Friday, March 30, 2012

Blogging A to Z: The A to Z of Fiction to Reality

A year ago, when the A to Z thing was going on, I had just started blogging. I hadn't even been at it two months when I found out about the challenge, and I only found out about it a couple of weeks before it started. I knew there was no way that I would be able to do that, post every day, in any kind of way that I would be happy with. I didn't want to be staring at my own posts thinking "how lame..." Save that for other people's posts, right? I knew that if I was going to ever do the A to Z challenge, it would have to be about something.

But that was a year ago, and, mostly, I just didn't think about it again. Well, that is until everyone started talking about it for this year. There's a certain amount of peer pressure involved in this whole thing which makes me want to avoid it. Everyone saying you should be involved and all of that. I'm fairly immune to peer pressure, so that didn't really sway me. And I knew that trying to post every day would, well, be impossible. That would mean a lot of planning. That would mean I would need something for my posts to be about. Not just a theme. Something they could be about.

And, still, there was everyone talking about it and talking about how they were going to do it and saying how everyone should do it and if everyone ate rocks, would you? Seriously? Because I think you would. And if everyone jumped off of a cliff, would you? Well, you probably would, because, really, you don't have a choice when everyone jumps off a cliff, because the ones at the front that can see the cliff coming can't stop because they're being pushed by the swarm of lemmings behind them, and the ones at the back can't see the cliff at all, so everyone goes over. It's just better not to get involved at all, wouldn't you say?

But, see, here's the thing. When everyone else goes and jumps off a cliff, you're left all alone, and, when you're talking about blogs, that's one thing you don't want to be. All alone. I kind of learned that last year. Everyone's busy with all the A to Z posts, and no one has time for anything else, so did I really want my blog to spend a month hibernating. Or, maybe, I should just take the month off? That didn't seem unreasonable.

Then... well, then, I opened my mouth. Sometimes, I say things that I don't intend to say. Okay, well, that's not exactly true. I never say anything I don't intend to say, but, sometimes, the things I say have effects that I don't anticipate. And so it was that I said something to my wife, just in passing, I thought, along the lines of, "hey, there's this big blog thing coming that lasts the whole month of April, and I'd kind of like to do it, but I'd need something really good for my posts to be about, and I'm not thinking of anything really good, so I'm thinking about, maybe, just taking the month off." Something like that, at any rate.

And here are the ideas that I'd already discarded when I said that to my wife:

1. Favorite words. That could be fun, right? Like for "A" I have adamant... and a whole bunch of others. And for "B" I have belligerent. But the idea didn't really grab me, and, for some letters, I'd have a lot of words and, for some letters, I'd only have one, so I really didn't like it for the whole inequality thing.

2. Star Wars. As many people can attest, there may be no better topic for me. I'm good at talking about Star Wars. I mean, I'm so good at talking about Star Wars that Briane Pagel is busy trying to think of ever more and more ways to make me lose points in his big Star Wars blogfest. Well, not lose points so much as let other people gain more points than me. Okay, well, he has, actually, come up with a way for me to lose points, too. Wow... So far, I've managed to keep my lead, but it is shortening. And that is why you should all go sign up for the blogfest. Because, if you do, you'll get 50 points, and I will, too, and, right now, I could use the point cushion! But, anyway... I thought about doing Star Wars, but, in the end, the topic was just too broad. Yeah, I know, that sounds weird, but I couldn't just talk about random things from Star Wars, so there'd have to be some way to decide between talking about, say, an A-wing fighter and Alderaan or, even, Admiral Akbar (and he's a double "A" topic!). Basically, I couldn't pick out a sub-theme I was interested in going with, so I had to discard Star Wars, too.

3. Well, there were any number of other ideas that flitted through this spot, but none of them took hold long enough to even stick as a third option. However, when you make a list, you must have 3 items for it to be considered a list, so #3 is for all of those other topics. The ones that weren't even good enough to be topics.

And that's where I was when I made that comment to my wife. Of course, she liked the idea of me taking a month off from blogging, because she thinks I spend too much time on the blog and not enough time on actual writing. Well, that doesn't sound right... Okay, more time on my actual book. How's that? She also thinks I spend too much time on Farmville, but that's a topic for another time. ANYWAY! (geez! would you people stop sidetracking me?) I think we were talking about the idea of taking a month off, but, then, she had an idea. Not an idea, the idea. Because my wife is good at ideas. And she said I must give her full credit for the idea or she would take it back. I'm not sure how that would work since I've written a bunch of posts already, but I suspect they would all poof out of existence, and I might well poof out of existence, too, for all I know. What I do know is that, at the very least, I'd be signed up for this crazy thing, and I'd have no posts to go with it, and that would really suck.

But the IDEA... and it's a really great idea, too. See, most of what I do on this blog is related to writing. Even the pop culture stuff, because the movies and all of that have to do with writing. And most of the other stuff I talk about I relate to writing in some way, too. Having a theme related to writing is, kind of, a no-brainer. Most of the A to Z blogs I saw last year that had a theme had some sort of theme that was related to writing in some way or another. And, well, I don't want to do some thing that everyone else is doing even if I'm participating in a big blogfest that everyone else is participating in. So it all has to go a step beyond. And that's what my wife's idea did.

So here you go... my more than a theme... it's more than a theme, because it's about how we are all affected by writers. And I don't mean we all as in us people that are writers being affected by other writers, because, of course, we are. No, I mean how we, all of us people everywhere, are affected by writers. Not just in what we read or watch or whatever but how writers affect our lives. But what does that mean?

Well, in my research for my individual topics, I discovered that there's this TV show by some physicist that is an ongoing exploration of current science fiction that could be reality some day. He has a book, too. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is, because you don't need to go look at that until May. But that's not what I'm going to talk about anyway. Not current science fiction. No, I'm going to talk about the ways that past fiction (not just science fiction) has become real and, to some extent, what that means to us. Okay, well, I'm  not going to talk about that part so much, because, really, there's just not time to do it within the confines of the blogfest, but I'm sure you'll be able to see how some of these things have changed our lives or will, soon, change our lives.

So... Starting on Sunday, what you'll be getting is 26 things that started out as fiction and are now real. That doesn't mean they're a part of everyday life, yet, but that the things work. Someone, somewhere, has these things now or is very close to producing them. Others are part of everyday life. But all of these things started out in the imagination of a writer. And, maybe, we'd have them anyway, but, maybe, we wouldn't. It's hard to say. The point is, though, is that writers are important. They have IDEAS, and ideas are... well, they are essential. Imagination is essential. And it's so often so easily dismissed.

And, if you've read my book, The House on the Corner, you might have an idea of how important I think imagination is.

At any rate, sit back, relax, and prepare to discover 26 things that you might not realize came from the pages of a book before it was something you could pick up and touch.


  1. I like that theme! I can think of many things that started out as fiction and are now real. Like iPads.
    Yeah, everyone gets really into the Challenge and those who don't participate see a big drop in comments. I didn't visit as many A to Z participants last year as I should've because I tried to maintain visits to all of my regular blogger buddies.
    Of course, that wasn't well over a hundred a day last year...
    I think I may explode this year.

  2. I told Pagel he should do Star Wars A to Z and even came up with a list from A to Z of topics he could cover. There is a lot you can talk about. The only one that stymied me was Z. I couldn't think of much good for that. I mean even Q and X were easy: Qui-Gon and X-Wing.

    People not doing it: if Grumpy Bulldog (who hates blogfests) can do it, what's your excuse?

  3. That is a really good theme. I'd read that. Oh wait, I will read that.

    So, I'm looking forward to it.

  4. Great theme! Sci-fi writing and modern technology are like that scene in The Matrix where the Oracle says, "And don't worry about that vase behind you" or some such thing, and Neo turns, knocking the vase down. Would the vase have been knocked over if she hadn't said that? Would those inventions have occurred if someone hadn't seen them or read them and figured out how to make them happen? Hmmmm...

    Lemming! ;-p

    I'd still check in on your blog if you weren't participating, though the co-host thing will keep me plenty busy. I tried to structure it so my typical posts will go on as normal, just themed to that day's alphabet, and then I have something just A-to-Z related that day. I didn't want to participate in this to the exclusion of all else.

  5. I'm still not sure what this whole A To Z thing is. I look forward to reading all these posts assuming I ever have time to read again. Next week and the week after and the week after look like they will not be the madhouse that this past week was... but that's what I said two weeks ago.

    I'm rambling. This sounds like an incredible idea. I will be whiling away my time in April posting things like weird pictures and stories about the time I almost got a Frozen Coke at Burger King, and you will instead be actually doing something literary.

    That is what separates

    1. The men from the boys.
    2. The writers from the hacks.
    3. The people who believe you can do a list of only two things and the people who know better.

  6. Alex: I didn't pick the ipad as one of my items. And I hopr you don't explode. However, if you do, you have to clean it up. I'm not cleaning up anyone else's insides.

    Grumpy: Zabrak

    Rusty: I hope you like it.

    Shannon: Yeah, that's exactly what it's like. It's hard to know what would have happened.

    Briane: You mean a frozen Coke like an Icee? Or was your Coke just frozen?

    >whisper< I just hope I can find something for all the letters now that I've posted this. There are still a few I'm missing.

  7. I'm looking forward to this, it sounds like it might throw up a few surprises. (No pressure though!)

    I wish your wife was at my house. My first idea was abandoned because I thought the posts would be too long, my second got dumped when I discovered someone else was doing it and my first idea was abandoned as I thought it might be too self-centred. Now, every day will be a surprise. To me as well.

  8. And of course, that last should be my third, not my first.

  9. Sarah P: I hope there are some suprises. Some of them should be expected, but I'm hoping to catch a few people off guard, too, with some of the things I'll be talking about.

    You shouldn't worry about long posts... I mean, look at me!

  10. This is a brilliant theme! I love it!

    Have you seen "How William Shatner Changed the World"? It was a show about a bunch of thing from Star Trek that geeky scientist figured out how to make. It might be good to check out for inspiration in case you get stuck.

    I will deffinitely be following your blog now. Not just in April. I'm glad you decided to participate this year!

    ~ Bonnie

  11. Bonnie: Thanks! I'm glad you like it.
    I haven't seen that show in particular, but I did run across quite a few show like that in my research.