Monday, June 29, 2009


chaos--a dramatic condition in which there is no apparent order; a character behaving without a plan or design; a multifarious state of being in which there is no seeming thread that connects individuals or events.

Chaos is the world without story, its purpose random and unstructured. The writer enters the landscape of chaos, imposes a structure or plan, then steps back to watch the characters as they respond to attempts at design. Chaos is also the world without specific individuals being assigned starring roles; as it continues to unfold, the condition of chaos levels the playing field of agenda so that all agendas are of equal importance. When beginning a story, the writer chooses a landscape, which may be pure invention or fantasy or extrapolated speculative fiction but which nevertheless becomes a tangible place for the reader. The writer then adds characters, whose goals help define their prominence and focus.

Story, plot, design--they are all a purposeful rearranging of furniture, the feng shui equivalent of drama, allowing some procession or orbit of event, the totality of which eases the passage of energy from the beginning point to the resolution. Chaos appears at first to be all the distractions a character or group of characters may face, but as the reader grows interested in the characters, chaos morphs into "things that could go wrong," which is a sort of reverse feng shui, a negative energy that arrives in unanticipated increments.

Chaos is a series of laundry list events, awaiting the writer's hand to organize them in some form.

1 comment:

Querulous Squirrel said...

I like the idea of reverse fen shui, of playing out the story backwards towards the point of nothingness where it all began.