editing, Magic and Science, Research, world-building

Working through the “science” of the Multiverse.

Since discussion of multiverse and time travel hijacked Carl’s stellar post “Surviving the Destructive Critique” I thought I would alleviate the diminishing line commentary (those really are annoying … there must be a better way,) with a post dedicated to the conversation of multiverse and time travel. I think a discussion about creative license and technical norm divergence (AKA what-if?), would be fun. The engine of sci-fi and fantasy runs on these notions. (In my opinion, of course.)

In this iteration of MvA (Multiverse Anthropologist), I began to understand why my story lacked credibility, not only for my readers, but for me. The story is there, in my head in full cinematic entirety. Now I just need to translate from archaic, subcutaneous imagery to proper English. 

“But what about creative license?” Me ego says to meself.

Gently, because egos are so fragile, “Gov, you can be as creative as you like, but if you want people to understand you, you need some basis for them to relate.”

My ego, the self centric, gave me a blank stare. “nevermind. You keep pushing the ideas my way, I’ll polish ‘em up a bit.”

That sorted, my researcher got to work. There is still a long way to go, but thanks to input, feedback and some serious thoughtful what-ifs, here is my work-in-progress theory of multiverse and time travel:

I have learned, from theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, that gravity acts as a membrane. 

Ah, a relatable point.” 

I didn’t know, until I encountered this theory, that I was searching for a mechanism, or term, or point within the vastness of stars and theories that resonated with my own experience and level of scientific knowledge. The word membrane, took me back to my early college years of studying kinesiology (I thought I wanted to be a PE teacher like my Dad … another story for another time). There was a lot of biology and chemistry in those courses, even a cadaver. I found it all fascinating, but never knew what to do with any of it, until now.

What’s the purpose of a membrane and how does that relate to time travel and the multiverse? First lets just deal with multiverse. From the NIH National Library of Medicine I found an essay by Helen Watson entitled “Biological Membranes” (link here: Biological membranes – PMC (nih.gov)). Perfect! Now I have a clear explanation and possible mechanism for moving between verses. Thank you Helen. 

Membranes, in my head, look like Saran Wrap (and no, not the wadded up mess it becomes when I try to tear it off the roll,) as it stretches over a bowl or platter. It’s nearly invisible. Now there is a problem with this, I can see what’s in the bowl. But if an invisible membrane is separating verses, should we not “see” or perceive the other verses. That is overwhelming, and makes me think of this comment by Carl:

 “Well, this was just free-wheeling speculation. A story idea: Given an infinite multiverse, perhaps one reality is constantly shifting into another with merely a .00000001 percent difference between them–initially. Though with every passing micro-second…”

Side note thought: If only the average reader knew how deep we dig, just to make a story plausible. I suppose writing from intrinsic knowledge solidifies your own conviction of the “truth” imbuing confidence into your words and keeping your reader happily engaged.

OKAY. So my verses are possibly, somehow, saran wrapped, now what. 

I have a structure, and some basic mechanisms for manipulation of the membrane. Of course answering one question, begets a host of questions. For me, this is where research begins a dive to diminishing returns. I stop and ask, “Am I writing to the science, or am I using the science to make my story believable and credible? In this case, science does weigh heavily, so definitely 2 + 2 needs to equal 4. That’s the ‘universally’ accepted knowledge. Applying thisrationaleto membranes, the basic “known” properties should be standard, i.e. permeability, functional purpose etc. Broad properties, which in detail can be manipulated to fit my narrative. In other words, apply creative license as long as it plays within the rules of believability. If my membranes do something that membranes typically don’t do, then I run the risk of losing credibility, UNLESS, it is explained rationally, within the confines of the narrative. 

Ok, I’ve established my logic, how does multiverse operate? I believe human understanding of the Universe searches for organizational reference points. Like a library. Yes, yes “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. That was pretty tidy. But while a neat concept and fun story, my characters need to live, experience and remember their experiences. This brings me to time travel. A truly fascinating concept, and perhaps a component of multiverse travel with strict parameters, but as a wise man once said, “Pick one and create your world!” ~ GD Deckard

I choose Multiverse. Still, time travel dances about the subject and it does need to be addressed and put to bed. I’ll get there.

According to “Adventravia’s Verse Jump Mission Manual” 

Mission statement:

The moment life traveled from the liquid depths of earth to the rocky shores, Humans set out on the path of exploration. As each unknown is explored,  we continue our forward trajectory. Our newest frontier, The Multiverse. As Intrepid, Adventurous explorers, it is our duty to catalog our explorations for the generations who follow. The Enigmatic Multiverse has become our future for human expansion.

Humans.So caught up in our own grandeur. Anyhow, this is all that is written in the manual so far … I’m loosely using a NASA manual for shuttle missions as a template to keep it real. 

My vision: (subject to change based on new ideas and evidence)

The device Dunia creates for Verse travel, initially punched a hole in the membrane leading to some undesirable results. Further research taught her how to “gently” squeeze through the porous membranes by disguising the traveler as a “substance” that is “legal” to pass. Much like a drug interacting with a cell in the human body, the whole osmosis thing. And I’m off to brush up on cellular function.

Much like Sue and John fall back on Mathematics, I relate to biology. Chemistry is fascinating. I didn’t spend enough time in those classes, however. I see the make up of our universe from a biological stand point, while understanding that mathematics does much of the detail explaination. I think once I am comfortable with “science” of my world, I can further populate it with my cast of characters. 

I wonder? In some other verse, were Dunia and Sophia friends? HAHAHAHA.

Alright, I look forward to having my theory picked apart and questioned. 


More thoughts on Contests…

There was a post in May, by Mike van Horn, called “Writing Contest Rant.”

That post stuck in my head for several reasons. I enter contests. I never expect to win, at least in the traditional sense. I find his rant entirely valid, as well as the ensuing comments from everyone else. I even posted a rumination on my blog about whether I should contest, or not. 

Yet, I still enter contests. Why?

After that post, and agreeing with all of his points, I re-evaluated why I still wanted to enter contests. What was I getting out of it? I’m writing full time now, so it’s not like I need an incentive to write. In fact, I now have enough writing projects to keep me happily engaged daily, not to mention the challenge of building and maintaining my own websites. 

Why waste my time on a useless pursuit then? 

At the same time I’m questioning my judgement, I also realized I lacked motivation for keeping up with my personal blog. Then I got the idea to use each contest to write the chapters of a story. Each contest would provide one chapter. Once I complete the story, I will post each chapter on my blog. I still write within the constraints of the contest parameters, but add the twist of how it relates to the rest of the story. 

I now have six chapters into a story that has been a lot of fun to write. Now when I get the feedback from the contest, I admit I feel a bit smug, like I’ve manipulated them to my purpose and they have no idea. I also feel like it has ratcheted up my writing skill a notch. 

At some point, though, I will reach a moment where I decide the whole exercise is pointless. I regard the challenge of writing within the contest parameters to be fun. But as I spend all day writing (and painting) I find I need that sort of challenge less and less. Also, the story that has evolved from these contests may be larger than the amount of contests I will enter. 

One final observation. In my personal writing journey, I struggle/d with endings and writing less than thirty thousand words. The contests have helped me learn the art of less is more. It helped me smooth out my revision process. 

While I understand contests are not for everyone, as a person who wanted to be a full-time writer, but had to concentrate on my day job first, they became a helpful skill building process. Especially when I removed any hope of winning from the equation. I still have a long way to go. But at least I’m honing some skills along the way. 

While contests lack the merit of reward for writing well done, they serve as a tool to improve aspects of an individual’s skill. Like all tools, they don’t work in all situations and, like some tools, they just need a new purpose or alteration to make them more useful.

At any rate, I’ll likely continue with the contests I enjoy until they become drudgery. Then I’ll know I played along as long as I could and then let them go.

Freedom of Writing, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op, writing prompt

A Writer’s Life

Where do your ideas come from?

Seriously, what sparks your ideas to create? From a blank page/screen flows a myriad of words, strung together in just the right way to evoke emotion of every kind. To stir the ability of every reader, to forget where they are and immerse themselves in imagination.

When I think about this, I really understand the power of language. Writing is a superpower, especially in the hands of a Master. Ok now I am humbled. I have a long uphill climb to reach that lofty peak. Will I make it? Who cares, the fun is in the journey … right?

So that journey. That’s where the ideas spark, bake, incubate, grow, die and flourish. (Not necessarily in that order either.) You hone your craft, realize your style, and find your voice. I wish it were so simple! Angst, doubt, and fear cloud reason. They insist you’re a hack. That tiny voice nagging in the background, you know the one; it tells you the story on the back of the cereal box is more brilliant than anything you write! (I haven’t read a cereal box in years.) Yet, you keep writing. Why?

Personally, if I don’t, I’ll have an aneurysm from the pressure of the squirrels multiplying in my head. Or a heart attack from bottling up my emotions. So I write. 

My oldest son messaged me the other day. “Mom, I had a four-day weekend. In my head I finally worked out what was wrong with my story, but I didn’t write a word. I’ll never make it as a writer. I’m too lazy.” Did I mention angst?

This made me think why writers don’t write. It’s not lazy. It’s working forty-plus hours a week at a job that has nothing to do with a writer’s life. It’s being surrounded by people who don’t write unless they must and people who don’t outwardly show creative curiosity. I told him I get it. When you write, you immerse yourself in that process. It’s difficult to get started when you know your life is going to interrupt that process multiple times.

Personally, it took nearly two years of full time writing for me to enter a space where I could immerse myself, yet keep a bead on the world around me. It took stepping out of the working world. It took distancing myself from the people who distract me from my purpose. It took surrounding myself in an environment conducive to unleashing my creativity. My son doesn’t have that luxury… yet. His time will come. Until then, it’s all fits and starts.

Yet, I know not every writer or creative requires this, or do they? I know experiences, travel, interaction with the world, produces the ideas. But the time spent typing the words (or handwriting) requires stretches of solitude. The immersion into the process. 

Definitely the writer’s life isn’t for everyone, but I’ll be damned if I go do something else ever again.

SLRandall, writer and artist