Writing 418 I Am A Teapot

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Edgar Scott Writing 418: I Am A Teapot on The Table Read

Written by Edgar Scott


My favorite question is, “how did you ever manage to think of something like that?” As a writer of literary fiction, my goal, is to make the reader think, not to tell them the answers. When I hear this question, I know I’ve achieved my goal.

What Inspired 418: I Am A Teapot

As a long time, IT professional, toiling away, late at night, in the back room or at the datacenter, the concept of a fully immersive internet experience seemed almost an eventuality. Since I was a seasoned professional, with an economics background, it was often my job to evaluate new technologies for goodness of fit and feasibility. Just because it’s new, doesn’t make it better.

Technological innovation is always driven by commerce. The technologies that get adopted may not be the best, but they are always the technologies that can be monetized. Unfortunately, people get left behind when they can’t adapt to technological change quickly enough. This is troubling as the speed of technological innovation is ever increasing. It was this motivation that caused me to want to write 418: I Am a Teapot. I wanted to describe a world that hasn’t come to be, but very likely might, and what that might mean for all of us.

My Creative Process

The creative process began with a nightmarish daydream: We have more and more devices to bring more internet to us or more of us to the internet. The internet of things knows my heart rate six months ago, and how I slept last night. It occurred to me that the only thing holding us back from putting chips in our heads and having programmable people is that we don’t have the technology to do it, yet. Eep! I needed to get writing! And this is how I did it.

Edgar Scott Writing 418: I Am A Teapot on The Table Read
418: I Am A Teapot by Edgar Scott

First, I brainstormed, wrote down, without censoring myself, as many questions and answers I could think of about what the immersive internet would be. How would it be implemented? Likely a chip. Who would get it? How would they live? If they were online, would they ever come off? How would they pay for their livings? What would happen to the idea of families? Would they lose their rights? Would they care? What would happen to the economy? Would they lose their humanity? What would education and training mean in a world where skills could be uploaded and downloaded?   

After I wrote down these questions and answers, I saved them and put them aside.

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Planning 418: I Am A Teapot

This gave me some direction. But I didn’t start writing; I made a plan. I used spreadsheets to list the chapters as I saw them, starting at chapter one: I gave it a name, I wrote a few sentences on what it was about. Then onto the next, as many chapters as I could, until I ran out of direction. I used my spreadsheet to map out where I thought the story should go and kept my goals small and attainable. I didn’t worry about “how”. I knew the story would unfold if I stayed focused, met those small goals, and reviewed often.  

I started writing, chapter one, focused only on what chapter one was supposed to say. Don’t try to write the whole novel in one paragraph. I’d have to reveal the world. I’d have to show inequality and exploitation, systemic cruelty. I had to let the reader discover the mechanisms. I wanted the reader to understand: In this world, no matter who you are, you could still be forced to work for virtually nothing. A race to the bottom where programmable labor creates an unpaid workforce consequently stalling technological innovation.

After writing a few chapters, I would print, and review them. Cutting them up with a pen, re-writing sections so they flowed, staying on subject. Write freely, edit ruthlessly! Do not be afraid to throw away words you needed to understand your own story. I’d look at the spreadsheet outline, plan out more chapters, add or remove from the outline, and then get writing again. Always my goal was writing one more good chapter. The chapters were intended to be moveable, modular, discrete.

My goal was to write a good book. I didn’t worry if anyone would like it or if anyone would read it. I believe if you do write a good book, there will be an audience, so concentrate on only that. Not everyone will like what you’ve done, but enjoy, savor, and remember the comments of those who love it.

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Finishing My Book

At the of the draft, I read the entire story for continuity, looked for more things to remove. Maybe ideas needed to be shifted, chapters did move, some ideas needed to be fleshed out and others toned down. The story needed flow before I could hand it to anyone else.

Once I was happy, I give copies to friends, found editors, and waited for them to read and get back to me with their thoughts. Not everyone’s input got incorporated, but some of the editors did fantastic jobs, pointing out key things I hadn’t described. For example: originally, Brian’s motivation was not well enough presented. To me it was obvious, like many of us, he’s paralyzed by fear of failure. Truthfully, he is paralyzed by not knowing “how”.

In the end, I’m happy with the novel, it’s an engaging story of re-humanization and personal growth. I’ve tried to give you a glimpse of a world that we may be quickly transitioning into or may never be. Either way, I’m pleased to share it with you.

In one sentence, five words, if I had to explain, “how did I ever manage to think of something like that?” It seemed evident to me.

More From Edgar Scott:

My website and blog are at: edgarscottwrites.com

Instagram: @edgarscottwrites

Twitter: Escott_Writes

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/418-Am-Teapot-Edgar-Scott/dp/0981819710/ Please note, resellers will buy a copy from me and mark it up to sell to you, buy a new copy for $12.99, it will be cheaper and faster. Or buy the e-book for $4.18. This book is also available on most other major book seller sites like Barnes and Noble, Google, Kobo, pretty much anywhere.

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