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Conspiracy Theories and You

  • Posted on March 23, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Something writers, myself included, often forget is the fact that humankind is adept at fooling themselves. Constantly. As this video proves, monsters, conspiracy theories, major religions, all sorts of things we tell ourselves in order to make the world make sense, are in fact, just that, stories. Even the creation of the world is just that. A story, told to make sense of what we don’t understand. Horror stories are meant, not to teach us how to survive the things in the dark, but that there are in fact, things in the dark.

So what does that translate to as a writer? Well, what sort of conspiracy theories populate your world? What do people believe? If people here believe the moon landing was faked, is it possible for the denizens of your world to believe that all the stories of godly behavior are really just coverups for some shady government conspiracy.

In the world of Nightvale, from the podcast Welcome to Nightvale, mountains are in fact, not real. Despite there being one just outside of town.

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘That’s never going to affect my story. Why do I care what the people of the world believe? Why do I care if some group of idiots thinks that stonehenge is a satellite built by aliens, when in my story it’s a secret fairy-ring!’

Well, they do say that 90% of what goes into a story is never seen by the reader. The sort of depth the world is given when you know what each NPC believes is the sort of depth that people look for. No one wants a story with cardboard for the background.

In the story, ‘The Time Machine’, all we hear about the Time Traveller are rumours, theories, until we meet him. So what theories or rumours surround your own characters? What do they believe about the famous people they’re about to meet? What do they know about the world around them?

Your main characters surely have heard some rumours. And one of the best ways to add conflict to a story is for a rumour like this to be taken seriously, and then, suddenly, to pan out at the worst possible time. Or worse, for a rumour to actually be true! Imagine the looks on your characters faces when it’s not the evil stepmother, but actually the spirit-infested tree growing out of the cursed ground in the back yard?

As an example, in my own series, The Kurylian Saga, the main character , Dirk, has heard rumours about the Priest-Queen and her Knight Templar. Namely, that the father of her children, rather than the God she serves, was in fact, the knight. When he meets the Princess Eamon, he can tell by her hair and her face, that the rumours are in fact, true. The realism of it adds to the depth of the story, even if it doesn’t actually DO much for the plot.

I will leave it here with a simple quote:

Breaking Down Nemesis: Part Five

  • Posted on September 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Welcome to Part Five of Breaking Down Nemesis! In Part Four, we discovered that Miss Marple’s original idea, of meeting Mrs. Anderson and asking her about the deceased Mister Rafiel, turns out to be a bunk. In fact, we are no closer at all to finding out the mystery that Mister Rafiel wanted us to find, nor are we actually anywhere closer to the actual plot! It turns out that from what we’ve found out, Mrs. Anderson doesn’t have anything to do with it at all!

Luckily enough, this chapter is entitled Instructions From Beyond, so I don’t doubt we’ll finally get some directions! It starts out with a letter that arrives three or four days after the confrontation with Mrs. Anderson. I’ve copied it here, for your perusal as well!

Dear Miss Marple,

By the time you read this I shall be dead and also buried. Not cremated, I am glad to think. It has always seemed to me unlikely that one would manage to rise up from one’s handsome bronze vase full of ashes and haunt anyone if one wanted so to do! Whereas the idea of rising from one’s grave and haunting anyone is quite possible. Shall I want to do that? Who knows. I might even want to communicate with you.

By now my solicitors will have communicated with you and will have put a certain proposition before you. I hope you will have accepted it. If you have not accepted it, don’t feel in the least remorseful. It will be your choice.

This should reach you, if my solicitors have done what they were told to do, and if the posts have done the duty they are expected to perform, on the 11th of the month. In communication from a travel bureau in London. I hope what it proposes will not be distasteful to you. I needn’t say more. I want you to have an open mind. Take care of yourself. I think you will manage to do that. You are a very shrewd person. The best of luck and may your gaurdian angel be at your side looking after you. You may need on.

Your affectionate friend,

J. B. Rafielmr.rafielgrave

My fangirl instincts are beginning to really enjoy the idea of these two in a romance.  However, putting that aside, Miss Marple is quickly contacted, again in two days time, by the Famous Houses and Gardens of Great Brittain. I won’t type up their whole letter, it basically states that she’s been given a free tour around London, and after checking with a few of her friends to make sure the company wasn’t a scam, she made arrangements.

Once again, we are treated to a scene with Cherry. She’s worried that Miss Marple might not be up to the long amounts of walking involved with the group tour. In the end, Cherry decides that so long as Miss Marple doesn’t “Fall down with a heart attack, even if you are looking at a particularly sumptuous fountain or something”, that she’s fine with it.

Another two days later, and Miss Marple carries her small overnight bag as well as her new suitcase onto a very nice new bus. Another bit of her genius shows through, as she studies the Passenger list, along with the daily itenerary. Apperantly, the itenerary was quite well arranged, with two seperate tours, one for those fleet of foot, and one for the elderly who can’t really move that well. Miss Marple then began guessing who each name on the passenger lists belonged to.

Now, during this particular strain of thought, Miss Marple uses that term again, that I took exception to in the second chapter. “Old Pussies” is a bit… Well, problematic nowadays. So, we’ll not be going over that too much. I’m attempting to take this book as the time period it was written in.

To be quite honest, this chapter really didn’t interest me all that much during my first read through. It was mostly descriptions of what people looked like, and how they struck Miss Marple, which while normally quite interesting, was, in this case, quite boring. Of the fifteen passengers, she determined quite a few things. Unfortunately, with the way it is written, and how tangled it all is, I honestly can’t begin to untangle it.

However, this does bring credit to our Agatha Christie Code theory. Miss Christie just added sixteen new characters to the story, and gave them all very in depth descriptions, and as noted, my brain basically just GAVE UP. Luckily, in the next chapter, we get slowly introduced to them a little easier, so I’m not really going to lay them out now. However, I am going to note a few bits of good writing.

Once again, we’re treated to a very organic thought process from Miss Marple. She goes from thinking about the four other old women, which is realistic mostly due to the fact that people generally note those similar to themselves. I know that I tend to look at young women on the bus before I look at old men, or older women. We see again, how she compares others to those that she knows. Specifically, she compares an old woman to someone called “Dame Emily Waldron”, a notable scientist, and a Principal of an Oxford College.

Perhaps we should learn from this. The next chance you get, take a moment and categorize your own thinking. Take notes on what you notice first, and follow along to your next thought. When you read books, note the thought processes of the characters that you’re reading.

The first day of the trip passes, without Miss Marple determining if anyone was involved in a murder, and she goes to bed, hoping that she might find something out the next day. Before bed, she spends a few moments, noting things down in her notebook. Which, honestly, is a wonderful way to bring us into re-thinking the things she’d discovered today as well. A wonderful narrative device, in fact.

So what have we learned today? Having an organic thought process for your character, as well as showing creative narrative devices to re-iterate information that may have been hard to understand in the first place, are keys to salvaging a rather horrid chapter.

For those of you following along, what did you think of this chapter? For those of you who aren’t, Share your experiences in the comments, with books that start slow and boring, and then pick up?

 

Ladies Locked in Towers

  • Posted on April 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

String theory envisions a multiverse in which our universe is one slice of bread in a big cosmic loaf. The other slices would be displaced from ours in some extra dimension of space. – Brian Greene

Multiverse theory has always been one of my favorites. A theory that states ultimately that not only are we not alone in our universe, we are in fact, not alone in our circumstances. For every choice we make, there are other universes in which we never made that choice.  In each of these universes, other things have happened, other people in our lives, other riches, enjoyments or sorrows. It’s nice to think that that sort of thing is happening out there, don’t you think? I do.

So why bring it up during my Fairytale themed week? Because it, in itself, explains part of the existance of fairytales. In each of the fairytales we know, something happens, the hero/ine makes a choice. Right? Let’s take Rapunzel for this one, since I named it Ladies in Towers and all.  You should feel lucky, this was originally a feminism rant, but turned into string/multi theory instead. Yay, right? But no, now I’ve decided to use it to explain why Fairytales exist in a scientific mumbojumbo. Ish. I am not a scientist. This is my disclaimer.

Now, let’s say Rapunzel’s mom chose not to have her husband steal the lettuce (seriously, who craves lettuce? No nutritional value whatsoever.) and instead raised her daughter on her own. Well, then that daughter would have been a peasant, and never would have married her Prince. Or had those twins. Or had her prince’s eyes gouged out. But that’s another story. LITERALLY. It is another story entirely, if you change just ONE. TINY. THING.  This trope is called For Want of A Nail and is often considered to be the start of a thousand fanfics.

Okay, so then say Mom DOES eat the lettuce, and Rapunzel ends up in the tower again. Well, she has so many choices from here! When she’s old enough, she could have just climbed down herself. But that doesn’t make for a good story! Or does it? I’d like to see a Rapunzel who was strong enough to leave her tower on her own. It makes sense, to have her stay up there, because up there, she is safe. Outside is only desserts and heartbreak and misery and Oh yeah, a life.

But think about this. Any fairytale could have gone differently, if only given one, tiny, change. You could gain an infinite amount of plots, if you put this theory to work! Beauty and the Beast where Beauty chooses not to find her father. She marries Gaston and ends up having children, and only later, does she realise she missed out on life. Such a tragic tale!

My theory is that Fairytales make for wonderful fodder for change, only because they ARE. SO. CHANGEABLE. How many versions of each fairytale do you know? But so long as they are the SAME consistent theme, they are STILL the same fairytale! It’s amazing! Hence, String/Multiverse theory in practice. We humans are such creative creatures, aren’t we?

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