Writing fiction is weird. The plot, which is the story of the characters, is not especially interesting. People are predictable in aggregate. Mostly they do mundane things for mundane reasons.
I am not claiming to be great at understanding people, but I have my own ideas, obviously. Writing psychologically realistic fiction is an exercise in building a model of people’s behavior and the applying it consistently. It’s mechanical but it’s the most crucial part, the grind
The interesting part of fiction, the world building, is tedious unless it connects to a relatable person. Characters are affordances into stories, plots are interfaces for idea transmission https://twitter.com/0x49fa98/status/1022157316529958912
Everything we do, we saw someone else do, probably many times, most of which we forgot. Internet memes are just a visible manifestation of behavioral memes which are older and deeper and more powerful
Modern storytelling at least works by assuming everyone has the most base and petty motive imaginable for every action they take, the legacy of psychotherapy and behavioral psychology and secular materialism
These are the only stories we have access to, all others have been rendered illegible by the above. Since behavior is mimetic and all our stories are about petty pointless assholes... anyway it’s a feedback loop since characters need to be relatable
I have techniques for world building, macros that I invoke to build components, components which I fit together into machines, machines which I then simulate in my head
First technique; mythologize the mundane. Think of something I do routinely and amplify it, imagine if it had tremendous consequences, construct a larger than life allegory for an action that contains some small tension
Second technique: read about emerging tech and pretend it’s already a commodity. What startups would I start with it? If I had VC backing, How would I monetize its complement?
Third technique: steal, blatantly and unapologetically. Find something someone else did and gut it and sew it’s corpse to my machine.
The contemporary writers I respect the most are Greg Egan, Peter Watts, Ted Chang, and Cixin Liu. I want to read things that peer into the future. Through the right eyes the whole world is a horror story.