writing tagged posts

The Boot Up of The Human Algorithm

Category: Books

For the first post after the first post, I wanted to cover a little about exactly how my first three books progressed from nothing to something.  Tracing the beginning of a something like an idea is a daunting task.  It is conceivable that I could go back as far as middle school classes or writing stories on AOL BB’s (bulletin boards) or a great extinct website called The Reader’s Vine or even my first failed attempt to write a book back in High School.  I will leave that ancient history for another post on another day.  For this book, there are a couple notable events that stand out in my mind as the main catalysts.

The idea to write about computers and technology was a no-brainer for me.  They say to write about what you know, especially when it is your first book, or if you are struggling to get words on the page.  Since I took my first computer programming class in 11th grade I knew I would be a computer programmer.  After school I went into software development.  So when I started coming up with ideas for a book, technology was my entry point.  I wanted to focus on the software side of technology, but I felt like that was too intangible to write a whole story about.  Hardware, cell phones, TV’s and the like don’t particularly interest me as much as software, but when you know “computers” you instantly get lumped into a bucket that family and friends refer to as “Tech Support”.  So over time, I have developed a substantial knowledge on the topic, sufficient to supplement the software in the book.

With the genre decided, I needed a story, characters, and a setting.  By nature, I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  The best motivator that I have found is a challenge.  Set a goal and a date, make it a competition, and make it difficult.  So when I heard about National Novel Writing Month, I signed up immediately.  National Novel Writing Month (or more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo) is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  The first year I heard about this, I started a few days late (which already makes a touch challenge nearly impossible), but I also missed some days due to work commitments.  But during the days I did participate, I started the tale of the Human Algorithm, with a few key differences.  The law enforcement / police character was not the main character, but a secondary one, still very important to the plot, but not the absolute focus.  The main character was a computer programmer, of course.  So as you can tell, these characters were eventually merged.  Many of the elements of this first book survived into the Algortihm Trilogy.  For example, there was a SHADE type organization that operated in secret, and a DMZ area where technology was barren.  The writing of this first draft had a number of plot problems and silly scenes that did not fit the tone I wanted to achieve.  So after I abandoned my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I also archived this original writing for reference, bust started again from scratch.  The following year I took another shot at the 50,000 word challenge, this time armed with 2 full sized poster boards drawn from edge to edge with diagrams of the world and flow charts of the plot.  The second time I succeeded.  Five full length revisions and I feel like it is time to let the words out into the Internet, where they rightfully belong.

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