Cooking With Theories

A world building discussion on a science fiction writers board I frequent took a curious turn when somebody asked: how do we approach topics that are still very much theoretical (in other words…topics that have still not been proven or disproven)? The concept of time was named specifically. So was the concept of extra dimensions.

I happen to be working on stories that involve those concepts, as well as a story involving alternate realities, so I felt the urge to participate.

Quite obviously, every science fiction author has his/her own slant on how those concepts actually exist, and I’ve always believed that such liberties are justified because our planet’s greatest theoretical minds still don’t have indisputable evidence as to their actual nature and mechanics.

One of the board’s participants shared that his approach of including such topics in his stories involves gathering and reading as much information as he can, then letting it ‘cook.’

That’s just about the same way I’ve been approaching that task. I’ve read more theoretical information on those three topics than I expected to find. I’ve held those theories up against the stories I wanted to tell, and vice versa; what I discovered was that, in addition to making adjustments to the stories themselves, I was rewriting the rules—the very existence!—of the Directions of Time, the higher dimensions, and alternate realities in ways that made sense for the stories. It was an interesting and educational checks and balances dance: the published thoughts of others kept me from twisting these theories in contriving ways just to keep my original storyline intact, and my desire to tell a unique story tasked me to push these theories in directions others might not yet have considered or imagined.

Of course, I won’t have a true indication as to how plausible are my theories and how entertaining are my stories until these works are published. Check back with me in a hundred years or so.

Or, depending on what I conclude about the directions of Time, check back with me yesterday.

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Keeping My Writing Pulse Going

Only a handful of people know why I have not done much writing recently. One of these days, I may get the strength to write about the situation, but for now take my word for it when I say I’ve done well to muster up the strength to do anything involving writing.

That said, here are a few things I’m doing to keep my writing pulse going, as it were:

  • I’ve been taking lots of walks and bike rides to clear my mind and to work through (via plenty of audio recordings) what it is I want to work on.
  • I’ve worked out the upcoming story profiles for all but one of my human characters. It is extremely important that I work through this last character’s profile properly because it will spawn two non-human character profiles. Well, actually…that depends on how you describe human characters.
  • I’ve been writing a lot of poetry and lyrics. Some of it actually has promise.
  • I’m not making any new updates to my Work Load page until I’ve finished a particular science fiction short story whose successful telling has been eluding me for several months.

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like there are enough current bullet points. Still…this time, less than two weeks ago, there were none. Trust me when I say I’ve made progress.

Thanx, as always, for reading.

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The WHY Question

Somebody on a writing board I frequent asked the age-old “Why do you write?” question.

Why did I take the time to answer it?

Because it required me to write something Duh.

I began writing back in a time where I had absolutely no idea people got paid for doing it.

On the surface, that tells me I write because I want to, not because I’m looking to get something out of it.

But, that’s not exactly true.

I write to revive incidences from my past and make them more enjoyable and/or more adventurous and/or more treacherous.

I write to explore ideas and ways of thinking that I never before considered.

I write because my imagination won’t shut the hell up until I chronicle my ideas in word form.

I write to explain things to myself.

I write to relieve the pain and loneliness I’ve experienced over the years.

If all of those reasons lead to the conclusion that I write because I *have* to write, so be it. But, one thing I’ve noticed when writing under the influence of these catalysts…I enjoy the process. And, enjoyment out of whatever it is I do is something I very much want.

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As a pictorial follow-up-of-sorts to an earlier post I wrote about new paths I’ve been taking during my writing walks


That I took this photo in black & white is just me playing around with different approaches and new ways of seeing things.

As it just so happens, I do the same thing with my writing.

Maybe, that’s what is taking some of my current stories so long to surface.

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Have You Seen This Past Month?

Just out of curiosity…what the hell happened to August?

Normally, I track a month by how many accomplishments I was able to pull off within its temporal confines. Not just within the realm of writing, but with pretty much whatever it is I’m doing during that period of my life.

So, earlier today, when I realized that none of my most recent goals were met and only a small handful of my minor tasks were completed, the logical art of my mind told me, “No biggie, it’s still early in the month. I’ve got plenty of time.”

But the calendar told me otherwise.

August is almost over? And I only accomplished a small fraction over squat?

How I managed to blow through the entire month with only fragments to show for is for me to interpret in a more private setting.

Which I have already done.

Maybe these tales and woes will make a great story or two someday.

But, during this time of reflection, I thought I saw August in my rear view mirror, shrugging its shoulders and holding its hands out, calling to me, “What happened to you?”

Being that our lives don’t have a reverse gear, I’m instead turning my sights back to the road in front of me, while keeping one eye out for all the opportunities and roadside attractions that September has to offer.

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Deeper Digging Links

I am offering this list of links to my writing friends. Being that these were written for people in the business world, you might have to dig a bit deeper to connect with their writing-related benefits, but the effort will be (as it was for me) well worth it.

Three Common Storytelling Mistakes To Avoid
Although originally aimed at those who give business talks, these tips can easily be adapted by fiction writers. I, personally, violate at least one of the bullet points. I’m just not going to say which one.

5 Reasons You Should Hang Out With People Who Are Different From You
One of the most important lessons I learned in life, and ultimately for my writing career, was to expand my perspective and my own comfort level. Fortunately for me, I realized (and agreed with) their benefits early on. Way back when, I put one of my novel-length manuscripts on the shelf because I decided I didn’t have nearly enough life experience with the social issues involved and referenced to write that story, then I made sure I spent the next several years immersing myself in those very issues. Just recently, I renewed my work on this story, and (in my not necessarily humble opinion) I feel I now bring much more experience-laced credibility to the story, which is already (again, in my not necessarily humble opinion) leading to a much better story.

Innovation: Mind the Gap
The connection between this article and fiction writing (in its conventional sense) might not be so clear. However, I had a not-so-conventional pre-existing thought. My first read-through reacquainted me with that very pre-existing thought: a writing-related business idea I came up with a few years ago (which I’ve done next to nothing with because I’m still not convinced it will be worth the effort). Now, armed with the insight of this article, I find myself with an ambition-drenched incentive for digging deeper into my idea. And, while I flesh out the concept’s details (keeping in mind the overall plan still might not be workable), I am also going to view my conventional story-telling ideas through the eyes of this article’s advice (which I have reason to believe will be incredibly workable).

And, to what should be the surprise of absolutely nobody who knows me, I now have an urge to do some fiction writing. Enjoy the links!

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Everyone in my family is at least borderline exceptional with a rifle.

Except me.

I am exponentially better with handguns.

No idea how that happened.

This factoid has motivated me to add a very specific goal to my Bucket List:

Purchase and master a handgun

With a great number of obstacles in my life, I’ve not thought about this goal in quite some time. In fact, revisiting the list yesterday reminded me of an incident that taught me to curb my beliefs in assuming I will earn ‘expert’ handgun status just by showing up.

I picked up my youngest son at a friend’s house one night. This particular family had a variety of pellet guns in their collection, and they offered me the opportunity to fire a few shots with the gun of my choice.

I, of course, chose a handgun. Duh.

From the other end of the driveway, in the dark, I pinged the basketball pole with consecutive shots.

No biggie for me.

Seconds later, my son’s friend rode past me on a skateboard, pulled out a pellet handgun, and hit the pole while on the move.

That’s when I decided I really should up my handgun game.

Although…to pull off the same shot my son’s friend made, I’d need to up my skateboard riding game.

I’d actually need to learn how to ride a skateboard, first.

You won’t be seeing that on my my Bucket List anytime soon.

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