Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Organic writing and Paper

This post actually will come in two part but they are related sort of.

I can't actually write my novels until I have a nice complete outline with a beginning, middle and end. By the time I am done with my initial outline it is usually about 1/10 of my finished books size. Which is cool. The thing is outline is only a road map to where I want to go. As the travel begins and I get to learn the characters I am dealing with I realize certain courses just won't work or other changes in direction just make more sense. The final destination is still the same (at least for now) but how we get there changes.

In this case the Sapphire Sirens starts out with a blackmailing case. I originally thought the blackmailer would be one person but upon further review while writing I just totally grew to understand that another person made much more sense. Not only where they a much more likely person to blackmail this subject but they also allowed me to weave another character into the plot in a much more believable (as much as anything in my stories is believable) way that allows me to cascade the incident into deeper parts of the story. All in all I am happy with the change. It just goes to show that nomatter how much I outline the actual writing always changes things.

Speaking of change, the blackmail itself sparked a bigger future culture and society issue. What the heck are we going to be doing with paper in 60 years? For the most part I think media on paper will become less and less prevalent as time progresses. I love paper. I love holding it in my hand. For longer stories I still prefer reading them on paper than I do screens. But I am middle aged and grew up with paper. Kids like my son and my newphew have grown up with web and electronic screens. They seem to have much less of an attraction to reading things on paper. I am assuming as time progresses and more and more youth who never knew days without the internet age, paper will become less and less important as a means of delivering information. Small or expandable screens we carry, or e-paper or even holographic paper will offer so many advantages to traditional paper that traditional paper from trees will become less and less common place as time progresses.

The thing is, if paper goes away, what the heck are we going to wrap things in? There are times such as giving holiday presents or when transporting items that we want them either protected or hidden or both by packaging. And when it comes to packaging for easy of use and availability you can't really beat paper. At least not yet. So how are we going to wrap holiday presents in the future? I guess we could put holographic covers over them but that just doesn't seem right. You can't rip of a holographic cover, there is no joy in that. My solution, nanopaper. Paper made from nanobots it's flexible, foldable and programmable. This way we can have our holiday presents and wrap them too.

Will it happen? Not really sure but it's fun and a little maddening to think about.

1 comment:

smokingpen said...

As you touched on the paper issue, I don't think that paper will ever actually disappear. Some of the problems with databits is that they are just that databits. So, records will (I think) always be kept on some kind of solid medium that is storable and renewable. The renewable is the big issue. For many, the idea of cutting down trees to make paper is old fashioned and dangerous to the environment. And yet, when properly done, most paper or even wood producing operations are renewable and have an environmental 0 impact. When done improperly, then there is a negative environmental impact.

What this means to me is that humanity has to develop new means of producing something like paper that does not include going back to velum (animal skin) or overproducing cotton and using the natural fibers that are actually very bad on the agriculture and is still reproducable and has a 0 or plus impact on the environment. To listen to Al Gore, anything we do regardless of positive, negative, or neutral is ultimately negative. But then, Al Gore ignores research that suggests increased CO2 helps the production of agriculture. Those same scientists agree that CO2 is bad and that we are producing too much of it, but more than has been produced before the 1970's is still better than no production at all.

With that said, the thought of where to get paper is: bamboo. Bamboo has a positive effect on the environment, it is a CO2 consumer which means that it is also an oxygen producer. On top of which bamboo grows at (up to) 3 inches a day which means that the production of bamboo in the right environment means that production only has a positive impact all around.

The nano idea is good, though, as is true of Occam's Razor, often the least complicated answer is often the best one. With that said, if it was uncomplicated I don't think that Zach would be doing it.

John