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 Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen

A brand-spankin’ new year has arrived. Immediately following a year that has seen all manner of weird. To kick things off right, Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen of SILVER BROWN are presently being tweeted for the reading enjoyment of the fine folks of Planet Earth, at a rate of one page a day. These chapters are chock full of exposition and flashbacks, and are set on a forested island inhabited by flesh-eating beetles. There’s a colossal subterranean faceless entity in there too, manifesting somewhere in the last few sentences. Which might not seem so strange, after the year we’ve just been through. If the earth’s gravitational pull should suddenly and inexplicably fail, or vast armies of arachnoid hostiles from somewhere beyond Canis Major should mass-impregnate our women, it’ll probably be seen as a minor inconvenience in our post-2020 world. Like losing one’s car keys. 


The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Zip. Zilch. Nada. (The Late Show)

This would ordinarily be the date I start re-posting the chapter(s) from SILVER BROWN I tweeted two months previously on Facebook, at a rate of one page a day. But I’ve decided not to do that this time around. For a couple of reasons. The first reason is I think a major societal backlash against Facebook is just around the corner. Social media in general, but especially Facebook. My Spidey-sense is tingling, and it’s telling me conditions are ripe for the Old Zuckerverse to be reduced to something akin to the hair metal of mass communication within a few years.

For all the young folks in the audience who thought that last sentence was written in Martian, a brief history lesson. In ancient times, when a completely different racist old coot with a background in show business was leader of the free world (a coot who was at least somewhat respectable on account of being a World War II veteran, unlike the soon-to-be-ex-guy), hair metal was all the rage. It was a time when being in a band gave a dude a legitimate excuse to wear spandex and lipstick. Sweet memories. Alas, that era came to an end when the aforementioned old coot (gracefully) left office, and a new decade dawned. In the rays of that new sun, hair metal evaporated in a gust of cultural irrelevance. It was seen as a hackneyed relic of the decade that was, so it was tossed aside and forgotten like a used condom. Today, millions of children will likely live their entire lives having never learned there was ever a band called Quiet Riot… 

There are evidently limits to how much “noize” the public is willing to feel.

We now see a new sun about to rise, reminiscent of the one that rose all those many years ago. When I think of cultural phenomena of the last decade that could end up going the way of hair metal in the new decade, Facebook almost always tops the list. I foresee it will become another tobacco industry. There used to be a time (long before I was born) when smoking cigarettes was considered sexy. They were actually advertised as being good for your health. Now, just about every national government slaps some kind of warning label on cigarette packages, actively discouraging their citizenry from taking up the habit.

Another reason why I’ve decided to forgo posting another chapter on Facebook is because I think Twitter is overall a better medium for this sort of thing. SILVER BROWN is still very much so a work in progress. Posting excerpts of my writings on social media is one of the means I employ to drink the vibes of my audience. Not everything I write is going to be brilliant. But if I tweet something that sucks ass today, I can at least rest assured the world will forget about it tomorrow, if not later on today (unless I run for political office, and like hell I’d ever do that). Facebook’s modus operandi is very different. In some ways, the complete opposite. They love to regurgitate posts from the distant past, your actual desire to revisit them be damned. If the Zuckerverse is privy to something I posted that sucks ass, it will suck ass for many years to come.

Henceforth, my Facebook page will be little more than a token presence, until the inevitable arrival of the Nevermind that kills off the whole platform. It’ll have my blog posts on it, but not much else. More chapters are due to be unveiled in the new year, but those chapters shall only be tweeted.

I did toy with the idea of establishing more of a presence on Instagram, but decided against it. The Gram has the social dynamic of a neverending virtual high school prom, methinks. Literature of any sort is seemingly not something that would interest that particular crowd. They like shiny things. The handful of authors’ Instagram feeds I have seen feature the same old barrage of selfies, vacation pictures and foodporn that everybody and their grandma posts. What in the Sam Hill is the point of that? Do you really want to see a hundred pictures of my face?