The Randomness and Necessity of Mental Os

Once upon a time I mentioned that I call insane bursts of inspiration Mental Orgasms (Mental Os for short), because they are like a sort of telepathic pleasure explosion. Sometimes they aren’t anything that’s going to make or break you, and sometimes they are about as profound as finding a piece of gravel stuck in the ribbing on the bottom of your shoe, but they come at a time when you most need them. They are links to the rest of what is happening.

These don’t have to be with novel writing or anything creative. I had one recently — although very mild — concerning something happening at work (ugh. There’s a sordid and vile drama that few would want to read.) Tonight, however, I had one regarding the work in progress, my second wolf novel.

This thing has been so hard to get off the ground that I often wonder if it’s what I’m supposed to be writing. It’s rarely that hard for me to start or imagine anything. Tonight put it in perspective and I know why I was having such a hard time.

Since I am listening to the audiobook for Stephen King’s Misery, I will relate two instances from it that illustrates what I’m talking about. Annie Wilkes forcefully coerces Paul Sheldon into bringing the recently deceased heroine of his bestselling novels back to life and to write another novel concerning her. He does manage to bring her back to life, and it’s gruesome but believable. He thinks to himself that now that he has snatched the heroine out of the grave convincingly, he needs to focus on what the book is actually going to be about. Later, while lying in bed, he has a giant Mental O and it’s all figured out. In this same book, Paul Sheldon thinks about not being sure where a writing project was going, thinking that not being sure was a corner of purgatory reserved for writers who are often driving blind with little sense of direction.

That’s what was happening with me. I knew that the main couple was going to get together and that there would be some specific issues within the relationship. I knew what the secondary characters were doing, and I knew all the different plots going on in their heads. What was the book supposed to be about? Who the hell knew? I thought it would come to me eventually, but careening into the unknown without a map only scares me. I know sometimes we have to just go with it, but what I’m trying to do with all these wolf novels is hint and foreshadow so that people can go back and read them and pick out all the clues I’ve left. It’s something I want to play with, a writing tool I want to hone, and it’s fun besides.

So, tonight it happened. I was catching up on a show on my DVR when I thought some guy’s cheeks looked as though they had been rouged by a blind man with a paint brush, using wide, generous strokes. That led to looking at my movie collection, which led me to thinking that I wanted to watch a particular movie, when my phone notification went off to tell me that an app needs tending to.

There is no connection between these things. None at all. But it all came together and I had that flash. I don’t think I blinked for a full minute. (Try doing it. It’s not pleasant.) After that came another aftershock Mental O, and then another even smaller one happened as I was writing this. I know where the story is going. I know how to get it there. To get it where I want it, I get to try something I’ve never tried before, and I like that. I’m excited. I knew…er, I HOPED it would come. And it did. Finally.

May the gods bless those exhausting Mental Os and keep them coming.

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~ by Darren Endymion on February 29, 2016.

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