I am doing National Novel Writing Month, writing a science fiction story called “Surprise Utopia.” The idea came to me after listening to a number of podcasts about the Singularity. The idea that the exponential growth of technology, especially artificial intelligence research, will lead to a point where the curve of our growth goes nearly vertical. Life after that point in time will be incomprehensible to us on this side of that point. My thoughts got me wondering what would life be like for every day people if they woke up one morning and found that life had fundamentally changed. Originally, it was the singularity and life was surprisingly similar to how it was before (just a hell of a lot better, hence the title) but as I write I find strange things happening to and among my characters and now find that the singularity is still coming and I don’t even know what form it will take.
I am fascinated by this process. I remember reading the story by JMS, creator of Babylon 5, about when the Centauri Emperor was murdered. As the story was outlined, it was going to be Londo. He had a darkness to him and it was a natural fit. But as he wrote the actual screenplay, when he got to that particular scene, it was innocent and timid Vir who stepped up to do the deed. JMS was very surprised at this twist in events but your characters take on their own lives and if you are a good writer, you get out of their way and let them do what they need to do.
And so, I find that all of my ideas of where this story was going to go have gone out the window. My antagonist is no longer an antagonist. One person was shot. One person killed another person. None of these events were planned but just appeared out of the ether as I wrote. I can’t wait to see what they do next and I can’t wait to see where this story goes and how it will end. It’s strange to think like that when I am the actual writer but that’s exactly what is happening and I love it.
It may well be that I am writing complete and utter drivel. But that’s a worry for December. For now, I am doing a crazy sprint (over 8,000 words alone today, doubling the size of my book in a single day) and not editing as I go. I only turn back to previous pages and chapters to make sure that I am not forgetting key plot elements and that I am staying consistent to my timeline. I’ll worry about cleaning it up and whether it’s even worth reading in December. For now, I’m just having a lot of fun.