Well, my brain is chaotic.
But only when it comes to writing.
The thing is because it operates in chaos mode I don't know where a story will go when I see it. I see pieces of the story but never the whole thing. I don't know where or how the pieces fit.
This kept me awake from two am so it's worth exploring just so I can sleep tonight. :)
The Butterfly Effect.
(It's a tad ironic that the first 6 byte novels have a butterfly on the cover if you think about the butterfly effect at this point in my writing career.)
- Unless all factors can be accounted for, large systems remain impossible to predict with accuracy because the number of unknown variables is too high to track.
A really simple example is an avalanche. It can occur because of a loud noise or a gust of wind or just because, it's mostly unpredictable, and the resulting energy is huge.
That got me thinking ... is that how my brain works?
Can I apply a mathematical theory to writing?
Quite possibly because Chaos Theory (according to the Fractual Foundation) is the science of surprises. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. Chaos deals with nonlinear things that are impossible to predict or control like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states ...
Writing for me is a constant state of surprise. I'm always surprised by how the story works, because I don't know how the pieces fit.
At some point in the writing process, I sit staring at what looks like total chaos. Nothing fits together. Now I know that this is how I work.
One word or one small sentence begins an avalanche of words that become a large body of work and I know to hang in there until it all makes sense. Sometimes it takes a long time before I can say (with certainty) "Oh, I got this."
The thing is the unknown variables are too high to track until I'm about halfway through the work (but I don't know where halfway is because the variables are too high to track). So halfway is determined at the end of the writing process.
And I end up with a book rather than a resulting energy (like an avalanche or a typhoon). Although a good deal of energy is used in the process.
I'm not sure if my brain would work like this if I wrote something other than crime. One day we'll find out.
If I try to do a mind map or an outline for a story I'm working on, it looks like an explosion with a couple more incendiary devices firing around the edges.
I don't know what direction things are going in. I don't know why. I don't know motive. I don't know the perpetrator. I don't know how. I don't know anything about the victim. I pretty much know nothing when my main character is invited into a crime scene. What I do know is the name of the officer on the scene. but not always.
I write from the POV of my main character and she's one of the good guys (so far, who knows what could happen in the future?). So I'm approaching crimes from her perspective not the criminal perspective and that gives me many many variables.
When you remember that characters are people too and people are often unpredictable especially when under stress or if there is a mental health issue or for many many other reasons ... you get chaos.
At the moment I just starting to see a pattern which means the chaos is abating.
So setting that aside for a moment - how about the Dragonfly Effect?
Books 7 and up feature dragonflies. (Just putting that out there.)
The Dragonfly Effect is akin to the ripple effect. Drop a stone in a puddle and watch those ripples. They get a long way from the source, right? Ripple Effect.
The Dragonfly Effect says: small well-co-ordinated acts can lead to a big change.
It's often talked about in social media. Focus, grab attention, engage, take action. It's controlled/designed initially then the ripples carry the message a long way.
I guess it could be applied to writing. Perhaps people who use an outline and plot?
Or it could, in fact, be applied to the entire process from the first word through the writing/editing/submission phases and into publication and beyond.
Just my thoughts from 2am until 6 when my alarm went off. :)
And just after 7 this stunning sunrise happened: