Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Along for the Ride

This past weekend, I sat down to work on one story and ended up not doing a thing on it.  But I'm not upset, because that night's writing time turned into me working on two different plots that I'd left behind at least a year ago.

No, I don't know how this works either.  And that always makes me wonder: where the hell does this stuff come from?

I know the technical answer to this question; in theory, what I write comes out of my head, inspired by everything I experience filtered through my subconscious and whatever I happen to think is cool, applied via characters who are not me despite me being all of them.  But there are times when there's this weird sense that I'm not actually in charge of any of this, that I'm somehow watching something that's happening somewhere else in whatever the rest of existence happens to be, and managing to understand it enough to write it down.

Like I'm just along for the ride.

One of my favorite cosmic-type theories of something-or-other (I apologize, I don't speak science fluently) is that in an infinite universe, everything you can imagine must exist somewhere.  I have no idea if this is a legit theory, and I don't care.  I just like the idea that somewhere out there, all this stuff that's going on in my head is actually happening.

There is of course the flipside to that, which is that things are happening somewhere out there in the infinite vastness of existence and somehow they're showing up in my head.  This frightens me a little, but it would explain a few things.

For example, in one of the stories I worked on this weekend, I've been trying to figure out the actual plot for quite a while.  This is a common state for me and I'm used to it; I'm sure I've ranted here about such things before.  But despite all my attempts, I never was able to figure out how the story started and how it got to the end.  This weekend, I realized that I'd started it way too early - the main character was supposed to be a teenager when the inciting event happened, not a child.  From there, everything started falling into place, and I figured out the general outline of the plot.

Like I was suddenly seeing it clearly, because I'd spent a year or so trying to see something that wasn't there.  This could explain why I have such trouble with some plots I try to work on - maybe I've had only a glimpse and spent the whole time since then trying to see something that's not there.  Trying to plot a story that doesn't actually exist.

There are many reasons why writers drink, but I think this is one of them.

I realize I'm getting ridiculously metaphysical with this, or maybe just plain ridiculous and abusing the word "metaphysical".  But there's something interesting about maybe being the medium for something else that's out there, something that exists independent of me that I'm lucky enough to be able to see.

Is any of this true?  No idea, and I wouldn't claim otherwise.  I just started thinking on it and found that I liked the idea.  ^_^  Either that, or I actually am going crazy.  :P

So what about the rest of you?  Does what you write come exclusively from somewhere in your head?  Do you ever feel like you're just along for the ride, trying to write down what's happening?  Or is this all just a little too far out there?

Next week: IWSG.


  1. If my stories are really happening out there somewhere, I'm glad I don't live in that universe.

    1. Right? Like I seriously don't want to live in a world where the fate of humanity literally rests on the shoulders of one teenage girl, or one plucky rogue, or any of the chosen one plot lines. (Go Frodo! You can do it!)

      On the other hand, I've always wondered if the stories we write aren't some of the vastness of the universe either asking for help (ah, alien race over in that set of stars, anyone?? Anyone??). Or if the stories are a sort of wishlist (pretty please make the speeder bikes from return of the jedi!). Alas, I suspect neither, but it's fun to entertain.

    2. That's a reasonable point - I've written more than a few places that I wouldn't want to actually live in. O_o But I like the idea of the story idea being some kind of cry for help. Still weird, but fun to consider.

  2. Most of the time, I write from my head. Occasionally real world aspects creep in, such as lore from other cultures, but they have my spin on it.

    I spend way too much time figuring out the logic behind what can and can't happen in my world, and how the world came to be what it is today, that I know my brain isn't channeling from some other place in the universe. Even if it doesn't make it to the pages of my book, I need to have my head wrapped around all aspects so that I'm not caught blank-minded if I'm asked a world-related question.

    Glad you got the story figured out (or that you received the transmission, if that was the case)!

    1. I know what you mean. It's always the big ideas and important images from the story that seem to come from somewhere else, but it's the details that only come from sitting down and getting to work. Yet sometimes I know I'm not getting the details right, which still makes me wonder. ^_^

  3. Ha! Funny you should bring this up since I'm currently working on a story in which the son of a famous author ends up in an alternate universe where he is a character in his mom's newest book ... and slated to die. Part of me was wondering if this was just too weird, but your post has encouraged me to think maybe it's not!

    1. If that's not weird enough, today I realized that it was another character from the story I mentioned above that needs to be kidnapped when she's a child, not the one I'd thought. I had it wrong this entire time. After so long, I feel like I've finally figured out what the story's supposed to be. Bizarre.

  4. I had never heard of that theory, but how fun is that to think about? Excuse me while I get lost in thought for the next seven minutes...