Humans are pattern makers. When we see the world around us, we force new things to look like things we already know. It helps us to understand the world. When we apply these "patterns" to events they are called "stories". Stories are simply understandable, related, patterns of events. They make sense to us because they echo patterns that we have seen in the world around us. It makes sense to us for a story to have a beginning and an ending because we have seen that days begin and end.
The patterns into which we cram our stories come from observing events in our real lives.
Or maybe not.
Maybe we perceive our lives in story units because our brains have been wired with story patterns.
Simply, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?
Case in point. I have been stuck on the 9th issue of my Rapid City comic book.
The first eight issues left the character in a very dark place from which there seemed to be no salvation. He was stuck there, and I was stuck also. How do I get him out? How does he get himself out?
I reached out. I called people I know who know how stories work. Micah helped me to get a little bit of perspective on the story as a whole... and had a hilariously bad idea about the ghost of a puppy showing up to offer Yoda-style wisdom. Helpful, but not the answer. Then, late last night, Nik finally got back in touch with me. I laid out the problem for him and we talked about some solutions. The answer, it seems, is to make the original motivating drama much deeper and more painful. To get past what has just happened, my character must go back and deal with the problem that put him in this spot to begin with.
And so, in proper metaphorical style, I must go back into my own life and dig up similar experiences and draw upon them for my character's reactions.
It is too late to save issue 9. Just like it is too late for Kinetic to save those people that died in issue 8. That problem can't be SOLVED, it can only be taken in and reconciled internally.
Now, thanks to reaching out to various mentors I know how to move Kinetic forward.
So, did my life follow that pattern because I have seen it in stories, or do these stories fit that pattern because it fits my life?