Skip to content

J. M. Butler Posts

A Non Ideal Start to the New Year But Hope Remains

This new year’s start may be one of the more frustrating starts that I have had in quite a long while. It will get better. No doubt.

But what all has happened?

Well, I am leading into a book release, one that I have been excited and preparing for a long time. I have been working on a version of Identity Revealed (Tue-Rah Chronicles) for approximately twenty-six years. It’s been a long journey with so much learning. But our finances took a hit and required shrinking the budgeting plan significantly (in all seriousness, this is not a big deal because, as I am publishing independently, I can build on the marketing, and this will strongly encourage me to explore free options and create my own solutions).

Then on Christmas Eve’s Eve, my poor dear husband fell sick. We weren’t sure whether it was tonsillitis or strep throat. I joked that we would find out which it was based on whether I got it. It was strep. I got it. I also found out firsthand that nausea and vomiting can accompany a robust case of strep. On the bright side, at least now, once I get over this secondary infection, I will be through with being sick for awhile. I hope.

Follow that up with two key clients deciding they were not going to pay us, and the season got a little tighter.  (More opportunities for creative solutions.) Then we found out that paperwork we had filed four years ago was not perfectly accepted. It was mostly accepted. There was enough of a holdover with the government to trigger additional fees.

Heater problems, leaks, and an unfortunate incident with cats and an overdry Christmas tree later, and the Internet also decided to stop working. Intermittently. During business hours and at night. Which put plans and work further behind but gave us some stories that will hopefully, in retrospect, be amusing.

This and so much more has made the start of the year and the past few days rather frustrating. But I still believe it’s going to be a good year. Partially because I plan to try to make each day better if I can.

There are lots of rough points that show up. And feeling frustrated isn’t the problem. I know that a lot of you are also going through rough times. I think half my friends are sick between strep and flu and some upper respiratory, not to mention chronic illnesses, and some have had tragedies that will take quite some time to recover from.

But each day is a new opportunity. Each moment is a new opportunity. No matter how hard it is, if you can pick yourself up and keep trying, you are winning more than you stopped. And if you need to stop for a bit, regroup and regain your strength, that’s all right too. Not everything has to be done today (thank goodness!). So do what you can. Look for and celebrate the good. And rest.

May your year get better and better from here on out, regardless of how it started.

Pushing On Through the Discomfort

One of the key points that Jeff Goins makes in his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, is that practicing in public is essential. He uses Picasso as his primary example, featuring his association with the esteemed Gertrude Stein and other magnificent creators of the time. While I don’t seriously want to live in another time period (pretty sure, I’d get myself killed in record time), I would have loved to be around such creativity and expression. (If I ever get to time travel and go meet people, I have a ranked list. Come on, science! I have the best adventure planned!)

Anyway practicing in public has been one of the hardest elements for me. Part of it is because I struggle with marketing. I am getting better with it. In fact, I am miles ahead of where I once was.

For the most part, this is a head struggle. An unfortunate belief that I have to be invited to participate as well as exposure to individuals who are exceptionally annoying with their self-promotion hangs on. My mind went to extremes in its assessment of what an author had to do, even though I had examples of creators who did it well. I suspect that the desire to be asked (because that means one is wanted) is the most deeply rooted.

Ultimately that is rooted in fear or pride. I suspect mine is a mix. I mean, it’s nice to be asked and wanted, but it also means that there isn’t as much risk.

So yes, I have been pushing forward with addressing this fear, unease, and discomfort. It’s annoying that it has taken this long. I would like to see faster progress. But, for anyone who is still in the early stages of the journey, it does get better. It’s not a fast process. And it requires intentionality.

That’s probably the most frustrating and yet encouraging part of all this. It’s a process. It doesn’t get overcome with a single win, but neither is it destroyed with a single loss. Each day, it has to be addressed (or at least most days; it is a faster process if you do it more regularly). One of my tools is a to do list that breaks down what all needs to happen with set deadlines.

In addition to this, I am doing the “write 500, practice in public” challenge.

Now, as I mentioned, I’ve been writing every single day for years now. Over twenty-five years at this point. It’s almost always been in a fairly quiet way. A lot of days, no one sees anything I write. But for a time, I wrote and posted every day on Wattpad. Some good did come from that, but I need to do better about focused practicing in public.

See, where I always dropped the ball (often knowingly) was in not advertising what I was doing. I’d promote other people, but not my own stories. And it literally only takes seconds to customize a link and prep a tweet or post for the various social media platforms. Writing the chapter or blog post takes far more time.

So to get better in this regard, these are the simple tasks that I am going to take to make my practicing in public more meaningful.

  • Post at least once a day
  • Promote at least one piece I have completed
  • Invest time in choosing good keywords
  • Correct my categories (blog specific)
  • Choose tags for better focus (includes research)
  • Use the customized hashtags I started branding

There is more that I can do and will do in the future to make this more meaningful and effective. It will also be in conjunction with my other advertising and marketing journeys as I continue to learn more about Facebook and AMS and so forth.

So what about you? What is your most persistent challenge with succeeding in your writing dream?

Jeff Goins’s Challenge for 500 Words a Day in Public

Every month brings with it new challenges, some intentional, some not. In November, I intended to participate in Jeff Goins’s Practice in Public for a month challenge. It’s a fantastic idea, and it is certainly one that I need to improve on.

But, some serious problems developed within the course of the month that led to my being able to compete the writing with ease but not all the posting.

So when Jeff Goins posted a new challenge, which is the 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge. The goal is simple. Write at least 500 words a day, and do it publicly.

Now technically, I have been writing every day for years. Ever since I was a little girl actually. When I was a kid, my grandfather, father, and mother all told me that the only way to get better was to do it every day. And, for whatever reason, that but not flossing connected. In fact, if I don’t write, I start to get nervous. Hitting 10,000 words a day is not nearly the challenge it used to be. It’s something of an addiction.

What I do struggle with is doing my art in public and talking more freely about my projects.

I tend to write and write and write, do some editing, and then put off the marketing and audience building because it is the part I am least comfortable with. Over the years, I have become more comfortable with the various aspects of this. Releasing multiple books and allowing for a slow marketing build has worked to my advantage. I’ve made enough to pay some bills, read a lot, and tried out some techniques. But I haven’t sunk a great deal into it because, well, financial challenges and because most of the stories I am releasing are directly connected (the other series with a couple exceptions are indirectly related and will come together). I have told myself that I will significantly increase all marketing activities once I have more stories published. On January 11, I reach the critical point for the marketing push, and actually things have shifted already. All of the remaining head baggage and excuses have to be jettisoned.

So my primary reason for accepting the 500 Word a Day Challenge is for the public practicing. And also because I love discovering new writers, and where better to find them than when they are just starting off and could especially use that little bit of extra encouragement and love?

It’s going to be a great event. I really do want to see what would happen if I became significantly more regular in posting online. I used to post daily on Wattpad, but, after Wattpad’s handling of certain situations relating to author protection as well as miscommunication and arguable lies from the HQ, I chose to step down and away. Whether I will return, I don’t know.

However, I am going to make sure that I practice in public and do it in a more targeted fashion. I’ll share more about my plan for that tomorrow.

Now if you’re also a writer and you’re interested in this challenge, definitely stop on by. You can find more information here: https://goinswriter.com/my500words-ty/?inf_contact_key=2c819b6f31e6aa896f8bad86b3eef06f4682ec067d2b28e10a3202d6dc070e39

Until the next time, have a great day and much love!

Little Successes

I am writing and posting this quietly because I am excited but the buy links aren’t up yet and I don’t want to do official promoting.

However, today, this very special day, I have published two stories. Through the Paintings Dimly and Alone are both in the system.

The blurbs might not be perfect. Some matters need to be tweaked, and I should probably add in some ads and such. But step by step, it happens.

 

Each day comes

Take another step

One step, three, ten or a hundred

 

Just watch and see

My stories come to be

 

A Quiet Little October Thursday

All of my creative endeavors and hopes for this weekend look as if they might be coming into question. Unfortunately this little $100 laptop that I picked up as an emergency backup almost a year ago has decided that it is better to be difficult than reliable. In fairness, the poor thing has been under extensive writing strain being my laptop. I use it regularly, and it has served well up to this point. So I will forgive it.

Meanwhile, thankfully I brought two notebooks though not my binder filled with lined paper. Instead I grabbed a binder with grid paper. The grid paper isn’t quite so bad for writing as I expected, but I do prefer a soft green tint on my steno pads and lined paper if at all possible.

Well regardless, it’s all right. I just have to be cautious what I put up on my laptop. No multi-tasking.

To be fair that will be an interesting exercise for me. And it probably won’t be true focus in that I do have my phone, and I could just listen to something while handwriting. But quite so many irons can be in the fire at once.

This slower progress has caused me to focus more on other items. I’ve got an ever growing list of articles to write and a clearer picture of what I want to create. Hopefully the certification progress goes well. We shall see.

Happy Book Birthday to Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them

Today is an incredibly exciting day because this is the day that my incredible friend, Debra Goelz (aka Brittanie Charmintine) releases her story, Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them on audiobook with Hachette.

Now this is a deeply personal story for me because I’ve gotten to see it develop. There’s something special that happens when you get to see an incredible story developing beneath your eyes and you get to talk to the author and see the amazing (albeit headbangingly frustrating for the author) process.

I’ll be doing a more formal review about this, but let me tell you my thirteen favorite things here.

  • Mer people! (who actually have to do math)
  • Magic-altering tears
  • Rainbow eyes
  • Vampire trope inversion
  • Sea horses!
  • Supernatural teachers with amazing courses (I wish these were offered here!)
  • Cupid
  • Kisses (sometimes in flight, even, hmmhmm)
  • Sneaky sneaky escapes
  • Witty tongue-in-cheek sense of humor
  • Cupcakes
  • Corndogs (I might not enjoy them but Waverly makes them sound so appealing)
  • Shark battering rams

So far as I am concerned, this is a must-read. I mean must-listen. It’s perfect for the summer or for those who wish summer was still here. Or those who just love mermaids. Pick it up here.

Do sign up for her newsletter as well here.

And guess what? She’s hosting a fantastic contest with some great prizes. Opportunities for writers and artists. Check it out here. There are prizes up to $100.

Beautiful job, Debbie. I can’t wait to hear it again and read more of your stories in the future.

#MeToo: Mixed Feelings More From Life Than #

The #metoo is something which I have strong and mixed feelings toward. I don’t know that it’s bad. But one of my friends, Katherine Coble, pointed out the tragedy of this situation, referring to this as a “place where we have to continually expose our pain, make ourselves vulnerable in order to make clear a basic point.”

That sums up precisely how I feel. And let me make clear, I and many others posting this hashtag are not saying that we are only victims (this is not some prize that we won either). We are survivors.

But we are survivors who have to prove not that we have survived but that we were injured in the first place. And subsequently we must demonstrate that it was an actual injury and not some mere scrape or inconvenience or misunderstanding.

Even posting about #metoo makes me feel vulnerable, broken, weak, as if I have somehow failed (though what exactly, I can’t tell you). I do not like feeling this way. I don’t like to remember what happened on these occasions (because yes, there was more than one). But here are some of my thoughts on it.

Evidence Needed

It feels like in part I have to put myself on display to validate many issues. Tear off the veils and expose the scars, break down the walls and show off the wounds. And, to a certain degree, that is necessary. Evidence is needed in many cases. But sometimes that supposed balance tilts so far over the other direction, it feels like there is not enough. That there will never be enough unless it’s the ideal case with objectively demonstrable facts. And that creates a heavy burden that crushes the will to speak or to act when you know that, despite the letter of the law in some cases being on your side, the practice and the individuals involved are not.

I accepted in one instance that there was not enough evidence to support my claim and let it go. Even then, I understood that the worst part about many of these situations is that they can be hard to prove. In that case, the eczema lesions were bloody and covered a broad enough span of my body complete with bruising, particularly where I was grabbed, that there was no independent evidence. And I simply wanted it to be over and forget it ever happened. I also felt intense shame that I could not reason my way out of, and in another case, I was instructed to let it go because he was “mentally damaged and this will go badly for him.”

To be clear, this is not something I want to have a dialogue about aside from in general terms. I only want to use what I need to to make the point that it has happened, and it was violent. (Some might say and have said to me that those who wounded me can no longer hurt me so I should speak up and be loud, but I would counter, no. You cannot force me, and you do not have the right to compel me. I do not ask for pity, and I do not ask for chastisement either.)

Some of the questions and analysis must come about when these matters are investigated. I do understand this. We live under a system of law which in theory follows Blackstone’s formulation that “it is far better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongfully convicted.”

But it so often seems that in the case of sexual violation and misconduct, the guilty go free and the innocent suffer (which includes the wrongly accused). (This is in part because our system is one that does not focus simply on the facts but in which legal play and connections and deals make a difference. Justice could be blind, but she is not the only one surveying the case.)

In the times when it happened to me, I did what I thought was best. It was not always what was wisest. (Which is part of the reason that we need to be clear and empathetic about how to handle these situations. Young ones are often the target, and if they get separated from good counsel and their families, even when they have good ones like mine, matters often become worse.)

We need to move to a point (or create a better one as such a place didn’t ever completely exist) where we go back to the focus on justice and protecting the innocent without also sacrificing the wounded on the altar of entertainment, gossip, and convenience.

What About the Liars or the People Who Want Attention?

And inevitably from this will come the “what about people who make it up?”

One of the most traumatizing events for me in college came from a bond I made with another young woman. Somehow in a conversation after midnight, we began talking about life and tragedy, and I let what happened to me slip. She shared that she had been brutally raped. I was horrified. He had gone completely unpunished. She showed me his picture, told me horrifying details. And I decided to support her the way I had needed someone to support me but couldn’t articulate.

I did research standards for the county we were in. Got phone numbers. Contacted the necessary people. She expressed little interest in pursuing anything related to it.

What terrified me was that he started showing up. He lurked near our dorm. He appeared in various places. One night he arrived as we were leaving. He was within arm’s reach and called out to her. I hit him across the knees with a parasol and told him to get back, I was going to call the police. He was confused. She didn’t want me to do anything about it.

Maybe a week or so later, I saw on Facebook, they were dating. I wasn’t sure what to think, but when I talked to her, she admitted he hadn’t raped her. She had said that he had because they had sex and then he broke up with her but now wanted to get back together. (For my readers who aren’t from a conservative religious background, sex before marriage is still a very bad thing because sex is to be saved until marriage.)

I felt gutpunched, betrayed. My soul was crushed. How deeply I despised that man, putting on him the sins of others, still haunts me to a degree. But recognizing this does not mean that we should ignore the claims of others. That doesn’t mean it was easy though. I was completely shaken after my friend’s confession.

Yes, even having experienced assault and more, I found myself struggling in the aftermath of that to believe when others shared what they had experienced in a similar manner while at the same time wanting to understand and wanting to help. I felt like I was being shredded like chicken that’s been in the pot too long because it filled me with doubt. (I also tend to be oversensitive to anyone who might be lying and would note that many who have been assaulted are the same because those who do choose to lie make it all the harder for those who have come forward or will come forward.)

I would also add that in all my years thus far, I only know of a handful of false report cases, and I know of far more situations where the abuse was not reported.

My point in sharing this is that I am well-aware of the fact that not all abuse allegations are true. I have no idea of the actual numbers, but recognizing the reality of some lies, I would still insist that we have to do better in assisting those who are not lying.

Compelled Speech

There will also be some glib responses of how we must not be victims and must speak out to prevent this from happening. And this bothers me too.

The damage done in a violation is done whether the survivor steps forward and speaks up or not. The burden of the wrongdoing is on the perpetrator first and foremost. Or it should be.

But so often it slides to the survivor. Even when it’s not intended.

Not everyone who goes through abuse is able to speak about it. There are some who know that their cases cannot be proven or they live in a place where they are not able to. And the condemnation, scorn, and anger about a survivor who does not respond properly or take all the right steps can feel even larger because that survivor is also dealing with the wounds from the attacker.

One of the most important places to speak up is after it happens to bring those individuals to accountability if that is possible. (But even then I firmly believe that this is the survivor’s choice. There are so many complicated facets to this conversation, and there are few hard and fast rules.)

Another essential place to speak up if you can is when others can be harmed by your silence. Maybe you can’t do it publicly, but do it privately if you can.

After that, demanding that they do more moves into this “show us your wounds!” mentality. Not that it is stated that way. More often, it’s implied in assertions that abuse, harassment, and such do not exist or that they are exaggerated or misinterpreted. Or in the skeptical assertions and knowing glances.

There are individuals who step out and speak up. What they are doing is admirable and deeply appreciated when they do share the truth. This does not mean that all survivors must speak up publicly or that they are somehow deficient for not doing so. Nor does it mean that these survivors must make speaking about sexual abuse, harassment, and assault their priority.

Why Are You Living in Fear?

I know that one of the other responses likely to come from this is “why do you live in fear? Do you think someone is waiting behind every lamppost to rape you?” Usually followed up with a “no one would want to rape you, you’re too ugly” or a “I wouldn’t rape you cause X.” (Joys of the Internet, my friends. Yes, I’ve had this and lots more said to me.)

But I would ask that two things be understood. First, rape or assault has little to do with attraction to the individual but is more often about power and the attacker’s needs. My looks, such as they are, are irrelevant. Second, it is not necessary for a threat to exist behind every post and shadow for one to take precautions. I’d point out that many who  condemn survivors living in fear still lock their car doors and houses at some point.

I do not live in fear. I battle fear. I beat it down and break it apart. But it does lie in wait and creeps at the corners of my mind, a skulking, slithering being that will grow if I do not work to decrease its power. I am not alone in this. (And even those who do live in a state of what more would consider fear and possibly timidity, I’d point out that the vast majority of them fight valiantly as well to even function. It is simply that their circle is far smaller and sometimes their monsters far stronger.)

Some days are better than others. I know how to carry myself. I learned how to defend myself. I learned who not to listen to. I am bold, but I am not a fool. My choosing not to do certain things is not proof that my attackers won but rather that I have adapted.

For Those Learning to Survive and Those Moving Ever Forward

Ultimately what I would add in addition to #metoo is that if you are going through this, you may feel alone but you are not alone. Knowing this does not mean the sensations or the pain goes away. Sometimes it is far more of a feeling than a reality, but that does not make it easy to deal with.

Healing is a process. Some part of you may never feel the same, and, in truth, my friend, you are not nor will you ever be the same. Every experience we have changes us in one way or another. Ones such as this are no exception, and indeed they can prove the rule in a particularly harsh way.

But be kind to yourself. Listen to what you need even if that is simply to be left in solitude and silence.

Understand that some of your feelings, while accurate in that you are feeling them, are not accurate to the facts. For instance, simply because you feel ashamed or weak does not mean you actually did anything wrong or that you are weak. It took a long time for me to wrap my head around that. Bad things sometimes happen to those who do not ask for them or deserve them.

Know that while some questions are normal, it is all right for you to shut the doors when some people become too intrusive (though as you know in the legal system, this gets…iffier). If you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t have to except in a few circumstances. If you don’t want to participate in #metoo or anything like that, you don’t have to, and it does not make you less of a survivor or mean you do not matter.

Research what to expect in your recovery and how to handle this. It may seem strange, but physical maladies (not just STDs) can manifest after these events, not to mention psychological and mental challenges as well. This does not mean you are weak. It is simply an indication that sexual abuse and harassment are more than just physical and have deep roots that will affect you in more than the obvious ways.

Reclaim what you can. If there is something that you can do better, then do it. (But know that just because you erred in one or two ways does not mean you deserve what happened to you.) Then take the rest of yourself back. You don’t have to punish yourself (though if you are like most, you likely will). Focus on healing. I have had to spend a lot of time in prayer and thought, sifting through all that happened.

Forgive. There’s often a lot of people to forgive in this, and I don’t mean it glibly. Forgiveness frees you from the burden, but it’s not just about forgiving your attacker (oh and this doesn’t mean you won’t still be angry at that person).  This does not absolve your attacker from what was done either. You will most likely have to forgive others for how they responded and yourself. If you are like many, you will blame yourself because there will be so many choices that could have gone differently. I know I did. I could have just chosen another route. I could have asked for another shift. There’s a lot of “could have justs.” But what is done is done, and you need to forgive and let go as soon as you can.

Reach out to those you can trust. Get help. And if you don’t know anyone you can talk to, bear in mind that there are organizations like RAINN which have a 24-hour hotline (800-656-4673) as well as The National Center for Victims of Crime and No More. There are many other such organizations, some of which are local. Others can be found through Facebook. Provided your church leadership is not part of the abuse, they also have many resources.

Recognize it may be a long process. As I’ve mentioned, I still don’t like to talk about this. I prefer focusing on trying to get the laws and procedures changed and work with advocacy groups that assist survivors or assisting individual survivors. And, frankly, sometimes things will set you back. It’s hard to keep your head up and not give in to what the fear tells you when someone curb crawls you with dark tinted windows and mud covered plates or someone sends you a threatening letter or email.

But even if your head slips down and you have to cry or all of it comes pouring in and overwhelms you, that doesn’t mean you’ve been beaten. You just pick yourself back up and lift your head again. And remember that even if they demand to see your scars and your wounds, you don’t always have to show them. It is your choice what you do even if once or more someone tried to take that away from you.

 

A Quiet Sunday

This has been a good but quiet day. I spent a fair bit of it editing a friend’s story and helping her get it ready. It’s a brilliant story, and I hope it makes it into the anthology. I prepped and formatted a manuscript and sent it off for proofing. And then I will be working on Cursed for the rest of the evening.

Lots more I could say, but today I shall keep it brief. Tomorrow I will have new words.

Locked Is Now Live!

Locked is now live!

I am so excited to share this because it is the first official release of the Tue-Rah stories. A prequel to The Tue-Rah Chronicles.

It is really happening.

It has amazed me how quickly my readers fell in love with WroOth. As I have mentioned before (and likely will again), he is probably the dearest of my characters because he is the oldest. This is a character who has literally been with me since I was around Inale’s age at the start of Identity Revealed, and he was created out of a need to express myself and all of my snarkiness as a child. Which there was a lot of. I was a smart aleck whose world was quite small with cruel outskirts. I had a lot to say and a deep love of dragons. So why not channel them into a middle-aged shapeshifter whose favorite form is a red dragon?

(Funny thing, originally WroOth [Giluf Wroth and then Wroth, my oh so subtle nod toward my own anger issues] was based off Smaug in an incredibly loose sense. Oddly he never had a love for gold or a hatred of dwarves but he did enjoy riddles and mindteasers, thus the appearance of the puzzle box.)

Thomas Williams described discovering characters as starting a fire and sitting down and waiting to see who comes to warm their hands by the firelight.

What a beautiful thought and image.

For me, it’s never quite the same way, but I typically know who my characters are. It feels more like perpetually walking through a forest or a jungle. The terrain changes. Day fades and night comes. There is no warning about who I will find, and some characters skitter across the peripherals of my mind without sticking. And other times, they walk up, and they walk alongside me, and it is so easy to let them flow then into the pages. With most of the characters in my story, there is a point where I precisely remember them appearing and learn more of who they are.

Because WroOth was so deeply personal to me, I doubted that others would connect quite so well. It’s a common fate that the deeply loved or personal characters are the ones whom audiences grow swiftly annoyed with and despise (and who knows! The same may yet happen, though I hope not). But to those of you who are WroOth fans, you were kind enough to encourage me and affirm your desire to read more about him and his past, present, and future.

Of all the characters, I have received the most kind notes and greatest support for WroOth. And it is actually you, dear readers, who convinced me to release Locked and even gave me the idea to release it before the official release of Identity Revealed and Enemy Known.  (In fact, James was the one who convinced me to let WroOth play a much larger role in the primary series as in a rendition about five years ago, WroOth was trapped in his skinchanger form and unlike who he used to be or would become. So thank you for that, James, my dearest love.

And it makes me laugh because WroOth is a villain. Of sorts. But he connects somehow. I think it’s because of his smiles and what he hides and the reality that inside he’s so broken that the only thing that holds him together is his love for his family and his determination to somehow make it right. And over all that, he plasters a smile and finds the joke, even if he has to make it up himself.

It’s with Mara that he finds some of his greatest happiness. They’re both fractured people in a broken world, and their love story is one I delight in writing. There is a lot more to come for them and all that they experienced as well as the events in Tue-Rah Chronicles and beyond.

So if you’d like to pick up a copy of Locked, I’d greatly appreciate it, and if you would be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon, I’d appreciate that as well. No matter what though, I’ll keep on writing. Thank you for reading.

Why I Am Tired of This Excuse for Star Trek Doing Prequels

The most common reason I have heard for why Star Trek must go back to time periods that have essentially been done (pre-Kirk or around Kirk time) is because we cannot imagine any technology beyond what has been created. We have reached the max of what can be imagined.

Now I am not a skilled science fiction writer, and I declare that to be a sorry suggestion for modern writers.

Are we really so lacking in creativity that we cannot use our imaginations to envision what may yet be?

Qo’!

So here’s my endeavor.

Note: I am a fan of Star Trek and have seen all of the series and movies except Discovery. However, I am not as familiar with a couple series, particularly Enterprise, which I just don’t remember much of beyond that the third season improves and someone got pregnant through their hands.

Drawing Music and Art Straight from the Mind into a 3D Formation or on the Page

Let’s imagine for a minute that you could envision something and then pull it out of your mind and into reality. Obviously this would likely come with something of a cost, but how amazing would that be even if it left you drained for a few days or even weeks? Or maybe that story can be pulled from the mind and directed straight onto the page. I suspect some form of cleanup would be necessary. (If I ripped everything out of my head right as it is, it’d probably be a huge mess, but hey! There’s got to be some work involved as well as a challenge.)

Some Invention (Please!) That Would Speed and Improve Pregnancy

When I first watched The Child, I was shocked to realize that in the future, the only way women’s pregnancies speed up is through supernatural alien interference, and they still had Counselor Troi’s feet in stirrups while she was in pain. At least in Disaster when Worf had to deliver Keiko’s baby, they were in an emergency situation. Then when we get over to Major Kira and her delivery in The Begotten, it’s the natural Bajoran hormone release that results in a pleasant delivery (and the bickering men who make it less than).

So…come on. We’re already talking about in-home baby incubators as a reality in our living rooms (still a fair ways out from being usable). Can’t you give us hope for the future? That in a few centuries it won’t be so incredibly painful? (I could add a myriad of health issues here that would be great to have resolved, but I’ll leave it at pregnancy as that is what we are most likely to see.)

Learn to Use the Distortion Wave as an Energy Source and Control It

So in New Ground, the Enterprise tries riding distortion waves with disastrous results that almost wipe out a bunch of innocents (oops). The idea behind it was interesting, so why not expand on that? What if there was a way to make that work? Or perhaps something similar. Given that warp drive is eroding sections of space, wouldn’t alternative fuel sources be a great thing? And surfing as a method of transportation, why yes!

Mini World Creation

Come on now. We’ve had pet rocks and pet targs and pet cats. We’ve had nanos/nanites accidentally escaping and the Enterprise creating its own form of intelligent life. What if we get to a point of creation where kids or perhaps, if that’s too much, adults can make entire little worlds.

Terraforming is something that more than one series addressed. And in a sense, we did get to see all-powerful aliens creating miniature worlds in such as The Squire of Gothos or illusion-based like Catspaw in just the Original Series among many others. Each series has at some point or another tackled some larger entity taking hold of our courageous protagonists and thrusting them into a smaller altered reality. Sometimes even the occasional hologram character decides to do this as in Ship in a Bottle.

But we haven’t really seen viable worlds being created by humans that are sustainable outside a program. Think Ant Farms but at a much larger level with perhaps a layer of Sim City or Rim World except it’s real. Oooooh. Think of the ethical issues! The possible conundrums. I can hear one of the captains prepping a monologue for us now. Brew the tea, coffee, and raktajinos!

It could even be done on a smaller scale with a biome that has been compressed and that allows the caretaker to oversee what is happening and provide for it. And perhaps…life finds a way (I’m afraid I can’t keep it to one franchise.)

Thought Extractor

So technically this sort of exists if we take it the route of “remove this memory.” But I’d like to see this developed into a device (I’m envisioning sort of a pistol with multi-colored, energy radiating lines) that you put up against the patient’s head and then literally pull the thought out so that you can see it. Perhaps even put it in the hologram (we all know how much Star Trek loves using the holograms, sometimes to the detriment of actual exploration as in Voyager; I feel like I know Fair Haven better than the Delta Quadrant).

Now perhaps this doesn’t work on everyone. That could add some conflict and intrigue. But I would love to see a thought extractor. So many possible uses and misuses! And then of course you must have the counter measure! A way to block the thought extractor. (Maybe the Ferengi will fix this one up. Or the Romulans or the Cardassians. Who knows! Maybe we’ll have lots of different thought extractors now available on the market, but please, let’s push ourselves and not fall back on the trope of “it destroys the mind and personality.”)

Instascan Healing

So it appears that in the future, certain illnesses have been eradicated (though heaven help you if a mutant or modified T cell gets loose). But people still have to go in for surgeries. Throughout the series, we see many problems. But what if we actually got technology that recognizes what should biologically be in particular humanoid’s bodies and repairs that to match (perhaps even using those scans that they mention and use conveniently when they need to deage someone like Dr. Polaski). You have your own profile. You need an organ? No need for interstellar travels to the nearest qualified physician (and no that’s not because the most qualified physician was on your ship all along). Just pop in and get microwaved and everything is restored. Same goes for reconstructive surgeries.

And if you think that this means no medical conflict, how wrong you are! You may note that in Star Trek power surges/loss and situations where they are without their tech occur frequently. There’s too many to mention but Armageddon Game plays with this nicely.

There’s also the possibility of new types of diseases, viruses, creatures, and oh so much more!

Implants to Allow Walking in Space or Underwater or in Hostile Environments Without Suits

Space suits are a cool part of going into outerspace, I admit that. But they can also be rather cumbersome, and they are difficult to walk in. So what if instead, implants were created that would essentially create a miniature forcefield around you so that you can do everything you normally would (and look glamourous doing it)? Or perhaps the implants allow you to be immune to whatever the effects are.

I will also add that when I was about five or six, I was convinced that I had solved this problem on my own. It was obvious how people could breathe underwater. See, all you had to do was get a fish head and cut it off just behind the gills – and that’s where everyone started laughing so hard, I never got to explain why it would work. My poor mother collapsed against the side of the fridge with bread dough on her hands, laughing until she cried. Ah, life was so clear back then.

Ships that Literally Move Their Pieces Around

So we all know that the Borg have a cube for a ship that grows and responds. But what about a multi-cube ship with a fantastic network around it. When you shoot photons or divert something through the deflector at it, it senses this and rearranges itself. Which means that the only way to destroy it is to make sure that you send off so many explosives that it cannot possibly respond to all of them.

And I don’t want this to be a one-off single episode or even a two parter. No. I want to see this developed. I’m sure there are loads of flaws with it, but it’d be such a pest to fight. Might also have some problems with aerodynamics, but I’m sure we can compensate

Sun Colonies

Now I know that in Relics, the Enterprise encounters a Dyson sphere. But that encompasses a star and uses that energy for its own energy needs. I’d like to see an actual sun colony. Maybe they’re there harvesting energy or tending to the star’s needs. I don’t know precisely what that would look like, but you can’t convince me there isn’t some advanced tech and amazing possibilities for characters. (Plus what if something lives inside the sun!)

Person to Person Energy Transfers

Most Starfleet characters seem to enjoy caffeinated beverages. But you know what I’d love to see? Person to person energy transfers. Now of course this needs to be done willingly, but it allows you, if you have some extra energy to send over, to transfer it to someone else. (I know parents of five-year-olds are getting hopeful.)

It would also be an interesting reason for having so many people on board the starship or an even better excuse for a station.

And of course this could be used nefariously! The reason behind chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal failure is the Cardassians, I tell you! Or the Romulans. It’s hard to say for sure.

Video Messages With All Sensation Included

Holograms can only go so far, but hey surely we can top this. Apparently holograms can go pretty far actually if Voyager is our standard, even to the point of people falling in love with them and apparently the only real reason that they have to be pulled out is because it isn’t “real.”

For whatever reason, this doesn’t seem to be transferrable to video messages from family in one’s own quarters. Perhaps because you need a hologram to make them work? But let’s have an invention that allows you to interact with that video message of a loved one, and it stimulates the necessary parts of the brain to create the right sensations.

(Also how amazing would this be for a revenge plot? Your husband cheats on you, and so you send him a good-bye letter, but you program it to inflict deep searing pain!)

Recreational Calorie-Free Food and Drink and Insta Fitness

Apparently the future involves a lot of rather attractive folks. So let’s explain that by having recreational food and drink and insta fitness programs that explain how everyone can look so great except the one fat person intended to represent greed and hedonism.

Now you’d still have workout classes and the like since you need that to build up your will and knowledge of how to react. But you cannot convince me that in in a semi-utopia like Star Trek, there aren’t people who wouldn’t want to look like models and eat to their heart’s content.

(Though really anything over the play-do squares of the Original Series is probably going to be an improvement in that regard, but let’s reach a little higher here, shall we?)

Acid Swimmers

I have always wondered, what lives at the bottom of an acid lake? Or pool? Or planet? What if something could live in there. And wouldn’t it just be handy to not have to worry about being dissolved into a puddle? Space suits could then be adapted to explore these regions or others with corrosive atmospheres. Yes! Let’s go where no man has really gone before and survived!

So these are just thirteen ideas for possible inventions and developments that don’t yet exist in Star Trek. Some are better than others, but this is just off the top of my head. I refuse to accept that our imaginations allow us to go no farther than the tech showcased in Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. And this doesn’t even touch the possible storylines and explorations that could exist that do not require scientific inventions.

What about you? What are some inventions you wish existed within Star Trek’s future?

May the Force be with you.

And also with you.

%d bloggers like this: