Sunday, April 28, 2013

Random Stuff (And Other Stuff)

It feels like the year was just starting last week, but here we are, ending the fourth month and one step closer to summer--which is the only upside to life zooming past us so out of control. That and, for me, being closer to finishing the semester.

One of my classes required completing about 30 short papers by the end of the semester and, well, I have this nasty little habit called procrastination. Not to mention that I was already feverishly hard at work on my current manuscript, so my prioritization skills suffered quite a bit.

I was in a mad dash this past couple weeks getting the assignments finished on time, and in the end it worked out quite well like a 90's family sitcom. 

Almost anyway. Just need to take a handful of exams without ripping my hair out in the process. No biggie!

On the writing front, I'm close to finishing my third manuscript. And it looks like utter garbage from where I'm sitting, which is a stage I go through with all of my stuff, but for the first time, I'm seriously considering rewriting the story completely. The plot itself isn't too bad. But it's the world and the characters that I'm thinking of changing around. From a fictional fantasy world to an urban setting. High school and small town instead of some faraway island in a faraway kingdom.

Crazy, right? Not even sure it can be done.

Pros: Now that I have a more vivid idea of the story, I can go into it a second round with more confidence. I know what to add or omit, what to emphasis or lessen. Which characters need more screen time and which could be tossed aside. And I think this story would really shine in an urban setting.

Cons: Some things might get lost in the transition. It's hard to change the setting and not encounter problems on how to fit the story and the characters into a new world. I've been thinking things over, trying to find a balance that would keep the core of the story the same while changing the details, and it's a challenge.

But I love challenges. As impossible as this seems at times, I love trying to solve it. Working out the logistics in my head, finding answers by trying out different combinations of things. And ultimately, whatever I decide, I know the manuscript will be better for it.

On a completely random note, I was talking to someone the other day about the train/trolley ethical dilemma, which goes something like this:

Five people are stuck on train tracks and will be hit by an oncoming train, unless you pull a switch that diverts the train onto another track. But there is one person stuck on that second tracks. Would you pull the switch that kills this person, knowing you'd save five others? Now say that you have another situation: five people stuck on the tracks and a train heading their way again, but this time, the only way to save them is to shove a 300 pound man into the path of the oncoming train, which will derail it. Would you physically push this person into harm's way to save five other lives?

So while I'm discussing this, my eight-year-old nephew is listening attentively and he approaches me when the discussion ends. This is the conversation that ensues:

Him: I have one.
Me: Okay, go for it.
Him: Let's say you're driving your car and you see five squirrels in the middle of the road. Would you hit them or would you swerve out of the way and crash your car into a tree to save them?
Me: And those are my only options?
Him: Yes, they're your only options.
Me: Eh, I guess I'd run them over.
Him: *jaw drops* Let's try that again. This time, there are FIFTY SQUIRRELS on the road and you have three choices. You can hit them, or you can go on the sidewalk and run over pedestrians, or you can hit the tree. Choose wisely!
Me: *shame-faced but honest* I'd...still run over the squirrels.
Him: I never knew you were so heartless. Human life isn't more important than squirrel life!
Me: It's not?
Him: Of course not!
Me: Okay, okay, I guess I'll just crash into the tree in that case.

Life lessons from an eight-year-old. In all honesty though, if I saw fifty squirrels hanging around in the middle of the road, I'm probably better off running them over to end the squirrel invasion.

(And no, I've never run over an animal in my life, so I just might swerve and crash my car if a real life situation pops up).


  1. Haha! Oh my. :) Squirrels are one of my favorite animals! (Everyone else just thinks I'm crazy. :P) Your nephew seems like a very philosophical eight year old.

    1. Hehe, squirrels are cute...from afar. I kid. =P And he's way too intelligent for his own good.