Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Year or Two at the Early Morning Casino Buffets

As with Energy, Story is not continuous; each proceeds in small, discrete particles.

The elementary particles of Energy may travel as waves or particles; in Story, the discrete elementary bits travel as narrative or dialog.

Whether in Energy or Story, the movement of these particles is inherently random. Some writers, critics, literary agents, and publishers may speak of templates, which is to say outlines or formulae, and which opens the door for a full-on discussion about predictability

 Okay: in quantum physics, it is pretty nearly impossible to predict the movement of the particles associated with energy. In some types of stories, it is possible to predict when and where a particular event will exhibit an anticipated behavior. Nevertheless, even in such stories, surprise is an important part of particular behavior.

It is physically impossible in quantum mechanics to know the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time, to the point where the more one such element is known the less likely the possibility of obtaining the measurement of the other. In a more idiosyncratic way in story, the more one knows about the position of a character, the less likely the possibility of that character doing something of a surprising nature. And yet.

Characters do change their state and so it becomes a kind of quantum behavior to keep them in action, while observing them, applying among other things Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to them or, if you prefer to use your own name for the concept, applying to your changing characters your own name principle. The characters should change, undergo some kind of transmogrification.

What hubris to limit the appearance of absentmindedness merely to generic professors or to scientists. Writers may be properly distressed after having spent some time trying to chart the direction, the velocity, and the position of a character within the framework of some puzzling equation, only to find that the character already had a mind of its own, wanted no part of its creator.

As some quantum physicists seek for a Unified Theory which, they hope will explain Everything, some writers wish a theory that will minimize the randomness of life and the ongoing attempts of writers and poets to formulate a description that gets us all. It has in fact been apparent for any number of years. Someone wants something or someone. Put that in your cyclotron and turn on the motor. Then add who that person is so that a reader can decide what accommodations ar necessary before it is possible to root for that individual. Now add a certain knowledge of what that character will do to accomplish the previously depicted details.

Watch for surprises.


Anonymous said...
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Wild Iris said...

As with energy a story can also be in three states, dynamic, static, or entropic. It's obvious which one is desirable, and which is the most likely to bring a few surprises. There's one of those expectations you were speaking about when a reader goes to a book. They expect to be surprised, which is usually only acheived in a dynamic state, though the spiral of entropy can be as surprising at times.