The problem with spending five hours on a train is that my mind wanders in weird directions. I’ve had this story idea for a while. (One of those that I should really write now before I get published and start to think about what I’m writing and my name and brand and blah blah blah…) And on the train I was trying to think of the best way to write a story around the idea.
I tried your basic normal story form where the idea comes up as part of the events of the story. But that just didn’t work very well.
Then I thought I could do it in some sort of court setting where people give testimony and you see the concept and how it works in real life. But that didn’t seem quite right either.
Which lead to me spending a few hours yesterday writing a fictitious rule filing. Now, I read rule filings for part of my day job and I can say this about them — they are the most dreadfully boring, noxious, annoying things in the world.
And there I was, knowing how boring rule filings are, and writing a “short story” that was a rule filing.
It’s a bad habit I have. I know I should not do something. I have a conversation with myself about how I should not do it. And then I do it anyway.
(Usually this happens in work settings where I know I shouldn’t send that e-mail, but I do anyway and then hope not to get fired. It also happens in personal settings where I know I shouldn’t send that e-mail, but do anyway and then hope the person will still talk to me even though I’ve now proven myself to be slightly mentally deranged. Perhaps I should not be allowed to use e-mail…)
Sometimes these situations work out. Instead of being a loud-mouthed interfering idiot, sometimes my bosses see me as being direct and having initiative. (Or they pull me aside and suggest that apologies might be in order…) And for some reason the personal e-mails I send that I shouldn’t rarely result in the end of the communication. (When I understand why that is, I will have unlocked the secrets of the universe.)
So, it’s a good exercise to do this on occasion. But if I do it all the time I’m going to find myself with an oeuvre that no one will ever want to read let alone publish.
(By the way, I wanted to use that oeuvre word during the LSAT, which, at least when I took it, included a hand-written essay portion. And I could not for the life of me figure out how to spell it, so my essay has about four versions of it spelled wrong and crossed out and then I just said, “body of work.” I’m sure that made a great impression…good thing I never went to law school.)
Anyway. Just a minor vent. I may try to do the “story” as a feature article, too. We’ll see. I already got one critique that essentially said you can’t write about boring things without the risk of writing a boring story. Maybe this time I can get a critique that no matter how interesting the idea is, if you choose a boring way to tell it, it’s going to be boring…
As a random added bonus, I figured I’d include this link: The Outsiders. It’s an interesting article I read a few years ago on the website of one of those high IQ societies, Prometheus Society. (Mensa has nothing on these guys…) It’s about the correlation between IQ and social adjustment (or maladjustment as the case may be).
“First, that there is a definite trend for the maladjusted to make higher scores on the Concept Mastery test. Second, that women show symptoms of maladjustment at lower scores than men. And third, that 21 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women showed at least some form of maladjustment.”
It’s definitely an interesting read and well worth the time for anyone who has ever been called smart even if they aren’t a genius.
(Reading articles like this make me glad I’m not THAT smart. And ok with my little social issues. It also may be the seed of one of the ideas behind my first novel about how a society that wants to establish true equality amongst its members needs to limit the range in which they operate – not only on the low end, but the high end as well…me and my twisted little mind. I tell ya.)