Tag Archives: tactic

Science Fiction: Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace


When one writes futuristic science fiction–or any other science-related genre–one has to rely on modern scientific fact to support future fiction. Most science fiction story telling relies on conflict. Think Star Wars,  the Star Trek syndicates, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Armageddon, Stargate series, Twilight Zone, and many more.

So today’s lesson for fiction writers covers the current military electronic warfare environment for the U. S. military. All information comes from DefenseNewsTv.com’s “Electronic Warfare Roundtable.” Panel members are from different branches of the armed services.

Today’s military operates in a global environment with a need for 24/7 communication and control capacities. Electronic warfare, the primary tool of modern military action, is based on a cyberspace platform. Thus, the armed services recognize how intertwined the cyber community is with electronic warfare.

The various branches of service identify the following threats from enemy command and control operations:

Soldiers encounter field environments that differ from the norm to which they are accustomed. For example, the military is used to operating with nearly unlimited bandwidth. What happens to soldiers where bandwidth is denied or limited? The Navy panelist admits that, as a service branch, the Navy has let skills atrophy in the modern electronic surveillance and communication environment. The Navy plans to re-learn traditional skills to manage signatures in a non-electronic circumstance. It has to live up to its credo to “operate forward and be ready.”

The Army says it is responsible for enemy command and control, such as disabling enemy communications, sensors or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The Army panelist says he is most concerned by an enemy who is able to maneuver inside the electronic warfare spectrum and go undetected. A dangerous enemy can synthesize an existing system, then change software code and modify the Army’s systems remotely.

The Marines are proud of existing radio battalion systems on the ground. To improve the systems, the Marines want to marry their operations with resident capacities in the air.  However, they face an enemy that adapts quickly. The Department of Defense is scrambling to stay ahead of enemy capabilities.

The Air Force fears an enemy that uses the electromagnetic spectrum to destroy weapons systems.

The Air Force panelist says, “What keeps me up at night is the imagination and innovation of the adversary.”

Today there is a danger of turning commercial products into weapons. Cell phones operate on former military signals. A smart enemy leverages the commercially available technology to defeat or confound secret military technology.

So where is military strategy going? Thus far, the focus has been to give technology to the brigade commander for operations. In the future, overarching architecture will aid higher command authorities, too. Tactical assets and systems will be integrated across service branches. Finally, there will be a greater emphasis on speed–of adaption, of control, of meeting capacity.

Cooperation and synergy, through joint exercises and co-development of tools and technologies, is mandatory in the current fiscally austere environment.

Electronic warfare and cyberspace management is as much art as science. Listening becomes critical. Electronic surveillance will have to increase, as will service branches working together for better upfront planning.

Throw Enough at the Wall. . .


. . . and something will stick.

I used that quotation in yesterday’s response to Rarasaur. Immediately, I knew I had to share a motivational thought with you.

Having several irons in the fire can be a good thing, providing you are continually working to complete the projects. Eventually, you will finish a project, then another, then another. As a writer, this means that you will end up with several salable items.

This tactic only works for folks like me whose brains like to jump from one thing to another to avoid boredom. It won’t work for those who start things, but never finish them. You have to finish the projects. It’s finishing them that brings a pay day.

Rarasaur has a good method. She has a list and a concrete goal for each item listed; for example, creating one idea a day for thirty days for a book project. At the end of a month, she will have thirty possibilities to consider for her next writing project. Of the thirty on her list, one is bound to seize her imagination.

You may want to try the “many irons” approach to see if it works for you. The key to success is devising your own method to complete the projects on your list.

Music as Muse


First, this blog writer never assumes that what is espoused here is the be all, end all for all people. On the contrary, I espouse what works for me–for the moment, when I am in the mood and not being lazy.

That said, I thought I’d share how my muse works to spin a tale from music. I use YouTube links for songs because:

  •  it’s easy to access for everyone
  •  it’s easy to replay the songs over and over
  • lyrics are provided
  •  the YouTube channel deals with the copyright issues

I listen to a song three or four times in a row. The first couple of times through I read the lyrics as the song plays. Inspiration can come from either tune or lyrics.

If I know the song, I sing, too. The point is to turn off the conscious part of my brain  and turn on the subconscious part. I integrate as many senses (hearing, feeling, speaking, dancing) while listening as I can. The more visceral the music experience becomes, the more likely I am to get images in my head.

(This ritual beats soaking my bare feet in a tub of fresh chicken blood under the desk; I read one famous author does that when writing.)

Then the writing starts. More than half the time I get halfway through the story and hit a wall about a conclusion. I repeat the listening ritual, and the end comes. I write it.

As I’ve said innumerable times, I have an active imagination. In my subconscious mind, stories are everywhere, under every leaf, around every door jamb, behind every melody. In any given day, a complete novel floats through my head. The problem is my memory doesn’t hold a candle to my imagination. So in the time it takes me to say, “that’s a cool story,” it’s gone for good.

Oh, well. I guess I can’t have everything.

Right now I am enjoying writing short shorts because I can capture them on paper before the music drifts away.

Fizzies


Who remembers Fizzies?

I used to pop the tablets into my mouth and wait for the explosion of effervescence. Crazy kid.

So what’s the point of talking about Fizzies?

Products from childhood are tied to memories. The memories are tied to experiences. Experiences are tied to feelings, images, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations.

When writing about a specific event, draw on memories of a similar occasion to vividly imagine the scene. What do you hear, smell, taste, sense? It is these sensory details that bring the scene to life and make it real for the reader.

Sometimes the silly little details — like the explosive fizz and flavor of a Fizzies tablet boiling on your tongue –ignite the reader’s own memories. Those personal sensations meld with the words of the author to conjure a vivid experience in the reader’s imagination. The stronger the link between memory in real life and the imagined scene penned on the page, the more pleasure for your reader. The setting comes alive with sensory stimulation.

The brain cannot separate emotionally charged imagination and the real thing. It reacts to both equally. That’s why intense romantic scenes arouse and woefully sad ones evoke tears. The emotions conjured are the same whether the source event is real or fictitious.

So before you create a scene, recollect your own reactions and observations surrounding a similar circumstance in your past. Then write with those feelings fresh in your mind.

Good For What Ails You


One of my favorite bloggers is T from aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com. He explores man’s inner workings and darker moments with finesse and clarity. Further, he is a damn good writer.  A masterful wordsmith.

Anyway, while reading a recent post (http://aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/adventures-in-paradise/#comment-1649), I came across intelligent advice for almost any situation where one is experiencing loss, consternation, indecision, pain or any other strong internal conflict.

T says:

When you can walk it off, do. But when you can’t, rest up first. Have yourself a good cry. Get well. And then walk.

Although this advice was given in the context of making one’s way through the roadblocks in the life maze, I find it is also helpful to me as a writer. I have been rejected, demeaned, frustrated, confused, scared, burned, broken and any number of other paralyzing traumas over the course of my writing career. In the past, some of these situations or feelings made me lay down my pen for months or years at a time.

Always I was able to resurrect my desire to create through doing something akin to the advice shared by T’s character. Maybe his technique can work for you next time something strangles your creativity.

The Benefits of Tennis; Comment Tennis, That Is


Riatarded of The Uninspired Chronicles has touched a nerve. She is blogging about how an author jumpstarts writing when the author hits a wall. Many are wall-slammed it seems, seeking a solution to writer’s block. I’ve offered a couple of tips I use to Riatarded. My guess is she will put out an e-book with her collection of tips once the comment tennis game is over. It may prove to be a useful tool.

But it’s the comment tennis aspect of blogging that I want to chat about. Comment tennis (please forgive me for oversimplifying here) is the back and forth written exchanges on blogs. It is an art I am practicing. Why practice? Because I am trying to teach myself to soften my naturally very direct style.

I like getting straight to the point of a matter. I prefer to cut the chit-chat. However, I am aware that directness can equate to rudeness or sound like arrogance. So, I am trying to create a better way for Fay to communicate: I am practicing chit-chat via comments.

Second, I am an introvert forcing myself to act extroverted. Staying inside my introverted comfort zone reinforces bad habits I’ve made that obstruct free communication. To change myself in relation to others, I have to show up in another’s space. I have to get out there.

Third, good communication is an art. Reading and participating in comment tennis can teach me what works and what doesn’t. Practicing the positive forms reinforces those skills and ingrains them in my being.

It is said it takes thirty days of doing to make a new habit. When I have a lifetime of doing things a certain way, I think it’s going to take more than thirty days of practice to change it.

Getting Out of a Funk


I was inspired to write this post because of  my WordPress pal Riatarded at http://riatarded.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-uninspired-chronicles/.

What is one technique I use when I stare a blank sheet face-to-face and no conversation begins?

This sounds stoooopid, but it works for me: I admit I am dry as a bone and wallow in self-pity for the length of the hottest bath I can stand. Then I give myself permission to ignore my writing for a designated period of time. If I have a deadline, the time may be as short as thirty minutes. This weekend I took off two days.

I spent my “slacker” time digging weeds out of the vegetable garden and planning my spring planting. My bones are aching. I am exhausted physically. I welcome returning to the easy work of sitting and writing.