Saturday, 21 January 2017

Resistance is futile

I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg.

"Don't be tempted by flesh."
At least I am in one parallel universe. And how deliciously ironic that it should be the lure of assimilation that should reacquaint me with something so organic and vital. Something I'd sadly forgotten: the pleasure of writing just for fun, for its own sake.

I was raised by Trekkies so I never stood a chance, really. My brother and I grew up with the original series and it was our geeky family tradition (once we had the entire series on VHS - oh, those were the days!) to take turns choosing an episode to watch during dinner. There was no prize for winning, but there was kind of a competition to see who could guess the episode first. Some of them ("Devil in the Dark" springs to mind) could be guessed from the opening shot.

There were conventions, costumes, memorabilia, gushy fangirl encounters and all the books, movies, games and fanzines. I still have the commemorative 3D chess set and the original phaser and communicator (out of the packages, of course - no WAY was I not going to play with those!), but alas, my uniforms are lost in the mists of time. As is the Bajoran earring I made and later sold on eBay.

"I always thought Starfleet had a lot to learn
from ME, Captain."

But hey, back to the writing.

I'm completely hooked on the Star Trek Timelines game, and I have my brother to thank for finding some like-minded people to form a fleet with. I've been roleplaying with them for nearly a year and together we've written a fairly epic saga. It's more than just RP or fanfic. It's like a living, breathing world and we treat it like a TV series we're all simultaneously writing, starring in and living as our characters. And those of you who know me know that my head can hold a lot of identities!

Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own.

It's been so much fun to collaborate with others (incredibly, something I've never really done before) and it's become my Chinese New Year resolution: to collaborate on a story with someone. John and I already have a quirky horror novel planned together, as well as a steampunk trilogy (oh yes, just you wait), but I want to write some horror (and/or SF) with my other writer friends also.

The RP continues to be a real joy and some of the things I've written in character are things that never would have come otherwise. I usually have so many projects on the go that the very idea of writing something just for fun would be unthinkable. Even (gasp) self-indulgent! But if you only focus on the "job" aspect of it, it can start to BECOME a job. And I confess that sometimes I've fallen a little out of love with the process.

Humans. Flawed. Weak. Organic. But we evolved to include the synthetic.

A whole SF story grew out of one little RP vignette I wrote and I've had ideas for many more. But that isn't the goal, and that's what makes all the difference. There's nothing at stake, you see. And that nagging voice in the back of my head, the one that tells me (and all writers) that I have no talent, that what I'm writing is crap, that no one will want to publish it, let alone read it, is silent when I'm just having fun. I can truly let go. It's made writing the stories I'm actually supposed to be writing so much easier and enjoyable.

My RP character is a Vulcan, but an unconventional one. She's a thrill-seeker who rejects the philosophy of logic and suppression of emotion. She's also a bit mad.

"Dif-tor heh smusma."
It's incredibly liberating to inhabit a headspace like hers and recently she's taken me somewhere I've always fantasised about going: she got assimilated by the Borg. For ages I've been wanting to write about the fusion of man (well, woman) with machine, but kept getting stuck. Now I know exactly how I want to do it.

Of course, I do have several horror projects on the go as well, but I'm finding it less of a struggle these days. I don't sit there staring at the blinking cursor for ages, paralysed because I can't think of the perfect word or phrase. Now I'm too eager to write the next thing to waste time torturing myself with my usual neurotic insecurities.

So for those of you who, like me, sometimes lose sight of why we do this mad thing, why we make stuff up and spend hours obsessing over every word and then spend more hours fretting about how we're frauds and no one will like what we wrote...

"One to beam up, Captain."

Cast your mind back to all the fanfic you've written, all the fantasies you ever put into words, all the people you pretended to be. You can't begin to imagine the life you're denying yourself if you don't.

Lower your shields and surrender. Resistance is futile. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy 2017!

Wishing everyone a HOWLINGLY good 2017!

It's become a tradition. (3 times makes a tradition, right?) Every year John and I do a film tribute to end the year.

Last year we wished you a very HANNIBAL New Year...

And the year before that, we wished you a SHINING New Year.

So now here's hoping for a happy and healthy 2017!

All the best to you!