I promised I would do regular check-ins for NaNoWriMo 2017 all month. So, now that I’ve survived the first week – here I am!
Let me start off by saying that NaNoWriMo is a definite challenge, but it’s nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. That’s probably because up until the last two days before NaNoWriMo, I thought I had to write 100,000 words and had mentally prepared for that.
Wait! #NaNoWriMo is ONLY 50k words in a month? Not 100k? Let me just go take a walk over to my account and ease my pain by half lol
— Alexis Chateau 🇯🇲 (@alexischateau_) October 29, 2017
Now that I only need to write 50k, it feels like a step below a breeze.
In fact, not only have I met my word count goals every day, but I’ve exceeded them, and should be finished a little early. Keep in mind, I haven’t entered today’s word count yet, so that ETA is further along today than it was yesterday.
As a special treat (at least, I hope it is!) I’ve included a short excerpt from what I’ve been writing. If you missed my first NaNoWriMo post, it’s called House Arrest, and it’s about a scientist who becomes outsmarted by the AI he created, endangering his kids in the process.
Keep in mind that I have not done any editing at all — this is as rough a first draft as it gets, as I usually edit while I write.
An Unedited Excerpt
“Ladies and gentlemen, good day,” a voice carried over the intercom. “My Creator will be with you, shortly.”
Lefebvre looked around for the source of the voice.
“You won’t find me, President Lefebvre,” Ben addressed him. “I have no body, just a voice. The Creators have not yet entrusted me with one.”
The door behind them opened. Out of the corner of his eye, Lefebvre saw his aide’s hand go to her weapon, but it was only Dr. Osten who walked in, looking as unkempt as ever. She immediately approached to frisk him.
“May I present my Creator, Dr. Maximilian Osten,” Ben introduced him. “Dr. Osten is a doctoral graduate of the Technical University of Munich, and has pioneered research in AI development over the past ten years.
“He has developed AI technology for smartphones, smart cars, smart homes, and now, smart businesses – including the virtual assistant technology for the SI-8716 in the inner front pocket of your jacket, President Lefebvre.”
President Lefebvre felt eyes fall on him in the room. When the voice did not continue, he took the phone from his pocket to confirm that Ben’s surmise was correct.
“Thank you, Ben,” Max said as he approached the podium, knowing the AI had wowed the crowd. “Time, Monsieur President. What would you do if you had more of it?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” President Lefebvre answered, good naturedly. “The kind of job I have, the more time I find myself with, the more work tends to appear on my desk.”
The younger scientists laughed.
Max couldn’t help but smile, himself. He hadn’t expected that answer. “Fair enough,” he conceded. “But for scientists, company CEOs, logistics managers, and project managers at all tiers, time is something we could all use more of. And that’s where Ben comes in.
“So what, or perhaps more appropriately, who is Ben? Ben is an intuitive artificial intelligence system with administrative privileges. As he pointed out himself, this is much like the AI technology in smart cars, smart phones, and our smart homes.
“However, Ben is designed to handle tasks on a much larger scale – that of a business, or as he has demonstrated here, a lab. And perhaps, over time, even a country!”
President Lefebvre cocked an eyebrow at that.
“While this is impressive – at least, I think it is – it’s not what truly sets Ben apart from other AI systems,” Max continued. “Ben would you like to explain what makes you different?”
“I’m sure you could do a much better job, Dr. Olsten,” Ben declined.
That was an answer Max had expected. “As you see, Ben is not just a robot. He thinks. He decides for himself; unless, of course, I provide him with a direct order.” He paused, and then said, “Ben, please explain what makes you different from other AI admins.”
There was an audible sigh. “You know I hate talking about myself, Dr. Osten,” he said. “It makes me sound so pompous. Patting myself on the back, when I don’t even have arms.”
The President chuckled at that. “I won’t think you pompous, Ben,” he assured him. “Tell me about yourself. I’m curious.”
“Very well then,” Ben conceded. “But only because the President asks me, and so very nicely.” He was silent for a moment. “Please do not be alarmed. The lights will dim and the projector will come on shortly. You must excuse me for a moment, while I retrieve some files from the lab. Dr. Osten did not warn me that I would be presenting today.”
“Take all the time you need,” President Lefebvre replied, as the room darkened.
The projector light showed an eerie blue against the white board, with a transfer percentage bar in the middle. When the transfer completed, Max appeared on-screen, smiling alongside another scientist. She was brown-eyed and beautiful. He looked like a madman standing next to her; his brown hair flying wildly about his head, and her sleek, straightened hair pinned back in a bun.
“Though it is Dr. Osten who stands before you today, I am the brainchild of the late Dr. Cara Lecomte-Osten…”
Background of House Arrest
House Arrest was inspired by the bots Facebook created, who later went off-script and began to communicate in a language the engineers did not understand, but which accomplished the tasks that were set for exchange of predetermined goods.
This excerpt is from the ending of Chapter 1. Today, I’m working on Chapter 9. Feel free to leave feedback. I’ll be sure to come back to the comments if the time for editing comes around. Right now, I’m just writing. Who knows what — if anything — will ever come of this?
If you’re wondering about the politics behind President Lefebvre, he is actually one of the main supporting characters in the novels I’ve written for publishing. President Lefebvre is president of Soren Island. Soren is a socialist-democratic country I created for my series, and will likely continue to use for all my more serious novels in the future.
That awkward moment when you can't remember the population count for the country YOU created… #NaNoWriMo2017
— Alexis Chateau 🇯🇲 (@alexischateau_) November 8, 2017
Lefebvre’s unnamed aide is the major character from the aforementioned series. In this book, she says but a few words, but in the political fiction/ sci-fi thriller series I wrote, the story is told entirely by her, in first person.
But enough about that. Here’s to a productive second week of NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck!
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