author’s note: preparing to write chapter 5.1
Posted by jeanne
so i’m going thru the research and comments that make up my outline, and i’m labelling each passage things like brain, consciousness, quantum/neural, computer, basic quantum physics, time. i’m rearranging the paragraphs in some sort of narrative order. and i’m trying to hear the information as dialog, trying to make it into something not detailed and boring, but simple and interesting. i’ve been doing this all in my head, instead of writing it down. and i’ve been doing it all day. so today’s writing effort is going to be this blog post.
i started with 16,000 words and 18 pages, and at this point i’m down to 14,500 words, but so what? i’m not really counting the outline. so right now the real word count would be 0. i don’t think i’ll have to resort to counting the outline in my nanowrimo total, and mainly the research and summary will be deleted as i turn it into narrative and dialog. but it’s the starting word count for this chapter, and it’s what i’ll be tracking as i go along. and when there’s nothing left but freshly written fiction, and all the other bits are gone, i assume i’ll have the same 10,000 words i’ve been ending up with in each chapter.
this is where i get to pretend to understand quantum physics, and where i presume to create a quantum computer. never mind the fact that while a few people are achingly close after many years and big grants, i’m sitting here fudging the science. but then, i don’t expect to be able to plug my computer in or patent it.
i’m currently stymied by my own lack of understanding, as i try to figure out the difference between possibility-curves and probability-waves, and which ones you square and which ones you add. and the idea of complex conjugate waves that come from the future, i’m still a little rough on that one. i spent much of my day rereading my notes and doing remedial searching.
here’s the narrative structure at the moment –
what’s a qubit, spacetime, the observer, illusion of solidity, rainbow, variable constants, probability waves possibility curves conjugate waves, time, memory stored in time, consciousness, quantum/neural consciousness, quantum computer
i’ve already changed it some, and i’m not bothering to keep track of the changes. i tried doing that last time, but it was way too much from several perspectives. so this time it’s a daily word count and the finished chapter, rather than trying to track changes and deletions.
it’ll take going over it and going over the material for several days, and the logic will be a little smoother each time but will still be mostly quoted research. i know this because it’s been that way since chapter 1. then suddenly the characters will start talking about it, and i’ll scurry to write it down. sometimes it’s not that obvious. sometimes i have to set out narration, build ponderous arguments from the research and try to humanize it as dialog. in this case, the breakthru comes when i suddenly see the whole chain of argument as a different discussion, a shorter and more to the point snippet of story that puts the case in a simpler light. this reflects a congealing of the facts in my own head, as i suddenly understand that little bit more of the subject.
it’s like when i took calculus as a continuing student. i was 30. it was funny, the regular-aged students were all more interested in getting laid and partying than they were studying, and i aced the fucking class because i worked on it until i got it. i wrote the equations and graphs on the bathroom tiles and reviewed them daily when i took my shower and brushed my teeth. by the end of the class, i was thinking in calculus, the world was a bunch of formulas, everything looked different and i saw the whole world from a different perspective. i did the final exam in 30 minutes, and got every problem right, because i could see the answer immediately, while all the rest of the class sweated and worked and guessed. and all because i broke that barrier and mastered the subject.
and it all turned into a simple trick; why couldn’t i see it before. change of perspective.
this is how i write. this is how it comes out when it finally starts to flow. and that’s why i keep doing it, because even tho the rational side of me says i’m so wasting my time, the other side of me is eagerly make the effort, racing to keep up with the relentlessly shifting point of change.
so, back to my chapter. right now i’m highlighting sections of these long quoted passages, and later i will cut them out and assemble them separately, and these will be the arguments out of which i build what is essentially an essay on quantum mechanics, that segues into an essay on quantum consciousness, and eventually works into an essay on quantum computing.
these aren’t exactly the same fields, with consciousness as the red-headed stepchild of quantum physics. so i’m thinking i’ll probably piss off someone’s idea of how the subject should be treated, and what conclusions i should be allowed to draw given their particular perspective. but since that’s what my story is all about, i’m bound to offend someone.
so, it’s a good thing there’s no interest in my project.
everything starts out as an essay. i have to be able to distill and present all this information in a clear and entertaining fashion, and that takes some doing. particularly when i don’t really understand it myself. so i don’t really know when i’m making a mistake. and dealing with something as complex as quantum physics, i’m making mistakes by definition. tyro makes fiction out of science without consulting actual physicists. but oh well, i’ve done as much research as i could and blame the rest on my limited capacity for math in this my dotage.
when you study quantum physics, you’ve got a cavalcade of experiments to explain the building blocks of quantum history. and they can be dumbed right down, so that even nathan’s dad could understand it. well, okay, not him. but nathan can understand it. he and kurt can have a great conversation that lasts for several pages.
when you’re talking about quantum consciousness, however, you’ve only got a few sources to go to. there’s wolf and hameroff, penrose, lanza, collins. these sources range from physics professionals to newage life coaches, but like all religions they are talking about the same things.
when you look into quantum computing, you have myriad theories and devices, experiments and new approaches. the whole field is speculative, which is great for speculative fiction.
so putting these three essays together is going to require several rewrites. when i’ve got them finished, i will break them up and either put them into dialog or summarize them into a couple of paragraphs of exposition, depending on how long i’ve been working on the chapter. the whole thing will become a roiling stew of dialog and lecture, with stage business and scenery. and it’ll be painful. but i’ll pick out the sticks and rocks and it’ll turn out okay. and still too long.
i’m not very happy with my chapter length. it’ll take the rewrite, or second draft, to condense it to where it’s still readable, or more readable, and 2/3 the length. i can live with 8 page chapters, but 10 pages is very long.
and i’ve got a problem with the bits about hte family at the end of my chapters, because i’m enjoying writing the family interactions, and have some truly horrific things happen to them in the end, but they also take way longer than i am comfortable with. but i can see expanding this part of the chapters, and cutting way down on the main story.
we’ll see how it works out, because it’s already fighting me. fairy hasn’t had sex in awhile, and josh and anomia are already fighting, and dad’s already a total asshole. i didn’t plan these things, they wrote themselves that way and i’m just trying to work with them.