Tag Archives: Ambition

The day I juggled four identities.

Roleplaying an Imperial Agent isn’t easy.  You’re immediately instructed to be someone else to infiltrate an organization.

I’m a real person at a keyboard pretending to be Jelara, an Imperial Agent in the world of Star Wars, a woman vastly different from myself:

  • She IS a woman; I occasionally I act like one.
  • Incredible markswoman; I failed rifle marksmanship.
  • Fiercely loyal to the empire; I’m a libertarian.
  • Will sacrifice anyone and anything for her ambition…I’m probably not less evil, I’m just lazier.
  • She is EEEEEVVVVVVIIIILLLL

But Jelara is pretending to be a bounty hunter to infiltrate a Hutt agency. In-universe, she’s even told to lose the Imperial Accent, so in reality the voice actress sports an American accent undercover, British when speaking to fellow operatives. (The Star Wars universe implies brits are evil!)

Later, you must impersonate a cult initiate to learn the identity of a subversive group. That particular mission is available to all Empire characters, not just agents, so completing it as an agent adds complexity: Which identity had I assumed before I was assigned the mission? Was I Jelara, Imperial Agent? The Red Blade, a good-natured bounty hunter? An imperial officer of unspecified rank? Which of these faces is now pretending to be a cult initiate?

And when I answer questions, am I answering as the cult initiate, or my main character?

This question occurs often, moreso because not all identities are part of Intel Operations. Whenever a Sith Lord issues orders, I become a spineless sycophant, to the disgust of my commanding officer. Because conversations only take place “on the rails,” there’s no opportunity to inform my superior I’m just playing toady to win Sith trust — Jelara doesn’t actually buy their mad schemes. She’s too level-headed.

Likewise, companions always react to dialog as if Jelara really believes what she’s saying. You can’t explain, “That was all bullshit to see what information he had. NOW we can kill him.” 

It all points to my skill as an operative, really. I can remember when I’m pretending to be someone else, even if my companions forgot I’m just pretending and my superior officer doesn’t understand bootlicking.

So I take pride in double TRIPLE QUADRUPLE Q U I N T U P L E-guessing every dialog option before answering such complicated questions as, “Who are you?”

I’m a good agent. How good?

The man you know as Jason is just a façade.

 

Offered two jobs in two hours…what unemployment?

The morning of November 9th, I assisted visitors with conference room AV. They wore suits and the relaxed confidence of experienced businessmen. I wore blue jeans and my customer service smile. I made them laugh first and projected their content second. I don’t just connect cables and press the right buttons, I explain what I’m doing and why. I provide clear instructions, offer alternatives, pros and cons. I advertise how easy it is to reach me with questions.

“Want to come work in Iowa?” one asked. “We have an IT guy, but we kind of want to choke him.”

Obviously that’s at least half-kidding, but I made a good impression. They remember me as helpful and courteous. If I applied, I’d be ahead of other candidates.

The second offer was more serious. Read More →

The Votes Are In

I have enjoyed the responses to my announcement of completing FRAGILE GODS. Thank you all. As ever, your encouragement and support means the world to me.

I mentioned a couple of other projects as candidates for my next undertaking, and the support for ACCELERATING THE PROGRESS OF MANKIND BY USING YOUR TURN SIGNAL has been overwhelming. I’m very excited about this project myself, and your votes have only fueled the fire.

So with all the vigor of a rabid squirrel, I will now tackle the task of reforming the world in ways that will improve life for everyone. This project is proof that I won’t merely be content to be published; no, my ambition is such that I must change the world. (If changing the world comes with a paycheck, so much the better.)

It is refreshing to write nonfiction. It feels somehow cleaner. Don’t get me wrong; I think of myself as a storyteller. But nonfiction, particularly motivational nonfiction, is like telling you a story that might become true, just for the telling of it.

Personally, I can’t think of anything more exciting.

FRAGILE GODS Promo

One thing a writer needs to learn is how to write concise but interest promotional materials for his/her works. It’s tough; how do you condense 50,000, or worse, 300,00 words of epic story into a one-page summary that is at all satisfying? Almost any work of fiction is going to be better than it sounds.

Yet this is a must-learn skill for developing writers. In one sense, you’re a salesman pitching a product to agents and editors. If you can’t motivate them to sample your product, you won’t get far.

Here’s my draft for FRAGILE GODS. Feedback welcome.

When protectors become killers…

For thousands of years, elemental titans known as the Drim have guarded and served the Dolmec people. Now, for the first time in history, they have turned violent, and not even the priests who follow them understand why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Damek is annoyed when his older brother, Azai, advises him to abandon a quiet scholarly life for the chance to help Azai to stop a war. Though Damek does not share his brother’s ambition and arrogance, he realizes his existence has become tepid and stale. But when Azai instead incites lifelong pacifists to take up arms, Damek is forced to question his brother’s motives.

The penalty for success…

The proud general Shoji has won every battle he’s ever faced, and is determined to spend what’s left of his life quietly with his family. But the Emperor-god he serves has other plans.

At every turn, the lives of mortals are driven by the deities they love or fear. But what happens when the gods themselves fail?