Some time ago, Halsted M. Bernard tagged me in the Next Big Thing meme that's been going around. The intent is to share details about one's current writing project by answering a canned set of questions, so here goes.

  1. What's the title of your latest story?
  2. I've actually been working on various non-fiction projects lately, big and small, including a new epilogue for my memoir The Accidental Terrorist (which, yes, is still being shopped around). I'll soon be diving into a new short story for the Glitter & Madness anthology project, but that one doesn't have a title yet. So instead I'll talk about the novel I finally finished in November, which is called Waking Vishnu.

  3. Where did the idea for the story come from?
  4. For more than a decade I've been envisioning a fictional universe where physical items can be "magically" manipulated via hand gestures, as if they were blobs in an object-oriented programming system. I'd tried again and again to work out the story of the person who stumbles onto this magic system, but when I finally pictured the protagonist as a teenage girl the whole thing started clicking into place.

  5. What genre does your story fall under?
  6. Young adult science fiction, though it's designed to look a whole lot like urban fantasy at first.

  7. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie?
  8. This one is difficult for me to answer since most of the huge cast of characters are teenagers, and I'm not so familiar these days with what teen actors are out there. I guess my dream cast would include a bunch of young unknowns who all become stars as a result of Waking Vishnu. But I'd love to see the main villain of the novel, Ken "A.A." Sunshine, played by Christoph Waltz, who has the right combination of charm, smarm, and lunacy. I could see Danny DeVito and John Goodman as Lamm and Kray, two of the other important antagonists, and Emma Thompson as Principal Armisted.

  9. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?
  10. When an Indian-American girl named Hasta Veeramachaneni discovers she can control objects and people with hand gestures, she and her friends must race to discover the origin of the power while saving the world from destruction.

  11. Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?
  12. The novel is represented by Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary.

  13. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
  14. The first draft took me about 18 months and tipped the scales at 175,000 words—way too long for what it was. I've done two more drafts since then and trimmed it down to 120,000 words.

  15. What other stories would you compare it to within your genre?
  16. It's hard to make the most apt comparisons without giving a lot away about the story. If you compared it to something like Fair Coin by E.C. Myers, though, you'd be in the general neighborhood though not quite the same ballpark.

  17. Who or what inspired you to write this story?
  18. Two main factors conspired to inspire me to get started on Waking Vishnu. First and foremost is my wife Laura Chavoen, who works tirelessly to support my writing career. Second is the city of Chicago, which we moved to in 2007. Most of the novel is set in the same Chicago neighborhood where we live. Exploring the streets and alleyways while walking our dog helped me picture and block out a whole lot of the action of the book.

  19. What else about your story might pique a reader's interest?
  20. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but the book dabbles in Hinduism, hacking, and theories of consciousness. There are some awesome fight scenes (if I do say so myself), a helpful dog, an interlude at White Castle, a road trip to Mount Rushmore, killer demons (or are they angels?), a rebuke to God, various possessions, enemies becoming friends (and vice versa), a red Barchetta, and an implicit critique of a certain blockbuster sci-fi flick that I should not mention here (though its makers have a small, secret production facility in my neighborhood). Is that enough?
I'm not going to tag anyone else here, since all the people I was going to tag were tagged by Holly McDowell as I was about to tag them. (Don't worry, Holly. I'll get you back.) But if you want to be tagged, drop me a comment and I'll be happy to oblige you.


Crossposted from Inhuman Swill
So there's something of a meme on YouTube where people take that memorable scene of Hitler's meltdown in the German film Downfall and replace the subtitles. My favorite example of this used to be the one where Hitler rants about the changed ending of the Watchmen movie. That one's now been eclipsed by this more brilliant, pointed, and timely version:

Me meme

Sep. 18th, 2008 10:33 pm
(Via [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes.)

Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes. Don’t fix your hair. Just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable. Don’t go posting an eight megapixel image.) Include these instructions.

Me meme

I had to go into the pantry to get my iPhone, which was there recharging, or otherwise you might have seen all the packed boxes behind me right now. (Though I've been ferrying our plants, art, computer equipment, and other odd items to the new place all week, the big move takes place Saturday.) It only occurred to me after the fact that I could have used the webcam built into this fancy new Toshiba laptop (purchased yesterday, because packing my ass off doesn't mean there isn't time to go to Circuit City and buy a new laptop with which to write new stories in the new apartment), but I'm not used to thinking about there being a webcam in front of my face all the time yet. I just finished repainting a little strip of wall in the kitchen where our paper towel holder used to be. Fortunately we still have the leftover Glorious Gold in the storage room in the basement. Ella is keeping me company, by the way:

Ella:  ready to pack

And believe it or not, that's her prescription bottle in the cabinet behind my left shoulder.
Via [livejournal.com profile] nayad...

William Shakespeare

Out, damned Shunn! Out, I say!

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:
Via [livejournal.com profile] affinity8:

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.
Via Klima Kat:


Your Score: Ceiling Cat


42% Affectionate, 43% Excitable, 28% Hungry



You are a master of stealth. They never see you coming. But you always see them coming. HEY-O!

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
Via [livejournal.com profile] planetalyx, who was lucky enough to get to be Bennet.


Your Score: Zach


You scored 37 Idealism, 58 Nonconformity, 45 Nerdiness




You gotta embrace your inner freak. 'Cause the only thing you'll regret is denying who you really are.

Congratulations, you're Zach! You're nerdy, strange, slightly snarky, and proud of it! You're also a nice guy and really trustworthy friend. Any cheerleader (or, well, anyone) should consider his or herself extremely fortunate to be friends with a person like you.

Your best quality: You're an all-around great friend
Your worst quality: You don't get along well with annoying little brothers



Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test



Obviously a defective quiz.
Via [livejournal.com profile] gregvaneekhout and [livejournal.com profile] rajankhanna:

I am expanding on my answer to Question 11 in the recent Google Image meme, but not because John Klima is trying to shame me into it. Rather, my respect for him is such that I can't stand the thought of him feeling as if he looks like a tool.

If you had asked me 24 hours ago, I would have said my second-place crush was:

Falling after #1 Crush... )

Feel better, John? ;-)
Via John Klima:

Plug your answer for each question into Google Image Search. Post the first image that comes up.

Lotsa pretty pictures )
Via [livejournal.com profile] gregvaneekhout:

Everyone knows that a proper landscape drawing contains:
  1. a mountain
  2. a path, like a dirt hiking trail or even a paved highway
  3. some trees.
So be sure to include those in your picture below...

drawing personality

The results of your analysis say:

  • You tend to pursue many different activities simultaneously. When misfortune does happen, it doesn't actually dishearten you all that much.
  • You are a thoughtful and cautious person. You like to think about your method, seeking to pursue your goal in the most effective way.
  • You like following the rules and being objective. You are precise and meticulous, and like to evaluate decisions before making them.
  • You feel morose and are prone to lethargy.


What does your drawing say about YOU?

Nyah nyah

Mar. 14th, 2007 03:22 pm
Via [livejournal.com profile] quixote317, who provides good contextualization for this meme.

How smart are you?


By the way, that should say "Bet you aren't as smart as I."
Via Laura:

I Elfed myself.
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Venerable Lord William the Sentient of Fiddlers Green
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
Via Laura, via A Whole Lotta Nothing:

Flickr's Christmas Easter egg: Add a note to your photo with text "ho ho ho hat," and Flickr draws a Santa hat on it. Add one that says "ho ho ho beard" and you get a long white beard.

Example.


You are The Hierophant


Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.


All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.


The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I could drink 132.38 Starbucks Grande Caffe Lattes before croaking. How about you?
Via [livejournal.com profile] deadscrypt, who is also...


If you were a MOVIE VILLIAN, which one would you be!?

Lex Luthor

You are so dangerous and filled with evil that it's hard to imagine the world being able to stop you. You love to talk, and hear yourself talk, and can match wits with anyone. You love living the high life and stepping on the little people, intent on asserting your will on those who oppose. You also hate California.

From the Movie: Superman

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.



But I have to say, I don't actually hate California. I was born there!
The dreaded Soundtrack Shuffle Meme, via Tim Pratt.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?

  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every question, type the song that's playing
  5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
  6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...


So, I shift over to my Rock-O-Dex browser window, choose Advanced Search, set Limit to 20, and press Shuffle.1 Here we go!

[sound of needle dropping]

Soundtrack to my movie )

[sound of needle lifting]

Houston, I think we have a new mix disc. (And at 1:22:32, it would work with just a little judicious editing.) I'm a little startled and disappointed, though, that the soundtrack includes no jazz at all. I guess that's only about an eighth of my collection, but still.


1The odd thing is, I rarely listen to my full library on shuffle. Sometimes I will shuffle a particular artist or musical subgenre, or choose a set of albums to shuffle through for a party soundtrack, but almost never do I set the full 44,000-track library to shuffle. But when I happened across Tim's post, I was at that very moment listening to a 13-track selection playing randomly from the full library. Weird.

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