Fractals and Stories

In fractal mathematics, even very small adjustments to variables can have very big consequences for the final result. In a way, the same kind of goes for stories. It’s similar, but not exactly the same.

Last night, while working on the eight scene of my story, I came upon a situation where this became clear to me. My character Toini remembers something that occurred in the past. It’s not explained in the story what happened, but I have the option to pull out some less than subtle implications.

That is, if I want to.

Whether I add these implications or not will not really matter for this story. However, it will matter a whole lot to Toini further down the line, and might matter for her in the new version of the story I’ll write after I’m done with this version.

The bit I’m referring to is only a few paragraphs, and the implications are only coming through in a few words. If I want to, I change or remove these words, and it will change a major part of Toini’s back story in a very significant way. It could potentially make her a very different person.

I hadn’t much reflected on this in the past, but it’s kind of fascinating now that I encounter it. With a few words of vague implications I can make some really important changes to my character – which in turn means important changes to future stories involving her.

It’s a little bit scary.

In the end, I decided to go with keeping the implications in and leave them at the worst possible magnitude. It’s going to make my writing more difficult in the future, but I think it will also make the stories better.

I think it might also make the writing easier. The story will flow better, and the characters’ actions might seem more natural and less forced. I’d like to think that’s a good thing.

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Fractals and Stories

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