I’ve been reading a bit about the chip “vulnerabilities” found recently in, well…pretty much everything. “Spectre” and “Meltdown,” they’re called. Now, the computer geek* in me has an interest in these things for a number of reasons…and the corporate management monkey in me who used to deal extensively with the planning and implementation of CRM and sales systems REALLY has an interest…
*And, yes, I do realize that this appellation doesn’t usually apply to folks with degrees in History and Linguistics. What can I say, I’m good at confusing people.
But the writer in me?
The writer in me is having a goddamned field day just making shit up about them. Err, “speculating,” I mean. Yeah, speculating, that’s it. No matter how you slice it, it’s still “making shit up,” but speculating sounds so much more complicated and serious!
Hell, the names of those chip vulnerabilities — defects, to you and me — are more than enough to get things going, even before getting to what they actually do. “Spectre,” for God’s sake? James Freaking Bond is behind me with a vodka martini fueled smirk, even as I type that.
“What,” my brain screams, “it’s not just Intel…it’s all of them?!?!”
That’s not a defect, that’s malfeasance!
It’s the NSA!
It’s the Illuminati!
It really is freaking SPECTRE!
Hell, maybe it’s KAOS, and Agents 86 and 99 are behind me somewhere, too!
Wait…I’m writing sci-fi: it’s aliens!
No, seriously, folks, THIS is (at least) half of what writing is: taking everyday, real-world shit and “speculating” your ass off. Stir the pot of your imagination…then start adding characters and plot hooks and various crises…marinate until well combined, then bake in your favorite word-processor until finished.
God, the making-shit-up part — the speculating, dammit! — is why writing is FUN. No, really — try it.
Even if you write the most serious, uber-intellectual literary fiction out there, do yourself a favor and let that bit of little-kid-imagination we all* still have lurking slip off the leash and run wild for a few hours.
*Mine just happens to be overdeveloped as hell…
Play with it…be silly, be creative, stretch the boundaries of how you would normally conceive of a story. You can always have a nap afterwards and return to normal.
And if you currently do let your imagination run wild on a regular basis — stop looking at me like that! — keep doing it. Just like your vocabulary, and your plotting, and your world-building, your imagination is a skill that needs constant practice and support to grow and strengthen.
For those new to writing, I cannot stress enough how important it is to work and stretch and develop that sense of silly, fun imagination. In spite of the names the uber-serious and pseudo-intellectual folks like to give such things — childish, immature, naive, pointless — you’re a writer! If you’re a fiction writer, your imagination is, at the end of the day, all you really have.
The dreams we had as kids? The games we used to make up? The stories we used to believe like they were real? If you can’t tap into that well — or at least into the memory of it — you are shorting yourself something fierce.
Plus, it’s fun as hell because, well…ALIENS!