Hackers are coming

I read this article in the New York Times and spent a morning gloating. After all, back in 2011, I built my first novel, Fatal Score, around the likelihood that there would be a cyber war and groups of good (white hat) and bad (black hat) hackers would be roiling cyberspace. How clever of me.

Then I spent the afternoon of that day thinking, Holy Shibbit—if an ordinary citizen could come so close to reality, why haven’t we been building that national firewall I predicted in Fatal Score? We apparently have known for years that security is weak, or at least uncoordinated and sporadic. Now, here we are.

And then there’s the Russian oligarch thing. We’re surprised at this vague force involving itself in cyber warfare? Really? It seemed an obvious evolution in Fail Deadly, which I’m currently sending out to agents. (sidebar: if anyone would like to be an advance reader, let me know through the ‘Contact’ tab.)

Am I clever? I’d like to think so. Of course, there is the fact that I can’t install a disposal and Google Drive won’t give me back the files I put there. But the cyberwar that’s coming is also an obvious development. I can only hope that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes involving huge resources and people at least as clever as the hackers.

Dialog vs. Narration

“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.”

One of the most common suggestions I get from my critique groups is to switch from narration to dialog or (rarely) vice versa. By letting characters speak, dialog injects emotion, personality, and movement, particularly if the words are in the character’s voice and fall trippingly on the tongue, as Hamlet instructed his players. But direct speech requires more space (and two or more people, unless one is writing internal monologue). Narrative stops the story while the author tells the reader stuff; however, narrative is efficient: a short paragraph of narrative can often get across information that would need several pages of conversation.

At least in most writing, dialog is the “Let’s do this ..” part of the story, and narrative is the “and here’s how it happened and why” part.

Not giving details speeds up the story and creates tension. Unfortunately, one of the thesaurus synonyms for tension is confusion anxiousness, and agitation.  Narrative is the train standing in the station, loading passengers. Dialog is the train moving out of the station toward its destination.

Those of you who have been with me for a while have surely noticed that I have written fewer posts in the recent past. Given pandemic restrictions for nearly two years, there should be more posts, right? I guess, without really analyzing it, I was following form. Pilgrimage was, after all, established to trace my learning cycle as a writer. Insights, at least large ones, have become fewer as I’ve progressed. So posts have become fewer. Sooo … I’m planning to broaden my focus a bit, and post a bit more often. If you have writing topics you’d like to discuss, shoot them to me.

And, as always, thanks for listening.