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Saturday, July 05, 2003

Making more progress on Henderson. Mike has just enlisted John Dwyer as a fellow guinea pig. The old guy's going to make quite a recovery, I suspect. He's a former officer in the old Canadian Airborne Regiment (now disbanded), and his military skills may be useful.

Pretty soon I have to bring Patty Paek back into the story, so we have a sense of what she's up against. She's paralyzed, unable to speak, but still able to communicate by smiles and other body language. She's really feeling trapped in the prison that her body has become. I also need to think about what part she'll play when the bots have rebuilt her brain...and gone on to rebuild the rest of her as they also will with Mike and John.

Had fun this evening not only with the writing, but with learning how to jazz up this blog with a comments feature and even a visitor-count meter...not that this is intended to be a major public site. Still, it would be nice to get some feedback from the occasional visitor.

Being Plagiarized 

After decades of warning my students against plagiarizing their essays and reports, a couple of days ago I found I'd been plagiarized myself.

Some kid had created a series of columns of advice on writing, "Utopias Unbound," for a site called FictionPress.com. Two of his columns included straight cut & paste from the material on symbolism on my Fiction Writer's Page. Someone dropped me a note about it, and I in turn wrote to the kid and to FictionPress. So far, neither has replied and the material is still up--both on FictionPress.com and on the kid's own Website.

It would be flattering if it weren't so depressing. The kid obviously thinks writing has some kind of glory attached to it (he seems very proud of his own stories), but where's the glory in stealing someone else's stuff?

I tell my students they wouldn't accept a salary paid in counterfeit money, and they wouldn't pay for their tuition with counterfeit money either. So why should they think that counterfeit writing is OK?

Friday, July 04, 2003

Henderson seems to be moving in 500-word steps. Another 500 words tonight, and we're picking up speed. Mike has worked out the basic design for a virus-type nanobot, and his Korean colleagues see how it'll work. Mike is also intending to be the first experimental subject, but he's about to ask his octogenarian buddy John Dwyer to join in; John's dying of prostate cancer and doesn't have much to lose.

Didn't get anything written last night, because we went kayaking in Indian Arm on a perfect summer evening--must have paddled close to 10 km, and my arms were still sore this morning. But it was worth it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I've had a headache all evening, and I'm going to bed early. But I managed about 250 words on Henderson, so that's something. The ideas and formulas that came to him the night before have now impressed his colleagues, who recognize that the formulas describe components of a self-propelled nanobot that, like a virus, can force a human cell to make copies of itself. They'll soon realize that it's a highly organic kind of bot, capable of using the human nervous system to communicate with its copies...and with its human host.

More tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Happy Canada Day!

Spent much of the day uploading and formatting materials for an online course I'm going to teach in the fall. Took a while to get the knack of the Webcourse software, but it's not too difficult.

Finished chapter 5 of Henderson and moved into chapter 6--now just over 16,000 words. It's almost too much fun; I've been neglecting Deserters for a week now. Well, maybe tomorrow...

Monday, June 30, 2003

After spending the day on the textbook, I finally got around to Henderson this evening and wrote a very nice little scene that led up to Mike's getting an idea for "three-dimensional" programming of his bots...in effect, making them perform like real viruses only better. It even feels like the end of a chapter.

So I'm very pleased about that. We're up beyond 15,000 words now. I'd be happier if I were turning out 2,000 words a day, but it's moving right along at about the rate of one typescript page a day for the last ten days. Can't complain. And no doubt more tomorrow.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Made some good progress on Henderson tonight...a little bit of extra detail in chapter one, the removal of the last few paragraphs I wrote last night, and the addition of a whole new scene that works quite well--feeling awful, Mike gets a request from his buddy John Dwyer, down the hall, to come and rescue him. Way past 80 and dying of prostate cancer, John has fallen and needs some help getting up.

That's enough for Mike to break down and take one of the painkillers he got in chapter one, and it's going to help him not only to rescue John, but to get a couple of critical insights into the nanobot problem. That's a much more satisfactory way to get him to deal with his pain; Mike is too damn macho to do himself a favour otherwise.

More tomorrow. We're getting close to 15,000 words, which would be about 20% of the full novel.

As if I didn't have enough writing projects in hand, I'm also thinking about radio drama...almost 30 years after writing my last one!

In this case, it's thanks to the CBC Freelancers' Forum (see link to the right) set up by a former student of mine. It's been very informative about CBC radio markets open to freelancers. So I've made some rough notes about a series for The Mystery Project, which runs 30-minute radio dramas in series featuring the same main characters.

My series would be about a black barber in gold-rush British Columbia. I first met Wellington Moses while doing research for my book about the black pioneers of BC, and learned about his key role in identifying a murderer in the mining town of Barkerville. He was quite a likable guy. With that as a springboard, I'd propose a series in which Wellington solves a crime while cutting hair and selling his anti-baldness tonic. Could be a lot of fun.


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