Saturday, 31 March 2007

Sorites Paradox

Perhaps better known as the heap paradox, the Sorites paradox investigates the point at which a dwindling heap of sand ceases to be describable as a heap.

Having spent the morning re-reading my current ms, I've reached a number of tentative conclusions. The chapters that excite me most involve interaction, are the most easy to read, contain a mixture of humour and foreboding, and contain dialogue.
So what would happen if I simply removed all the other stuff?

My quest for a manuscript peppered with gold coins now seems moot. I should consider looking at this goal from the reverse angle: How much time do I spend on non-gold coin moments?
The answer is: Waaay too much!
It's not that I don't have a lot of good material, it's that I have too much dense material. It's the ratio between enjoyable and heavy, but beneficial material that I need to examine.
Whilst I have removed all the non-essential stuff, I am still asking the reader to 'bear with me through this bit because it is important' for too lengthy periods.
Solution? Spread these moments out; ensure that the ratio per chapter is always in favour of the gold coins. How much in favour? Well, there you have your Sorites paradox.
How, then, to judge? Well, I can only imagine that trial-and-error will assist me here. Furthermore, moving portions around might damage the intricate construction of my narrative.

I faced much the same problem with my last short story. The story is precariously balanced and I think I just about kept it together. But I decided from the off that the story would be slave to the emotional topography: the ordering of neat passages of discrete emotional stimulae would take priority over the narrative. Balancing them became a compromise in which, where necessary, the emotional topography won out every time. The trick, here, is to eliminate the 'where necessary' part. This is relatively easy in a 1,500 word short story, but in a 100k novel it is considerably harder.

And so it is almost time to face my ms again. There are still a number of other issues and my greatest concern has always been the problem of bonding the reader to such a peculiar protagonist. I'm thinking that, by opening with protag as a reasonably normal and likeable chap (rather than by introducing him as an oddball, in which case I create anticipation but at the cost of bonding), the reader will more willingly sink into the story.
I have no idea how big a job this will be, but I am still excited enough by much of what I have created to extend my loyalty to this work.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Blue Banana

Not so long back, this blog found me wondering what I have lost.
I think I can see that the answer is 'simplicity'.
Moreover, it's probably worthwhile (or more constructive) to consider what I have gained in my years of study and practice.
I can't help but think of Educating Rita when I hear that word.

RITA: So, I was thinking about it all when I should've been doing my exam. Do you know what the first question was?
'Suggest ways in which one might deal with some of the staging difficulties in a production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.'
FRANK: And you wrote 'Do it on the radio?'
RITA: No - I could've done. You'd have been dead proud of me if I'd done that wouldn't you.
But I chose not to. I had a choice. I did the exam.
Because of what you'd given me, I had a choice.
Anyway, that's what I wanted to come back and tell you: You're a good teacher.

I understand that there are a good many authors who have a cosy selection of tools, and they have reached a point where many of their choices have migrated from the think it through part of the brain to the autopilot part of the brain.
Indeed, I've found that much of writing has become second-nature, if you will.

But what happens if you develop so many choices?
As an extreme example, imagine that Person A has to choose from an apple or a banana.
Then imagine that Person B has ten thousand fruits to choose from.
Person B has by far the biggest challenge. Yet Person B is gonna have the biggest variety in his diet. Person B's life is never going to be dull. It's not going to be easy either, until he starts formulating some sort of decision-making process - perhaps a rota system or a preference for citrus fruits or whatever.

I have created a huge arsenal of choices for myself, and I am endeavouring to keep on top of the decision-making process. But what I have noticed is that I have recently been neglecting simple things. This is the danger.
I refer to these periods as blue banana phases.
I remember, in my early student days, how so many doors to strange environments were unlocked for me. In particular, I recall the day that Colin Measures placed a piece of fruit before us all, told us to take out our coloured pencils, and instructed us to draw the fruit paying particular attention to the colours.
Sure enough, we drew yellow bananas and pink rhubarb.
Colin made us try again - he made us look harder. He made us see.
In my banana, I could see blues and golds and purples and reds ... I could see a myriad of colours.
My banana came out technicoloured, although I seemed to have found a bias towards blue.
My blue banana.
Then came the drawn out phase of dealing with this revelation - these quixotic colours that had been hidden away from me for all those years.
Slowly, I learned to control and balance these colours, and to see the effects of shifting the balance. During this blue banana phase, I learned to deal with my choices.

I find myself in an inexorable series of blue banana phases these days. Not so long ago, I was experimenting with emotional topography, and I reached a relatively stable position with my last short-story (which is, of course, not to say that I can't continue to refine). I try one extreme out and then another, exploring the landscape, looking under stones and in shadowed nooks. At some point, I develop a feel for the landscape and begin to control its form.
During the blue banana phase, everything breaks.
Playing with sensory information, I have taken out too much. Snap.
Playing with abstract descriptions, I have recently shifted from 'smells yeasty like tuberculosis' to 'smells like rabies'. Shatter.

The irony?
I have no choice.
I cannot prevent my head from poking around and breaking things.
But I don't think I'd have it any other way. My journey is always filled with surprises and with interesting experiments and world after world of undiscovered terrains.
I must continue to remind myself that things get worse before they get better: that the blue banana phase is indicative of evolution and will make me into a more powerful and satisfying story teller.

For no reason other than to help with the visualization process, here's a picture by Zdzislaw Beksinski - one of his alien terrains. I adore this guy's work, and you can learn about him here.

Monday, 26 March 2007


What is pace?
When writers discuss pace, they typically refer to the flow of action: pace is used almost exclusively to describe highs and lows in narrative action.
Imagine that we might describe pace, instead, as the length of time spent on any given element.
Pace is the amount of time devoted to A, before being superceded by B.

I think that all-too-many writers pepper their components throughout the narrative without much consideration. I think this is missing a wonderful trick.

Let's consider some of the elements that we can pace.
Interior and exterior: I like to hold the reader inside a protag, sharing protag's thoughts and inner pov. This can often be rather claustrophic - a narrow, tunnel vision. The effect of holding the reader in this position becomes poignant when widening the focus, introducing dialogue and interaction and the like. By pacing the time spent interiorly or exteriorly, I can not only create a chosen mood, but enhance it by sustaining it, or by shortening it.
Sensory info: Again, I notice a distinct need from many writers to fill out chapters with a variety of sensory stimulae - a smell here and a taste there. The greatest writers are far more astute: they know the effects of witholding these stimulae, and also the effects of combining different stimulae and focusing on and sustaining a single sense (see Primary Representational Systems).
Emotions: The emotional topography provides a representation of desired emotional responses (and their levels) over time. The idea of topography provides as simple means of visualizing pace, and emotional topography is possibly the purest form that might be used to demonstrate the effects of pace.

We can imagine starving the reader or overwhelming them or keeping levels nice and cosy. We should endeavour to pace any given element and to learn the effects of lots and of little, of balance and of extremes. Most importantly, we can enhance the effects of an element by holding it at arm's length, and we can subsequently overwhelm the reader by condensing pages of this element into a short burst. In this way, pace can be seen as empowering our writing through contrast.

N.B. One lesson I am currently learning is that readers have come (through convention no doubt) to expect a steady spread of basic components. When the reader is denied, say, interaction with the virtual outside world, they become disturbed. If this disruption comes before orientation, or if it is sustained beyond average endurance, the reader baulks. (Well, they tend to baulk anyway, and I think the reader needs to be eased in - to be given assurance - before they will permit the author to starve them.)
As such, my experiments with pace and endurance have much mileage remaining ... For now, I need to demonstrate to the reader that all good things come ...

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Thor's Paper Plates and Order and Death and Life

Starting to pick myself up again.
I'm finding that plot and pace and emotions are beginning to separate out. Like colossal clouds of summerberry jelly drifting by one another, I can see multiple shifting forms, but not their individual shape.
Thor was one of the original Litopians and he'll forever be associated with paper plates. He would write a plot element upon a plate and hang it on a washing line, and then arrange these plates until he had an order that satisfied him. I think he was probably a genius.
I'm beginning to see a little deeper than this.
I approached both of my short-stories from a different angle: I began with a set of emotions that I wanted to evoke, and I fiddled with the order of these emotions - the emotional topography.
My first ss was very naive, but a jolly fine learning experience all the same.
My most recent ss was far more involved: that is to say that I gave myself a palette of many more emotional states to evoke, some of which were quite subtle. These were written up as events that would fit into my intended narrative. As such, I had a large selection of metaphorical paper plates, and I ordered these, predominantly with trial and error, and pushed some out (in particular, the cast list lost some Paters and some ghosts) and brought new ones in, until I was happy and had the skeleton of the ss prepared.
'CREATIVITY means creative choices of inclusion and exclusion.' [Source: Robert McKee's Story.]

So imagine devoting an emotional resonance to each plate.
To this end, I have been compiling a list of emotive hotwords. By throwing these together, I can forge components that, if handled well, result in an emotional response.
I'll demonstrate:
Picking three hotwords at random ... faith, sarcasm, impulse.
Hmm ...
I can see ...
Deep belief, creates impulsiveness ... belief in impulsiveness ... life devoted to impulsiveness in conflict with conservative values ... conflict deflected with sarcasm ...

And then the phone rings.
Well, my Nan passed away in the night. Peaceful and smiling. Ninety-six.
My poor mother is doing the phone calls, letting everyone know.
I went to see my Nan in hospital a few weeks back, and that'll be my last memory of her. She wasn't awake for most of my visit - apparently she was getting a little too much oxygen and the carbon dioxide levels were making her drowsy. But she did open her eyes and recognize me, and said 'Nice to see you' and another visitor did his Brucie impersonation and we laughed, and then she asked me for a kiss and I obliged. I discovered, on that visit, from the woman who found her on the floor of her kitchen, that my Nan had five pounds in her hand and she wanted me to have the money (presumably to buy something for my son).
She's been happy the last few days and my mother is taking comfort from that - from the fact that my Nan passed away peacefully in her sleep.
I pray for you Nan. Rest in peace at God's side. x

I shall return to these ideas shortly.

Saturday, 17 March 2007


So now I am back in limbo and it is a cold and hopeless domain.

The Commuters is out there with two agents.
But it doesn't work.
How have I forged the bond between reader and Corus?

Corus is persecuted and plagued by a dark entity that lives in his soul.
Corus is motivated by immortality: he wants to share his creativity with the world; he wants to spread peace and happiness. Corus was bullied.
Not as easy to grasp as a woman who is raped and beaten and forced to live on the streets and work as a prostitute.
Not as easy to grasp as a man who is down on his luck and works long hours in a job he detests.
Here I fail (although not entirely) because Corus' motivation and anguish are too unusual to easily share.

Corus loved and misses his mother and sister. His friends are similarly persecuted/alienated from society.
Aileen loves Selby and would do anything for her. Her friends are outcasts.
Travis wants to protect a young hooker and free her from her captivity and sleazy life. His friends are oddballs and outcasts. They share his despair.
Here I have some success.

How is humanity initially depicted?
The people Corus meet are depicted as irrational and rude and greedy and without dignity or morality and, in a few instances, violent.
In Monster, the people Aileen meet are abusive and violent and intolerant. They are from all walks of life and all, fundamentally, self-serving.
In Taxi Driver, Travis is angered by the pimps and murderers and scum of humanity on the sreets of New York.
So, again, I fail. To paint others as irrational or thoughtless has nowhere near the power as painting them as killers or rapists. Here we can see how plot exists to serve character: Both Aileen and Travis are thrown into situations where the worst of humanity can be experienced. I have seemingly crowbarred this stuff into my plot; I have forced myself into this situation by placing Corus in a lovely cottage and a job at a beautiful university.
Corus sees the worst of humanity in the city and on his commutes. I have an amount of success here, but nowhere near enough.

So where to go now?

The Commuters is going to need a major overhaul. It's a mahoosive job and likely an impossible one.
So I walk away for now.
I've been looking over my first two novels.
I rewrote the intro to my first novel - Tethered Light. The plot is sound, the characters are great fun, there's regular conflict and action and there's a countdown ... I got it to a pretty sturdy position. But the writing is filled with adverbs and tells - everywhere. Might not be such a big job tidying the first few chapters and polishing my new intro (which has multiple countdowns and seven - yes seven - plot cookies [almost as many as the opening to Raiders of the Lost Ark!]). They say that one should never return to one's first manuscript. I'm torn.
My second novel, An Angel's Canvas, opens well, and it is still out there with one agent. Again, some of the writing is weak, and I never wrote past chapter four. But I do have a 10,000 word chapter-by-chapter outline and the story is crammed full of cookies, twists and turns, reveals, reversals, and so on. Might be worth writing a little further into it and sending out.

The alternative is to start from scratch, and that idea is terrifying.
Didn't someone say that one only improves by making mistakes?

Love Me 4

I've been analyzing a number of films lately.
One of these was Monster, which charts the descent of a woman into serial killing.
It's fascinating to see this journey laid out into scenes. From memory, here's how the viewer is invited to empathize and even sympathize with a serial killer:

1) Dreams:
Aileen as a young girl, dreaming of fame and fortune. Yes, this serial killer was once a young girl, and she believed in a bright future just as you or I did. A young girl with hope; a young girl who desired a kind and happy future.
Her mother dashes these dreams with a firm hand.
Young Aileen retreats into a fantasy world.

2) A Good Time:
On the brink of suicide, the adult Aileen storms into a bar determined to spend her last five dollars (earned from prostitution) on beer. She is befriended by Selby, a young woman who has already been introduced as an unhappy loner (sat alone, desperate for company). Aileen has no money (a broke, suicidal, homeless prostitute - fits the underdog mould perfectly. Like Travis Bickle [Taxi Driver], Aileen has an awful job; Travis lived in a crummy apartment, Aileen is on the street.). Selby buys the beers and Aileen spends the night (innocently) in Selby's bed.

3) First Date:
Aileen and Selby go rollerskating. They kiss. Now they are both happy and have something to look forward to! (And, of course, they will be destroyed). They arrange to meet the following night to spend a night of passion together in a motel room.

4) Lady Luck Need A Ride? + 5) Stood Up:
Here we go. Aileen wants to pay for the room herself. All she knows is prostitution. A client drives her into the woods and rapes and beats her. Meanwhile, Selby is sat outside the rollerskating rink, all alone, waiting for her lover. Expectant.
Her life in mortal jeopardy, Aileen takes the client's gun and shoots him dead. She does this out of self-defence. She had no choice. She has killed.

6) I Quit Hookin + 7) All You Need Is Love:
Well, the money and car from the deceased client sure come in handy!
We learn about Aileen's past. She was ritually raped. Her father beat her for saying she was being raped. She became a hooker at thirteen. She became pregnant and gave the child away. Her family rejected her.
Tough life: young teenager all alone, no money, hated by family, badly treated.
These scenes are about money - survival. Aileen turned to prostitution not by choice but out of necessity. Having narrowly avoided death, Aileen decides to quit prostitution.
With Selby's arm in a cast, and her parents angry at her, she has no lifeline.
All they have is love. No money. And Selby is growing unhappy.
Aileen tries to find honest work. But fails - is insulted - and is forced to give a cop satisfaction to avoid a beating. People are bad.
Aileen does not want to lose the one thing that is important to her. She is emotionally driven.

8) Call Me Daddy:
So Aileen returns to prostitution.
Her next client is another weirdo. He wants to create a father-daughter thing.
Aileen sees him as detestable. That's how people are aren't they!
Nonetheless, she goes through mental torture as she makes the decision ...
She shoots him dead.
Kill them 'cos they're all bad = More money = Keep Selby.

9) I Love You:
And all of this murdering is fuelled by Selby's happiness.
Note that Aileen says 'I Love You' first.
Then Selby responds with the same line.
So the cycle is perpetuated. It ain't stopping anytime soon.

10) New Friends + 11) They're Coming For Us:
But Selby is getting claustrophobic in the relationship.
She borrows the car to go see some friends.
Aileen is furious. The car is stolen!
Aileen wants to protect Selby from the truth.
But now Selby is involved.
Aileen reveals the truth and convinces Selby that people are bad and can be killed for money. She still has her peace with the Lord after all.

NB. Somewhere around here, Aileen is with a client. She attempts to incite him into violent behaviour so that she might be justified in killing him. But he is a decent guy; he is nervous - this is first time. He's just lonely! Aileen does not kill him.

12) The Cop:
Thus far, the clients that have been murdered have been depicted as evil or twisted - the scum of humanity and unworthy of life.
This is all gonna change.
Would Aileen's moral code allow her to kill a man whose sin is cheating on his wife?
And, on rummaging through his wallet, Aileen finds a cop badge.
So far, Aileen has gotten away with her crimes. After all, the people she has murdered would hardly warrant a widescale manhunt. But now a cop/ex-cop is dead.
The countdown begins. Tick, tock ...

13) You Don't Have To Do This:
Aileen's next client is a lovely man. He does not want anything from Aileen. Moreover, he offers her a room for the night; he offers her assistance.
He is on his knees, crying selflessly for his poor wife and pregnant daughter.
He is not bad. Aileen is torn. She cannot live in her fantasy world now.
She kills him. The line is crossed.

14) Alone:
Yet we still see her humanity. Aileen sends Selby away in order to protect her. Aileen has sacrificed her life of love for another.

15) Love Conquers All:
Captured, imprisoned, sentenced to death. In her final phone call to Selby, Aileen continues to protect her lover.
She killed for love. She died for love.

So we see a character who is emotionally driven.
We are invited to see the killer's pov: the people she encounters are corrupt and immoral; they are cops and clergy and shopkeepers and ordinary homemakers.
The people she bonds with are, like her, outcasts - lonely and kind and penniless.
We are cleverly coerced into taking sides - into bonding with an unfortunate - a loving, caring woman who would take her own life.
This side is good. This side is evil.
Okay, I'll join the good side.
Hah! Got you! You wait and see what your side is gonna do ..!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Asymmetry and Juxtaposition

There's something most peculiar about asymmetry. For some reason, I think the human brain prefers symmetry; I think we automagically symmetricize things.

A few years back, I ran a chapter by a critiquing group. I had described a girl who peels into two halves, front and back. The front half got one ear and so did the back half.
This caused confusion. How come they didn't get half a left ear and half a right ear each?
Well, I had simply skewed the angle very slightly. By doing this - by skewing the angle - I seemed to have created a conflict in the reader's head, a conflict that might sit well under the heading of 'unfamiliarity'.

I can see that asymmetry lives in the realm of imagination. A first level consciousness idea might always be symmetrical. Only by digging deeper - by pushing through comfort zones - might we create something that is asymmetrical. Indeed, my first thought was to share each ear between the half-sisters. But I went a step further. First level consciousness (or, possibly, stream of consciousness) is terribly superficial and, by its nature, uninspired.
How many depictions of a Cyclops have you seen? A Cyclops is a one-eyed giant. Only once have I seen a depiction of a Cyclops where the single eye is on one side of the face, as though there had been two eyes and one was removed. The typical (as in clichéd), first level consciousness Cyclops has its eye centred - symmetricized.

Watching Barbarella the other day, I was struck by the asymmetry of the world.
For example, compare Barbarella's ship (above left) with the Enterprise (above right).
We can see that asymmetry is prevalent in horror movies. Indeed, gore itself is terribly asymmetrical. When a character is disembowelled, all manner of indiscernable forms pour forth.
Asymmetry disturbs us or, at least, lends a peculiarity to a scene or character.
Juxtaposition has the same effect.
Here's a snippet from my recent short story:
It feels like hookworms snagging, tangling your veins, tingling then tearing, and your throat and lungs boil with bile and blood and your breath gargles into your ears.
I have developed a technique whereby I am writing a minimum of two layers (which, sigh, means twice as much work).
In this example, the narrative describes something visceral, something awful, painful, horrendous.
But check out all the devices of sound that I use! Clearly, the style is fun, playful, carefree.
As such, I create a juxtaposition between meaning and understanding.
Imagine how this might be applied to a lengthy narrative! I see it as a pair of wavelengths. If I tune them to one another, there is a feeling of familiarity (and, if this occurs during, say, a horrific moment, there is yet another juxtaposition), whereas if I move them out of synch, an unease is created.
In this way, the first wavelength is the meaning formed by the narrative; it forms a superficial understanding. The second wavelength hits at a deeper level, and is controlled largely by style. I can use sets of themed words that work in harmony or discord with the narrative. Similarly, I can play with the sounds and shapes of the words, and even with fragments of words or inferences (see Associations and Conditioning). I can apply this to rhythm, to flow, to pace ... to any element that I choose. Moreover, with this combination of duality and an appreciation of symmetry and asymmetry, harmony and discord, familiarity and unfamiliarity, I am able to hit the reader subliminally from the very first word and weave a power beneath the patina of the words.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Connections 2

Had a peculiar dream. The only bit I recall clearly was lying on the pavement looking up at a blue telephone box.
Hmmm ... had an interesting moment. The instant I wrote that, I looked up and saw my son's TARDIS.
Y'see, I was going to explain the dream portion off in another way:
First, I'll have to explain that, according to my dream theories, dreams are composited from occurences within the past 24 hours or so (yes, a pretty vague figure) or, possibly, from occurences between periods of sleep.
Now, as you may know, I spent a while hanging on the maggot tree yesterday trying to solve the colour index code (maybe a plotline in there?), mainly through trial and error.
According to my theories, the dream elements refer not simply to the event of the previous waking domain, but to something fundamental within that event.
So, my dream takes the colour coding for a reason, and the difficulty usually comes from discerning that reason - the essence beneath the surface.
What was apparent in my dream was that (English) telephone boxes are traditionally red, but this one railed against tradition. But any such thoughts within a dream are illusions and we need to go back to the source.
Looking at the time I spent cracking the colour code, what was I thinking or feeling?
These things perhaps: problem solving, matching one thing to another/maintaining a standard or theme (consistency), time frittered on a frivolity. Perhaps other things.
I also believe that the dominant component assigned to the source is the one referenced by the dream imagery. I'd guess at the frivolity theme; I think that I was aware that I should be devoting my holiday to something more constructive, perhaps tidying the house or, better still, working on one of my novels.
Lying on the floor: I was helping my son with a jigsaw yesterday evening. Aha, I can see the theme arising (and I believe that dreams contain a single theme)! To me, jigsaws are the most depressing of all games. I couldn't say why exactly, but I do recall a time when I was unemployed and someone had bought me a mahoosive jigsaw and I was sat there looking at the pieces and thinking 'What the f*ck am I doing with my life?' Jigsaws to me have become representative of wasted time, and dreams deal with representations. Indeed, Salvador Dalí was concerned with such dreamy representations where his soft watches were inspired by melted cheese on his bedside table and his crutches represented his fear of getting older, in particular the onslaught of impotence.

Yes, the 'wasting time/time running out' theme is prevalent here. Sure, there were other feelings knocking around as I lay on the floor with my son: I'm happy to spend time with him, to engage with him in mutual interests (or even interests that I don't really deep-down share). But these aren't the dominant themes; these aren't the representations utilised by my subconscious.

Telephone box: This is interesting. Today I am going to visit my Nan in hospital. I had to phone train-tracker first thing this morning for the train times. So, undoubtedly, as I fell into sleep, this 'do not forget!' was digging into some portion of my head. I hate to say it, but the dominant theme was probably 'that's gonna be several more hours that I should be spending working'. Me bad.
However, I can also see a sacrifice theme in amongst all that: the colour theme, the lying on the floor and the telephone refer to my giving time to others (whilst simultaneously feeling guilty about not working).
(NB. Let us not forget that we are not responsible for how we feel, but we are responsible for how we act upon those feelings.)

The purpose of dreams eludes me. My gut feeling is that they form some sort of resolution device such that concerns (and you can usually find a concern deep down in the motifs) are being dealt with in some form.
There is another theory that appeals which is that dreams are like garbage disposals: worries are chewed up and cast asunder. In this way, it is not a good thing to recall a dream because the concerns take root once again.

However, I find value in comparing dreams to writing.
A quick google search will reveal that the majority of philosophers have considered the notion of originality.
My bastardised take on it all is that originality is a unique combination of non-original ideas.
Indeed, Democritus suggested that everything in the universe would share the same foundations. He called these base units 'soul atoms' which were later poetically interpreted as star dust. Everything is made from star dust. But everything is a unique combination of star dust. (NB. In Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder likened the soul atoms to LEGO bricks.)
Personally, I like Irving Maltzman's thoughts on originality.

Where am I going with this?
Well, the clue is in the title! One of my pet hates is what is referred to as the stream of consciousness. Hey, like anything, there are exceptions and I wouldn't dare to criticize the likes of James Joyce or Virginia Woolf. Moreover, in the hands of an expert, anything can become a useful tool.
But I am compelled to see beneath the surface - to understand how something works, what it is doing, and why it does that. Dreams show us that the subconscious can come up with some pretty cool things! But I don't want to have to sleep each time I'm stuck for an original idea. I want this power at my fingertips. Furthermore, my son'll be all grown up soon and I won't be able to rely on him for cracking ideas (although I have considered the idea of having a steady stream of children :o)
It isn't enough to write. Indeed, through my deconstructions, I have been able to feed the reader's subconscious with motifs and themes that are able to elicit strong emotional responses. I am able to provide the reader's mind with the right combination of elements for it to make the desired connections. Rather than give them 42, I'd give them three drawn-out 10's, and then a dozen 1's in quick succession. For example.
(NB. 42 written in binary is 101010 and is, I believe, Douglas Adams' comment about both balance and Christianity [given that the number six has biblical implications]. However, I can still smile at the Dan Brown character who observes that cryptographers find patterns where there are none!).

As writers, we control - we regulate - we coerce and create expectations.
As writers, we should understand the choices available to us, and how one choice might be a better fit than another.

That leaves me with the TARDIS which is a blue telephone box.
Dreams, like me, seek the best possible solution. My dream made multiple connections.
As suggested above, my dream needed a colour and it needed a telephone.
It sifted through the stuff in my head (and I believe that it sorts from last to first, dealing with most recent thoughts in the first instance, which is why very often the last few events of the day, notably cleaning teeth and undressing [in a representational form, remember: to most, teeth-cleaning prevents teeth falling out and teeth falling out represents the remorseless progression of time], make common reappearances) and it found something that represented and united two key themes - something that I would've unconsciously recorded prior to turning off the living room lights.
Dreams are brilliant. They make the most amazing and complicated connections and create, through these seemingly disparate images, something fundamentally cohesive and compelling.
And I'll have some of that!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

The Maggot Tree

Hokey Cokey.
Seeds are planted and start to grow and you never know where it'll all end!
Welcome to The Maggot Tree!
This'll become something of a portfolio of work. There's a link over there - look, over on the right. Thus far, I've added my winning ss, and my new ss.
Being the techno-ingénue that I am (although I know how to type an acute accent! Ha!), I seem to wield only the most minimal of control over the creation of indents and leading and so forth. And I've no idea how to attach a file.
And I spent an hour trying to match the colours: you have about ten to choose from and if you want a different colour, you have to type in an index code! I worked out that the first two digits change hue and the third changes saturation. I think.
But these things can be overcome, deconstructed, mastered, and then bastardised. And, anyhoo, life is a giant work-in-progress.
Now, if only I can figure out how to add a picture to the heading up the top ...