Nov 11, 2011

Update and Thoughts on Mind Readers

Time for a bit of an update!  I got my first two (form) rejection letters from this year's round of novel querying.  Rejection is never pleasant, but it's especially hard when you spend years rewriting the 1-page query letter.  Literary agents usually never get past this simple-yet-vitally-important letter.  They get flooded with hundreds of query letters per week, and that's on top of the daily work they need to do for their existing clients.  I'm going to try and keep my complaining online to a minimum.  I'll let you and the rest of the world know if ... ahem, *WHEN*, I land an agent.

Tomorrow, I'm going through a corn maze.  I have also begun to substitute teach a 3D Animation class at the nearby community college.  It's my first time teaching, and I'm pretty stoked about it!

One of the games I've worked on this year is coming to the App store.  If you or your child want a simple and fun way to learn how to hear/play music, check out Tune Hopper.

I just got my shipment of Book 6 in the SmartBoys Club book series, which I've been illustrating.  These are great books for middle grade readers, girls or boys.

Work life:  I continue to freelance from home, using 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and a variety of other art programs.  What's next?  Should I start a business in e-learning apps?  Should I make a series of short animated films?  Should I write some silly e-books and sell them?  Should I just concentrate on expanding my current self-employed contract business?

What do you think?  I have exciting ideas for all of the above, but only enough time to focus on one.

Torth series update:  I'm still editing Book 2.  Just one major edit, and it should be done by the end of this year.

Writing topic food for thought:  We no longer have much folklore, but instead have fantasy books.  As a genre writer, are you willing to break with tradition and make a new kind of vampire, elf, zombie, dragon, or whatever?  This is about originality, a topic I feel strongly about.  Many writers seem uncomfortable about inventing their own worlds and aliens.  Even when they do it, they often follow traditions that were laid out by previous writers.  I like to break with tradition.

When it comes to mind readers, they're often treated a certain way in fiction.  Either they are benevolent and kind (Professor X, Deanna Troi), or they are befuddled by their power (Jean Gray, the cop in "Heroes," and many more).  In order to justify this befuddlement, mind readers in fiction often gain their powers late in life, or have very little control over their power, tuning in and out of thoughts at random as the story requires.

I say that's all bull****.  First of all, a lifelong mind reader would damn well know how to use that power effectively.  Whenever I read or watch someone else's telepathic character get befuddled, I feel a strong sense of author manipulation.  It wasn't thought through all the way.  The writer was lazy; rather than actually think about the full spectrum of implications of mind reading--its limitations and possibilities--they try to make it work without a set of rules, forcing it to fill a plot need and glossing over the plot holes it creates.

Second of all, if you are privy to the darkest secrets of your fellow humans, you're not going to be a benevolent sweetheart.  More like cynical and misanthropic.

And if you have the ability to control other people's minds, that is the trump card of all super-powers. It trumps *EVERYTHING* else. Any character who can use a Jedi mind trick is likely to become super-corrupt. I use it sparingly in my fiction ... because much like time travel, it can easily mess up a story unless it's thoroughly thought out.

And that concludes my thoughts on mind readers for the afternoon.

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