Enduring November

Sometimes, the most reliable way to make progress is to be unambitious.

I started the month ambitiously – working on the Bobbyfox thing – but then a succession of events (including searching out a plumber, randomly exploding tempered drinking glasses, and more!) led to things being quite disrupted. Hanging onto ambition, under these circumstances, would have only frustrated me.

Setting ambition aside let me take my marginal wins and glue them together over the course of the month into small, but measurable and significant progress.

I am trying out a technique that’s interested me for awhile, but I’ve seldom had an opportunity to use it – writing the blurb for a book before writing the book.

The most promising result from my efforts for the Bobbyfox thing’s blurb, now working-titled Quicker than Blood, is as follows:

A dirt track at the dead of night. No electronics, which means no self drive, no navigation, no headlights. Eighty kilometres down the track there’s a black-market doctor in a village so small corporate security doesn’t even know it exists.

Erlnicht, the heist’s body-man, is in the backseat with a bullet through his chest, and Katie, the second-story woman, can’t stop the bleeding. Forty minutes ago Lev, the hacker, went dark after discovering a neo-cartel warlord is coming for them. An hour ago Miss J, the con-woman, left to deliver the score to their employer, but she has no idea what’s happened, or that a killer’s after her.

Bobby and his friends are the true children of the corporations – gengineered from animal DNA in a failed attempt to commercialize slavery. It’s long past time for them to take the inheritance they’re owed, but stealing from one of the Tri-Corp’s big three has kicked over a hornet’s nest bigger than they can handle. The corporate black-suits are after them, someone’s betrayed them to the cartels, and nobody knows who their real employer is.

He doesn’t know if they’re still going to get paid, or even if they’re going to survive the night.

All Bobby knows is that he needs to drive.


It has been pointed out that it could work just from ‘Bobby and his friends’ on, too.

Will I use the blurb exactly like it is here?… Maybe, maybe not. The interesting part of the technique is contemplating the story and plotline from the blurb’s perspective – it provides a whole new way to figure out where the spotlight goes, and, once I know where the spotlight goes, the shape of my plotline changes a little. The light helps all the little plotted plants grow, y’know?

(I knew I wanted to involve the neo-cartels/drug warlords, mentioned in passing by Marianna in Dog Country, but didn’t know I could make them focal!)

Currently I am in the middle of what is probably the best part of writing a heist – figuring out how the heists work. Unfortunately, since my setting is relatively scarce on large duffel bags full of cash money due to the digital nature of the New Dollar, this has also involved spending some time working out the parameters of digital currency. And, sadly, crypto does not provide a workable model.

(In short, crypto’s not decentralized – it’s hypercentralized on the public ledgers. Which also means that people’s assets aren’t private – a huge dealbreaker if you stop to think about it, who wants to live life with their bank account total hovering over their head? – and that your ability to utilize your assets are under the control of other people, be it the blockchain miners, the exchanges, etc, etc, etc, many of whom have a functional monopoly… there’s issues. Crypto’s not even good for dodging taxes and the law anymore, which was the early selling point.)

The digitization of currency, while making certain aspects of heists really difficult – stealing money basically has to involve identity theft, not just picking it up and running – also opens up the possibility for cool new scenes – having to tail someone to be close to the rest of their electronics, since that’s a security authentication check, for instance.

Also, biometric security? Puhlease. If someone can take a high resolution photograph of you, they have your biometrics, which means they can figure out a way to spoof any biometric check you care to name. (Which isn’t even going into the issues with biometric security and clones wandering around.)

All of this is exciting… but I’m behind where I thought I’d be, on my ambitious plan.

I think you’ll agree, however, that from an unambitious perspective, the progress is good.

So, I’m going to keep at it in small, unambitious steps that can keep building up into something good, and I very much hope your holidays – both recent and forthcoming – are good to you and yours.

As ever, thank you so much for all your support, across this year and others, and you shall hear from me again in the very early new year.

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By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.