stories, mixing & matching, altering to fit like patchwork quilts. I call 99% of my day “story research” but honestly it’s sitting on my butt web surfing. (do they even call it that anymore?) More out of shape than ever, less motivated than ever, just kind of existing. I have to force myself to do anything. Bleah.

There’s got to be more than this.

Shifting gears

Hello again, Past Selves. How’ve you been?

I’m back-burnering my fantasy story for a while to let it ferment. Right now I’m doing some work on science fiction, a sort of cross between Han Solo meets Firefly meets Cowboy Bebop.

I need to do that sometimes, set aside one project for another to give my hindbrain time to work on it. I’m using bits and pieces from old story notes to add to this one. Still in the early stages, I haven’t even gotten started on the first draft yet.

Still trying to convince my family that this writing things is really work. Still coping with the same problems. The new dose seems to help a bit. Next time I talk to the Psychiatrist I’ll recommend max dosage.

A stressful time now, for me, my family, and friends. Wish us luck.

25 or 6 to 4

It’s currently around 4 AM here, Past Selves, and I’m wide awake without even coffee.

Chronic insomnia, had 5 sleep studies in my life and each one found a different sleep disorder. And all the older ones were confirmed.

Recently I had my dose of Abilify bumped up in hopes that it’ll help my depression. I start that today. Also, it’s been 3 months since my last seizure and I’m clear to drive again. Even though I hate driving, being without wheels undercut my independence. I needed to be driven everywhere by someone else. Sucks if no one’s home. Cuts into other people’s time. Burdens Mom physically, she gets back pains driving too long.

I don’t recommend it.

Slowed down my writing, not by choice but by distractions. There are just too many things going on right now. I want to tune out but then stuff catches me by surprise if I miss a day of online news, social media, and TV. I don’t want to get overwhelmed but I hate being uninformed too.

Talked to a family friend today about some of our family’s problems and it actually made me feel better just to get it off my chest. I guess I needed a sounding board. Don’t have to be in therapy for that to be therapeutic. Advice: find someone to unburden yourself to. Family, Friends, trustworthy co worker. Whatever. It helps, it really does. Humans are social animals and we have an inbuilt need to communicate and commiserate. Lacking that outlet is bad for us psychologically and emotionally. We often don’t even realize what’s missing.

Thanks, Past Selves. You’ve given me someone to talk to this Weird O’clock in the AM. For being my sounding board(s).

I’m off to make coffee.