There are certain memories I tend to have of events I’ve never experienced that take place in “The Story.” I’ll imagine scenes from days early on into John and Trishna’s relationship. I might be reminded of these scenes by anything. If I see a digital dresser in a videogame, I might imagine how Trishna’s dad and John built that dresser. These scenes fill my thoughts like memories of going to the city or the beach…
The dresser, specifically, is from a Viridi expansion pack.
Places and spaces like that are chances for me to escape my insecurities and think about scenes as they would unfold. Trishna’s dad, Divit, would show John some of the processes for building a dresser and do what he could to show his future son-in-law. These scenes wash over my thoughts as overlays from times when I feel embarrassed over my own social ineptitude, whether real or otherwise, which is to say, when my mind is not otherwise engaged in more critical activities.
I’d rather explore “The Story” than my insecurities.
When I make a mistake, I will tend to overcorrect, and make worse mistakes until I figure out that balance. If that mistake is instructed to me by someone and without clear direction, then that behavior tends to overcorrect even worse, because I’ll be grasping for ways to fix the mistake, instead of just letting that go and forgetting about the mistake. Those moments of embarrassment are typically obscured by thinking about “The Story.”
I’ll also think of “The Story” just wandering around life.
For the Viridi Keys To The Apartment expansion pack, I could see John and Trishna living there during their junior and senior year of college. Is that their college dorm room? Is that studio the first place they’d live in on their own? It’s missing a few things, of course, but the overall space is a nice place to jump into for a minute. When I play the rest of the game, it’s usually just a quick check-in with my digital plants, nothing serious, other than watering them and plucking weeds.
The cats expansion pack is weird… dude…
The apartment, though, is a comfortable place to check in on the plants, to check in on “The Story,” and to check in on myself. I’ve been dealing with health issues over the past few weeks that have made things weird for me. I’ve dealt with anxiety and self-confidence issues for nearly all of my life in one way or another. There’s no easy way to sort through that but to figure out specific examples where I made mistakes, and, rather than avoid them, confront them directly.
If I can recognize when I was being dumb, I can become smarter.
It’s like recognizing these scenes. Before I started writing as much as I do now, with my second novel planned out for a few months from now, I would still get these scenes flashing across my thoughts but I wouldn’t have much applicability for them. They’d just be pleasant thoughts to pad out parts of my day. Now, though I can integrate them both into essays like this and upcoming fiction.
The biggest thing I learned from writing my first novel was information capturing.
I only started to appreciate it toward the end of writing, but having a comprehensive source of locations and characters made referencing them later easier, because like the method of loci or mind palace, having a map of where everything fits in helps with congruency. The most valuable criticism I received from one reader was that the novel drops you in medias res, which I think is a valid way to go, but then the exposition needs to be subtle and steady to help the reader along, whereas if not, then the reader can get confused and bored.
This digital apartment might serve as a good “location” for that.
When I was in the videogame development scene, I saw people draft up scenes similar to this apartment, so I understand its geometry from a developer’s perspective. I’m not sure now if I will continue my plans that I had, when I was in the scene, for making simple games highlighting some scenes. I had thought of making Trishna’s greenhouse. But this, and the reason why Trishna and John didn’t play into the first novel is this: I don’t know how exactly they factored into “The Story,” so Sammohini’s story was self-contained.
I have a few months to figure out these chronologies.
After I get my health issues ironed out, that’s where I’m going to start building out more of these worldbuilding aspects. This all used to be in my head as random ideas. That allows the editing to happen quicker since then I don’t need to physically search and logically edit the item in question to be congruent, but if my head hurts for weeks or months on end, then those details fade. I need to make it easier for myself to find and recall esoteric things.
I’m practicing that now with the folders for the second novel.
Currently, I just have characters, drawings, and settings folders. I have a few months to find collaborators that might be interested in helping me draw character designs, otherwise, I have to draw them myself. As I build up ideas, I’ll build them out, too. For the first novel, I just had one Gdoc with everything that I’ll now split up. This is where practice and refinement will be useful. I didn’t visit John and Trishna’s apartment in the first novel, and I may not visit there in the second novel, because that’s the one I want to get right. Sammohini’s story is just a side story. Although she’s Trishna’s sister, she is a side character to “The Story,” so elements there can be weird or wrong and still be OK, narratively, and that serves as a good practicing ground.
Build the memories you want by building improving the world around you.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: The first half was based around the idea of how a game can help store ideas, and the second half was about how storing ideas can be useful but only if you apply it.|
|Related: Other “The Story” and Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshots: From the game.|
|Written On: 2020 January 21 [15 minutes. From 2:07am to “few months from now” at 2:21am, then from 2:35am to “upcoming fiction” at 2:36am. Gdocs.] — 2020 February 03 [16 minutes. From midnight to 12:16am. WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 January 21 [Minor edits from Gdocs, so second draft there, otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|