The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Übercharacter (or “Let’s Just Pretend Bears Can Fly”)

I’ve always been inclined to be a pantser. Both in life, and in writing. I shan’t elaborate further on how this disposition relates to the former. But the latter probably comes from Stephen King, whose 2000 how-to/autobiography On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a book I would highly recommend for anyone looking to take up this art for themselves. Chock full of useful tips and tricks on writing fiction, from an undisputed expert on the subject.


Sri Stephen presaged the Trump presidency when he thought up Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The man is a living Buddha.

Somewhere in the aforementioned tome, King states that he always starts a book having no idea how it’s going to end. Decisions on such matters are to be left up to the characters, who take on a life of their own as the author writes, driving the story in ways the author never anticipated.

That approach (or at least some badly misinterpreted variant thereof) is one I’ve incorporated many a time. There would be a general idea about plot devices and where the story would end up eventually, but for the most part I would take an improvisational route to writing fiction. The results were hit and miss. Making it all up as you go along is all fun and games until you end up writing yourself into a hole. But never a waste of time. There are certain genres where one must learn to play before learning to hunt…

The Environment is a character in this crazy yarn I’m currently tinkering around with. Like it tends to be in many a work of speculative fiction. All other characters and events spring from the Environment, so the Übercharacter required more fleshing out than any other character. I had to invest the time to wrestle with the Übercharacter, like a bear cub wrestling its littermate. So It could hone Itself, eventually becoming strong enough to take off.


The Journey of SILVER BROWN

If The Aliens Don’t Conquer Us We’ll Invent iDæmons

A number of years ago I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I would give it three stars out of five. It teetered into hokey territory in places, and a few of the plot twists were a little too deus ex machina for my taste (somebody conveniently swoops in to save the day whenever Lyra finds herself up shit creek without a paddle). But the concepts and plot devices were interesting at least. The story is set across several different parallel universes, the heroine hailing from a reality where every person’s spirit animal (referred to as a dæmon) walks, slithers, hops, swims, crawls or flies in close proximity to the person at all times. The dæmons can talk to their humans and give kindly advice, but their human is the only one who can hear them speak…

…which somewhat vaguely recalls Ozmodiar, the tiny green space alien that only Homer can see.

Some variant of that concept would inevitably find its way into my own writing. The dæmons in my particular story are depicted as software applications, running within the simulated world in which it is set. Whether or not other people can hear these things speak is an adjustable setting. Like airplane mode, or the wallpaper on your desktop.

The idea of having a human dæmon for a character who is not human was used as a plot device for exactly one scene in the first volume of His Dark Materials, but was never explored more fully beyond that. So I decided to run with it in my own yarn. One of the antagonists is a colossal invertebrate with no vocal apparatus of any sort. Its language is entirely olfactory, comprised of odors it emits through its breath and slime trails and territorial musk. Odors capable of conveying all manner of idea from the mundane to the philosophical, but are mostly undetectable to humans save the ones that smell obscenely bad. Thus it needs a companion humanoid entity to follow it around wherever it goes, translating its odors into something humans can understand…

Kind of like this guy, but with slightly more charm.

The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Staycation in a Strange Land

Several weeks of being grossly distracted by other things have come and gone. In my absence, new life germinated in some literary world of my own devising I temporarily abandoned. The intricacies of that world were the same ones they were before. They were merely re-experienced with a beginner’s mind. A mind that had just finished unlearning what it had learned.