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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Twitching Perfectionist Writes a Novel

I'm a recovering perfectionist. One of those people who can give you the time and date of every time I answered a question wrong.

Did I make a mistake on February 10th, 1997? Why... yes, yes I did. At 11:03am in Latin class, I declined poet wrong.

I still wake up screaming, "Ubi est poeta!" in the middle of the night. It's terrible. Do you feel your heartstrings being tugged? You should.

Am I uncomfortable with that passive sentence? Yes, but I'm trying to overcome my perfectionist tendencies so it stands.

You see, perfectionism is only a good thing when perfection is achievable.

Science fiction writing is more like horseshoes and hand grenades, close is as good as it gets.

Most sci-fi authors never fly a spaceship. Most of us have never even flown a jet. Not even a cargo plane! I know of no science fiction author who has been the last man in his platoon alive on a hostile and alien planet knowing that they are the only hope for mankind.

Nor can I Google technical specifications for a working, computer-monitor-sized time machine that requires two people to operate. Which makes it really difficult for me to figure out 1) how the darn machine was built and 2) how my intrepid and brave hero can break the machine in a semi-permanent manner with full confidence and a serious lack of C4 (file that under bad planning Mr. Macho).

A normal person could take this in stride, invent a few words, and make a plausible case for why the Dilorian Principle runs on three triple A batteries.

I'm spending the morning reading about Sergei Novikov (the Russian scientist who proved time paradoxes couldn't exist... unless they do), theta values, manifolds, and other things that I need a dictionary to define. Very good for my education, I'm sure, but it leaves my brain oozing out my ear.

I'm a biologist. Ask me how to genetically alter a species to adapt to a high gravity planet. I can do that. Time machines?

Well... I'll figure it out. There's no other choice! The antagonist for the entire series is about to explain the whole plot in the most confusing and convoluted terminology science can provide in three paragraphs! I need to have words to put in his mouth!

You'll probably see me rambling on Twitter and Facebook today. Just give a sad sigh and keep walking. Unless you have a time machine you'll let me tinker with for twenty minutes... in that case we need to talk *wink wink* :o)

This is Friday. I feel Random.

So..... what's your random?

Bonus Points: Which sci-fi series had a character named Random?


  1. My head hurts just thinking about all that scientific research. LOL. Good luck with it!

  2. No more worries. Sleep soundly. Poeta in villa est.

  3. Stephanie - After much reading, a little doodling, and wild leaps of fiction I think I have a machine that will work for my plot. Thankfully, the advantage of writing science-FICTION is that I get to design around what I need rather than what reality demands.

    LotusGirl- 0.0 You get a gold star for knowing Latin! All I really remember from high school Latin is Ubi est Poeta? and how to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Latin. I do know what a fenestra is, but only because it came up in a college anatomy class (biology being my whole purpose for taking Latin rather than Spanish).

  4. I majored in Latin and taught it in high school and college until children took over my life. I had taken 3 semesters of Greek before I did anatomy, and between the Latin and the Greek, the lab was a snap. It was so easy to remember all the names like arbor vitae, etc.

  5. Now I know whose brain to pick when I have tricky phrases to say in Latin! :-D

  6. Sure. Anytime. FYI: I'm pretty good with French, too. I have a Masters in that.