building blocks for telepathy
In a book I plan to write in the near future, I plan to create one of the early forms of telepathy. So, however much I hate my physiology class, I’m learning some very valuable things from it that would apply to a well to any form telepathy and that I will share.
Since telepathy would be similar to a general sense, it is fair to say it would function as a special sense like our sense of hearing or vision would. In order for that to happen, there are some basic structures of senses that are a part of every single sense.
First, we need a way to sense the actual stimulus. In my example, it will be the stimulus of another’s thoughts that are somehow detected.
Next, we need it to travel someway to a processing center.
We need a processing center.
And then if we were to have people to communicate telepathically, like I plan, we need a way to send the messages again.
NOw, I’m not a brain surgeon or anything here. I’m just taking a physiology course. But let’s just say for example that brain waves can actually be transmitted through air. A special sense in our brain would detect them and send the message via our nerves to a special processing area of our brain. Once in the special processing area, it decodes the message, say, your thoughts, and so that I can understand them like speech. Then, I send them back either the same basic way or a different way. If we are going to do it like speech, it would be a different location. Actually the speech center would probably have to be tied in just because.
Does this make any sense?
Now, I’ve read a few books that have telepathics in it and sometimes they can move things mentally. I’m not sure if this is a vital skill or not for my story. But after writing down this whole process, this second function would have to be something completely different.
This is also where I get stuck. Because I can logically understand the concept of our brain being able to have a special receiver that receives messages from other people’s heads. But how would something be moved without touching it? Logically, I can’t even figure this out, excluding most science, because our brain merely exists like a giant, self forming computer. If I ever figure it out, I’ll tell you. Maybe i’ll just drop that part, but it removes some really awesome scenes from my story.
what do I really want to write
I began a novel about two months ago that I named for its working title mindskill. In some ways, I began it as a challenge to myself. It was, first of all, the first time I would try to write more than one book from one location; basically it would be a trilogy. Also, it would be the first time I would write a story with multiple POVs that did not appear to be connected. Yes, some people might know others but not everyone knew everyone (until the end).
Basically, the story was about these group of people who had seposomen. Seposomen is this mental ability that allowed these few individuals to sense the actual emotions of people, “hear” their surface thoughts, talk through their thoughts over a distance, and, as a bonus, move things without touching them. The original idea behind them was to create a better world, because with military uses, interrogations could be minimal. In police work, it could help people finding the person who is guilty without sending people to jail who are innocent. (Because you can tell if a person is lying.)
In the story there are several main characters: VAnessa, Isaiah, Eric, and Robert. (I said I’m horrible for writing men.) Vanessa is attacked for some unknown reason and kills the guy. Because of that, she feels for her life. Eric is probably one of her closest friends and a reporter and is determined to find her, because he knows something is wrong. Robert finds VAnessa and helps her get on her feet and basically hires her to work as part of his anticrime unit, because the police aren’t doing a good enough job. (She is trained as a police officer, although she isn’t one officially yet.) Then we have Isaiah. Isaiah is part of a special investigations unit and is investigating these interesting attacks against non-law abiding citizens. Some of the characters have seposomen and some don’t.
Why this is coming up is now that I’m winding down on Dragon Slayers, I’m thinking about what I might be writing next. Obviously, I could possibly try to write something along the lines of what I wrote with Samuel Brakborn. Even take one of the characters from there and toss them ahead or behind a few years and see what happens. I really want to write a real science fiction story, now that I’m finishing something more along the lines of a fantasy.
I dropped mindskill though because I didn’t think the characters were really enough. VAnessa is standing around dumbly and just letting everything wash over her. Oh yeah, her dad is dead. Oh well. Oh yeah, I have this weird thing going on with me. OH well. Oh, Robert isn’t letting me do anything. Oh well. Oh, I’m locked in here without a code. Oh well. I’ll just listen like a good little girl. It’s like she doesn’t care about anything.
Then, I was thinking about having a character called Jessica, who lives on one of the planet’s colonies and she is the perspective about how normal people view the seposomen, but I realized that I have that character already so after writing three or four scenes with her, I dropped her. I was going to replace her with someone else but this said character doesn’t have much of a role to play until the second part of the story, so I don’t know if it is a good idea to introduce him now.
On one positive note, I love Isaiah. He is fascinating and interesting and fun to write for. He has secrets and he has hurt and pain and I figured out how to express them well for him. He has lots of secrets and because of that, he’s a blast to write for.
He is who I want to write about.
I’m not sure though if I can just write a story about him. I think that it would be a lot better if I write more than one character’s viewpoint. (Up until now, that’s pretty much all I’ve done. Shad is solely written with one POV, minus one scene that I needed there to resolve several issues and couldn’t do it any other way.) I don’t want to just toss in Robert (who is technically the “bad guy” although the reader doesn’t know that right away.) because I don’t want it to be a case of the reader is reading this and finds out about what Robert plans on doing, and then sees that Isaiah figured him out, and then go back to Robert to see what he’s doing, and back and forth and back and forth until its boring and predictable.
I also am questioning the wisdom of starting such a huge project while I am in school. It is easy to say that I can write a 30 page story easily in a few months. With that, I”m not looking at it and judging it constantly and I’m going to get overwhelmed by the sheer impossibleness of editing it. With what I’m talking about writing, it will be a huge challenge. (Then again, I could graduate, get married, move on with my life and who knows if I’ll ever write this.)
I really think I’m just going to have to sit down with the characters, interview them (because I love the results of interviewing characters) and then decide if the story is worth telling or not. Writing all this down, it makes it seem possible at least. (I wish I had a writing friend right now so badly though.)
Just a reminder. There will probably not be any post tomorrow and if there, is it won’t be until 8 or so at night.
I saw something about how you want to keep characters down in a story. If you can show that Jane is overwhelmed with her parenting responsibly with five kids as well as ten, have there be five kids. If you only need one sidekick, don’t have two. (But don’t strip things down either. Just writing now, it might be interesting to make it look like our heroine, Jane Doe, has two sidekicks to help her out, Bob and Jessica, when in reality Bob becomes a distraction because of her growing interest/love for him, and becomes more of a separate plot device.)
I realized today that I might have a situation where I can move two characters together. See, I created Jess who lives on a colony planet. Much of her purpose is to show why people with seposomen can be feared. (Seposomen is the special skill that some people have, both hero and villain.) She is also there to watch two of the leaders of the seposomen circle decide they are going to move anyone who wants a safe place from the home planet here. (One of the characters in that story is MIles, who plays a very important role after Part/Book 1.)
But in all honesty, her plot is very poor. There is only one scene of hers that will be interesting or good, and that is when her ex-boyfriend comes in and tries to shoot up the restaurant, and Miles stops him. I’m still struggling for a good story with her, that will keep readers from moaning that they have to read about Jess again.
On the other side of the system, at the home planet, I have Eric. Eric is a friend of Vanessa and has been since grade school. He just got married and, at the end of the book, his wife is going be basically killed by the people with seposomen (but the bad group of them.)
All this is in accordance with prophecy.
Not really. I just thought of that line about how to annoy people, by ending things with “in accordance with prophecy.”
Eric and Jess are the only non-seposomen characters in the whole story, minus third-ranked characters, such as Lucas, and other one-scene people. Both of them, by the end, will have a reason why to dislike the people with seposomen. Eric, because, obviously, his wife was killed. Jess, because the guy with Miles decides to hold her captive after she finds out about seposomen. (This isn’t public knowledge at the end of Part 1.)
So can I merge them?
I’ll admit, I don’t know everything that the characters will be doing. I was thinking something along the lines of when Vanessa is captured later on (oooo), Jess could be the one to actually set her free. And Jess could show that some people realize that seposomen, in the hands of the right people, is safe and go back to the colony when Karl goes semi-narcissistic.
But I can just as easily have Eric both those things, with saving Vanessa because he is friends with her and believes her when she says that she had nothing to do with blowing up the subway. And I can have him also go back to the colony with Miles in the end.
The only problem is I really want to do that scene with the guy in the restaurant, but I think it would be more effective anyway to write something from Miles’ POV, including that scene, than to write it from Jess’ scene, while she’s trying to run. Or, I could possibly have Isaiah do it randomly, but that will probably be too much, since he’s already said to be really awesome and by having Miles do it instead of Isaiah, readers would then see that Miles is just as good as Isaiah is, if not better. (Or I could have Miles and Isaiah do it together at the end of the story, but that’s probably not as good of an idea, because it’ll be such a distractor.)
It’s times like these that I wish I had a writer friend. I don’t, not really. And no writing group either. It’s just me, trying to figure everything out on my own. But, surprisingly, these blog entries are actually helping a lot. This is two for two now that I think I know what I’m doing.
So it looks like the key then to coming out of writer’s block–freewrite the problem and it’ll come.
I read in a magazine recently that one of the largest problems is that the main character has absolutely no emotions and is hardly a well-rounded character. The supporting characters in this situation might even be the most 3D characters ever written but the main characters are just blah. Who is going to care about blah main characters?
I ran into this problem recently. In my new book, working title mindskill, I am using quite a few characters from different areas of the world, some who may not even know each other. (The last time I wrote a book with a multi-character POV, Richard, Hope and Senior all lived in the same place and worked together and all that, with only people not knowing Ka’yam until the end, so this is something new for me. Shad only had Shad’s POV except for one little section.) Of most of them, I understand their motivations and personality very well, or can at least relate to them. For lack of better terms, (and I suspect some other writers can understand this) the characters are talking rather easily for me.
That all stops with Vanessa. For the reason that I don’t want to have to come back someday and clean this up, Vanessa is a very important character, especially as the story ends. Some of her story will be very cool and rather important. I just don’t understand her though. When I think about what she would feel, I just see this giant void of emotions.
I’ve tried putting myself into her situation. She’s been rather independent now, but loved her father. Her father’s dead though and she just had the first real experience with him not being alive (since she’s been away at school thus far.) So when she was at home, it was like when I’m in a totally quite house and just waiting for someone to come in, although I know that they’re still far away.
Suddenly, she kills someone for the first time, a total accident, and she freaks and runs. After a few days of living in the streets (which I so wish I remembered more of what I learned on Urban Ex), she runs into a man who tells her that he’s running this whole private business to stop criminals. He says that she can come and work for him, so she does. (She doesn’t have a lot of options and she is trained to defend herself. She was going to be a cop.)
But it turns out that he isn’t exactly what he said he was and she doesn’t really have schizophrenia like she thought she did. In reality, the problem that she’s been calling schizophrenia is really something called seposomen (it’s basically my own version of telepathy, but I don’t like that so I called it something else.). She’s had it since she was sixteen and no one has told her. Why not? Did her father know? (Well, I know he knew because I (and the reader) would know that her father was the lead researcher in seposomen, so he had to know, but she wouldn’t know that.)
My first thought is if she critically evaluated this, she might realize that her father did know it and… and it just dawned on me that she might try to contact some of her father’s associates. (That might give her enough to be tense enough that it sets things up for the ending, since she can’t get ahold of anyone. )
But how do I show this without telling it? She knows almost no one there except Karl, so it’s not like she can talk through these emotions. And Karl, although I’m trying to elude that he might be romantically interested in her (he’s not, but that’s okay), she doesn’t trust him enough to spill everything out like that.
On top of all this, I also realized that Karl doesn’t have funding and I don’t know if I want to have two rich kids involved in this, although it might work. And… I’m still trying to figure out another character’s plot. Maybe writing this will be harder than I thought. I probably should just stick to stand-alone books after this. :) (Who knows? Maybe this will end up being a stand alone book anyway, just because of it’s shortness. I am at 22,000 words though and I’m hardly towards the midway point.)