Nik of Time

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.

Of course.

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?

Dark cave of despair

I am really struggling with issue 9.Part of that struggle has manifested as procrastination. And that procrastination is born of fear. That fear comes from the sense that this issue is just wrong-footed. Something about it has seemed... off.

So I started casting about for different guideposts. I opened a book I have by Syd Field to a random page and just started reading his advice. When I found something that sounded right, I tracked it down.

That left me with a method by which I was able to dig into my character's past and establish an incident which acts as a psychological motivation for everything that has happened in the first eight issues.

From this new perspective, the first two story arcs act perfectly as acts I and II. This leaves my current issue as the turning point between acts II and III.

The Dark Cave of Despair from which the hero seizes the sword and claims his destiny.

It is a bit exciting how well this metaphor is working. Because, as my hero finds himself despondent with his failures and unsure how to proceed, I find myself written into a corner from which I do not know how to proceed.

There is something there in that cave which will be his salvation. It is laying there, and has been laying there all along. He can't see it yet, and neither can I. But, in just a moment, it will suddenly be illuminated.

With three days to my deadline, I don't see how I can realistically make it.

On the other hand..... that is exactly how Caves of Despair work. Just when it seems you are furthest from hope, something happens.

So... how 'bout it? Any Deuses out there wanna spring Ex a Machina for me?