Tag Archives: cyberpunk

Real Writers

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Image from NexusPlexus | Masterfile

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* This post might be a bit disjointed, though perhaps it’ll make sense in terms of “chaotic order.”

One of the reasons I like the cyberpunk genre is the blend of introspection and self-reflection it encourages (it makes us question where we’re headed; it makes us ponder on the interaction/interplay between humanity and technology; so on and so forth).

Dragonsinn.net has been up for almost 13 years, and I’ve been meaning to write a dragon-themed series for some time. I’ve “taken my time” with it because I have high expectations for it [the original version of Dragonsinn was one of the first small dragon websites on the net, first uploaded in 1999 ;)].

Online social media in 1999 wasn’t like what it is now in 2012 (which probably means the scene will be very different once another decade has passed).

I enjoy the social aspects of social media, though I personally would prefer to see more profound or witty status updates and posts. I suppose I may be a little bit of a hypocrite since I don’t post “profound or witty updates” 100% of the time. But I do know that my personal preference is for something with mental/emotional/spiritual depth and variety.

Thinking about the early social media scene makes me think about the independent writing/publishing scene in 2009-2010. Both weren’t over-commercialized or saturated at that point in time yet (though I get that these two factors are “subjective” to an extent).

I’ve never doubted a single word (not even a comma) of George Orwell’s writing. Perhaps the introduction to Orwell’s Why I Write says it best:

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. . .When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. . .It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.

– George Orwell: Why I Write (Introduction)

I often see the same themes on the blogs and social media platforms of indie authors (exception = poets).

Yes, it’s fun to sail high on the Amazon bestseller ranks and rake in the dough.

Yes, it’s tempting (and comforting?) to convince oneself that quality writing doesn’t matter because the public only cares about entertainment, not technical standards.

Yes, it boosts the ego and “things happen” when someone in the industry contacts you because they can see the commercial value in your book/product and want to make a profit from it.

Yes, publishing is a business and traditional publishers have to do whatever they can to make a profit.

Yes, many people enjoy writing and if they can succeed at self-publishing and gaining an audience for their work, more power to them.

Yes, writing well and being praised doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pay the bills with your writing.

Yes, money is good.

But I like to keep in mind the authors who “write to have a good time” (Ms. Meyer of the Twilight series), versus the authors who write because they’re fuelled by a passion and purpose (like George Orwell).

I know that “you are what you consume,” which is why I’m selective with what I choose to ingest both physically (food) as well as mentally/emotionally (information, entertainment, infotainment, etc).

Writing is a means of communication — I like to produce stories that could be branded as “meaningful” entertainment (versus “mindless” entertainment).

I’m happy carving a niche out for myself, since the mainstream media seems to be infinitely more interested in hype than substance.

And I do know — and am very happy to have met — several indie authors who also have a purpose behind their interest in writing. These people, to me, are the real writers.

For me, at the end of the day, both money/materialism and spirituality are “real” things I have to face and deal with.

But I won’t sacrifice either one for the other (both are important).

I hope to see more people in the indie writing/publishing scene who have a real message to share, and who’d like to make a difference somehow. A lot of people still consider the traditional lottery-ticket bigshot agent-book-movie deal to be the pinnacle of (literary, or general) success. There’s nothing wrong with that (unless you dislike extreme commercialism and/or commodification).

But I like “resisting” systems and ideologies that aren’t interested in making a difference at all. Empires have every reason to maintain the status quo. Obedient sheeple are guaranteed to keep the empires in existence via buying/consuming what they’re told by the media empires is “good” for them.

That, itself, is what I enjoy resisting.

Because when we’re sheeple, who are we as individuals? Where is our sense of self-identity, and dreams, and thoughts, and motivations? Or are all those things defined by an external system that wishes to mold and control us simply for the sake of profits? Surely there is more to human life than being part of a sheeple audience?

Astrologically-wise, maybe it’s because I have an Aries North Node in the First House (psychological ground-breakers Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both had the Aries North Node). I instinctively resist and put up a fight (in my own way) against anything that threatens my sense of individuality, autonomy and “sense of self.”

Going back to the beginning of this blog post, “corporate control” is a cyberpunk trope I’ve always been drawn to as well. I don’t think cyberpunk is a genre anymore — it’s become an actual reality (perhaps more quickly than science fiction writers actually anticipated).

That is reason enough for me to have some kind of purpose to what I write.

That purpose, in and of itself, is more important than whether I decide to label/categorize certain projects of mine as “cyberpunk,” or whether I consider myself a “real writer.”

And I hope the small but spirited/very motivated group of real “resistors” out there will always be dedicated to their cause.

I’ve this instinctive knowledge that once you stop fighting, you become both in and of the system/The Matrix/whatever you want to call it (the thing that deletes your freedom of thought/speech/action, your identity).

I know that when you stop fighting, you are, essentially, forever under the influence of the hegemonizing “one world, one people, one wallet” mindset of megacorporations everywhere.

As a writer/artist/non-conformist, that really scares me — even if society doesn’t give a damn about where it’s headed.

P.S. I enjoyed the following 3 articles on social media:

1) The Decline of Facebook | Jim Lastinger

2) The unsocial network you can never leave | Martin Utreras Carrera

3) Social Media Smart But People Stupid | Margie Clayman


Third (Away) Notice

away notice

I tend to post (Away) or (Busy) notices now and then (2010′s was here; 2009′s was here).

I’ll still be posting blog interviews (as and when they come in), though I’ll mostly be focusing on completing my project featuring cyberpunk elves.

I was in a bit of a fix with the outline of the third book — I know the cyberpunk genre tends to be heavily “dystopian” in nature. However, I still believe that real life is miserable and hopeless enough, so I’ll be aiming for a semi-happy ending with the trilogy [while it won't be a SUPER sugary "everyone lives happily ever after" fairytale ending, it won't end like Repo Men or 1984 either (I LOVE 1984 by the way -- I just want a different kind of ending for the project I'm working on, tee-hee)].

I’ll be quietly/intensely tweaking this project as I’d like this one to:

  1. set the standard for, and
  2. lead the direction of jessINK’s mainstream/commercial department ^^

I’ll continue to do alternative work, but later (I need to build up my brand’s strength across different areas — I want to build something that lasts).

In the meantime, I added some freebies on my website. My short story, Skins, will be in the upcoming BsB Anthology 3 — will mention that anthology on my social media accounts once it’s out.

P.S. Postcards still available too!

animal skinsbdsm masklove

(Left to Right):
Skins (animal lovers)
The Gift (sweet erotic/romantic short story)
Real Love Vs. Romance (essays on commercialism)

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jess c scott

Listed at a very nice website, The Indie View. Hope to be interviewed there sometime (currently waiting for the Q&A).

Added a campaigns/causes page to jessINK also.

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jess

Here’s a sneak peek at The Darker Side of Life (thanks to Curse of the Bibliophile for hosting me).

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sleeping cat

Sleeping cat (she sleeps double than I do, and I get/need eight hours on average).

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OK, take care all — I’ll be watching the snow (wintertime / Maine) + fixing the drafts for Book02 and Book03 of The Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy.

I won’t be on my social media accounts very much (once I’ve delved DEEP into completing the remaining parts of the project).

If you need anything just email me at missfey@gmail.com


Casino Royale

casino royale

Casino Royale (the first James Bond novel) was written by Ian Fleming, largely from his own experiences and imagination; he also devised the artwork for the original cover.

I’m currently reading Casino Royale — one of the first things I liked was the fast pace and simple but eloquent language. There’s also a lot of dry wit and Ian Fleming’s attention to detail is astounding! I think a lot of these details were lost in the movie version starring Daniel Craig (not because of Craig’s acting, but because of radical story and character changes).

“You must forgive me,” he said. “I take ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.”
~ Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

Here’s a core difference between book-Bond and movie-Bond. And it’s one of perception. It’s just assumed that Bond is a snob about clothes, food, drink…everything. Actually, he’s a planner and works things out to the finest detail, in his work and private life.

My copy of Casino Royale shows a James Bond silhouette on a simple navy blue background with red and yellow text. The above is the book cover of the first edition.

I think wise sayings DO hold true, so I actually do subscribe to the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” A long-lasting type of satisfaction can be derived from valuing substance > image + quick money + popularity.

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john ruskin

The Elements of Drawing, by John Ruskin

“And I’m giving them dreadful elementary exercises at Oxford which they mew and howl over, and are forced to do, nevertheless…”
~ John Ruskin

I first started drawing around age 16 (late) — I remember going through several drawing books (the “how to draw/paint” types). I also remember a distinct sense of frustration — there was just something about the books that I felt I was “failing” to “get,” understand, and/or truly learn.

The only drawing book that was a lifechanger was John Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing. It’s a tough book to read. Ruskin makes the reader/student do some truly tedious exercises (such as very light and very fine cross-hatches that could drive even a patient person insane), and I think I took about 5 years (off and on) to actually read the book cover to cover.

I haven’t drawn much this year (too busy with writing), though I’ve lately had some time/energy/interest to fiddle around with drawing again.

I’ve concentrated on pens/pencils for some time. At the start, I used to get very confused with shading and lighting. I think I’m finally beginning to make some progress in that department, so I’ll continue to practice drawing diligently. I like to draw birds and people the most, though I occasionally switch to landscape/scenery/architecture because those are nice too.

I think the difference in Ruskin’s book is that he doesn’t really teach you “how” to draw (in terms of a step-by-step “technique” or method). He trains you to use your eyes and be observant and appreciative of nature. He also trains you to “dirty the paper delicately” (Ruskin said that “all art is but dirtying the paper delicately” in The Elements of Drawing).

savannah tree

turret

The above two drawings were done in pencil (my personal preference is mechanical pencil for the details). I’ll try some nudes soon.

I post some drawings on my deviantART account — I’ve always liked drawing because I find it calms the mind ^^.

I think I’ll stay a perpetual student when it comes to art/writing/drawing/etc. I think one learns more that way.

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[And A Quick Update Writing-Wise...]

Book02 in the Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy is going OK — I’m about halfway through the first draft.

Nowadays I’m mostly quite relaxed (I certainly wasn’t, during my late teens!). I guess I’m just more focused now on what I’m doing. I minimize wasting my time on petty or negative things/people (and/or being a petty, negative person myself). I’m happier channeling my (positive or negative) energy into doing something that has substance (i.e. a positive endeavour/outcome).

I’m pretty clear now about a balance between art and commerce (I’d swing between the two extremes in the past). Personally I don’t like to compromise with most things that I do (oh my, spoken just like a Venus Scorpio…).

I don’t want to be a starving artist (I can see the appeal in being 100% committed to art — it’s just not the right path for me, LOL!).

But neither do I want to make wild profits from shallow/superficial/self-indulgent art.

After all, what you reap = what you sow :)


Next Book, TOSoL

Almost one year ago (holy shiz!), I wrote a blog post about my next book. The book I was referring to was 1: The Intern…which I’ve ordered the proof copy for (I will be polishing and tweaking the final version of the book via the hardcopy proof).

This post is also about another (new) “next book,” which would be The Other Side of Life.

cyberpunk elf

Cover Proof #1

I wanted to launch TOSoL around the same time as 1: The Intern…but I don’t think it’s ready to go yet. I have something I can work with — but the names of some of the characters…and the “atmosphere,” are two things I’m going to spend a little bit more time enhancing. The book is mildly cyberpunk — I want to dive back into the text, and play up more of the cyberpunk elements.

* Side Note: Definition of cyberpunk = “hi-tech, low-life.”

I won’t be changing the name of one of the lead elven characters [his nickname is "Nin" (which by the way stands for Nine Inch Nails, to those familiar with the band!) / which is the short form of "Ithilnin" (which means "moon's reflection over the water's surface")]. I’ve blended a little bit of the fantasy genre with the more contemporary elements I like to work with — I may one day do a high fantasy type of book. That was my favorite genre to read/write as a kid.

I’ve always had a thing with names. If they’re wrong, everything is wrong. I don’t know why. It’s a little bit like language, I suppose (language being a core part of a society’s identity).

There are certain archetypes in TOSoL which are a little contrived right now…I’d like to shift/tweak the concepts a little bit, so they’re more relevant and less cliched/boring/conventional.

So…TOSoL will be out later than I’d like…but I think (customers and) I will be happier with the end result.


Jam-Packed

Book03 is currently being reviewed by some literary agents. I crossed the halfway point for Book04 not too long ago. I guess creating an (EXTENSIVE) outline (prior to the actual commencement of writing the book) works well for me. It’s a YA cyberpunk/urban fantasy book with a neat hook (if I may say so)…so I’ll be doing my darndest best to come up with a good query + synopsis to accompany the ms.

I’ve usually waited till I’ve completed the book, before crafting the pitch and synopsis. I’m currently working on them all three at once, and making tweaks along the way when I feel I should.

I’ve an exciting [15-page (!)] advertising plan to complete for one of my subjects this semester. The plan I proposed was to draft a formalized advertising plan for the marketing of my self-published books [with the intent of gaining enough exposure over time so that I will: a) eventually establish a self-sustaining business model, and b) eventually garner the attention of a literary agent / major publisher].

I was hoping the lecturer would give me the okay, because I’d be able to actually put the plan into use in real life. I’m glad she did indeed welcome my proposal!…so I’ll be super busy, as usual, over the next few weeks…I’ve Herman Melville and Shakespeare to peruse too.


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