Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monstrosities of Logic

Have you told a story which required additions to its core for the purpose of believability? I'm not speaking of a lie, but for the purposes of this description, we shall go with that.

Say your supervisor wishes to add after hours work into your schedule. You've taken on the role of two additional coworkers per company-wide layoffs and a temporary pay reduction. You are "a team player" but more is asked. Turning down the additional work puts you in line for termination. Accepting isn't an option. If you have an excuse, you may simply swerve for a day. Make the excuse good enough and you bypass not just this request but future requests on your time.

ie/ So sorry boss, mum is in hospital. I must go for a visit immediately after hours. You understand as your wife has been ill.

Problem. You now have sick mum. What to do when holes are found? "Mia, you went to the bar with L. I saw you. Thought you had to go to hospital after work. Is Mum better?" You grab verbal cement to seal hole. "They put a tube down her throat and she's very sore. I promised to go Saturday instead." Then boss wants to know what the tube is and why (note: tears and loud sobbing only work for a short while). You make up a disease and suddenly you have logic leaps to rectify.

Similarly, writing can create these monstrosities of logic. Claimed by Darkness was one such. One hero, a vampire, falls for another.
What keeps them apart?
Hm. Ah-ha! Other hero is godlike to the vampires.
Um. Because he's the answer to prophecy and becomes a werewolf.
But if he's a werewolf, won't that create mating issues and aren't werewolves and vampires generally unfavorable toward one another?
Yes, I see what you mean. Right, werewolf "god" is also the answer to werewolf prophecy and prophecy dictates he unite both races!
Bugger. "God" is a scientist and-um-and he creates a hybrid of the two races.
You said four chapters past that vampire blood is toxic and werewolf blood from a full wolf can sicken a vampire. How will you combine them if both bloods are predatory and toxic?

You see the problem? We play cat and mouse with our fictional realities, do we not? The "what if" questions that fill out the story are the same that will destroy it if the author is unable to find the appropriate fictional cement. It distills, hopefully, into a story wherein the reader can suspend her disbelief:

"Mum is in hospital with tube down her throat. She is very sore because a vampire mosquito bit her uvula. Without locating the exact miscreant mosquito, she will labor indefinitely on the shadow edge of death. Therefore, sir, I cannot take on any work which would delay my time. The creature was last seen at the bar on Hennepin Ave where I will look for it every Friday night until exhausted. Selflessly, I shall care for my ailing mother in hospital all other days after I have devoted my day to you and this esteemed institution. I'm sure you understand as your wife has also been ill."


Amber Skyze said...

Souns like my job at the moment! lol - Great post, Mia!

Bronwyn Green said...

You always leave me with a smile. And I always seem to leave myself with plot holes and feeling like my undies are around my ankles. I wonder if it's because I'm such a terrible liar. So do good liars make better writers?

jean hart stewart said...

Good blog...I'm in the midst of straightening out a mess I made in book two of the the mage series. I'd better get it straight since it affects book three....yikes.

flchen1 said...

LOL, Mia! I enjoyed your post today--thanks for the peek into writing and showing how we do the same thing (possibly!) in our everyday non-writing lives...

Anita Birt said...

What a great post? I had to do a bit of juggling when my heroine was in a very bad place. Why not use her cell phone? In my time travel, Ring Around The Moon, she had left it in the car with her luggage to go and unlock the Quest Cottage door and was too scared to go back for it when ...

In my latest unpublished gothic, she had forgotten to charge her cell phone battery.

I am not a good liar. I tried a couple of times as a child and got sick! So I gave up lying.

Fran Lee's Romance Blog said...

And I thought I was the only poor soul who had to backtrack sixty pages and figure out how to change that to make the new thingy fit. You go, girl!

Mia Watts said...

Bronwyn-panties around the ankles is the correct genre, love. Stick with it or *be* stuck with it. *wink* Either way, the journey is pleasurable.

Fran-Indeed not! I often leave comments in the margin for backtrack when I see it coming. Unscheduled messes are met with much self-annoyance.

Anita-Good save on the cell phone.
Anita and Flchen1-Not sure post was intended as a how-to in lying. Hate my boss. And he's gullible therefore it's easy enough. Sadly I'm not a liar of any notable skill as it leaves me conflicted and usually grasping. Writing at least provides you the time for a seeminly "quick" response.

Amber-Thanx, love. Hope it proves useful. Suspect we have all been here with our work. Instead of rewriting, we *fix*. Hopefully.

Jean-You've several books. Would imagine you are well-versed in fixes, yes? Good to know some struggles are shared by all.

Vanessa said...

Saw your notice on Claire's web. Hopped over. Very thoughtful and very funny post. :-) --vbjf

Mia Watts said...

Thanx Vanessa. Appreciate the stop-over. Am scheduled to blog here every 21st. Must try to find another outrageous topic to post for the occasion.

Marianne Stephens said...

Your last paragraph explains it all...and makes one hell of a believable excuse! That's what we have to do as writers...write stories that readers will believe and not look for loopholes!