Between a hypothetical plot I’ve been jamming on to process the increasingly intolerable pain I was facing on a daily basis and the influx of new medical treatment locations I was visiting, I have more locations to inform “The Story.” With my Novel 02 Minecraft builds, I’ve been using the popular videogame as a 3D paint program to layout architecture and keep geography narratively consistent, which is helping me brainstorm in-novel locations, while taking real-world inspiration.
Spoilers?: Minor [fact inspiring fiction]
Yesterday, I went to see my dual ‘sports medicine and pain management’ doctor.
His office is located in what I might consider an extended medical campus. I’ve been to quite a few over the years, and even worked in a few either long-term or for temporary contracts, but there’s the concept of trying to remember each little detail that makes it difficult even for writers with the best memory. I never liked the idea of writing down every aspect of where things were located since that felt oddly arbitrary. How well can you describe the location you’re reading this essay in? I know that I could give you pages of information about the living room where I am writing this essay, or, I could do a visual mock-up of my living room and give you a far better idea of what it looks like, which does seem to make the argument that text is an inferior medium of presenting information.
I would say this Minecraft world I’m building is purely informational.
Novel writing, on the other hand, is not so much about information as it is telling a story with meaning. When I started writing Novel 01, I had a vague notion of the story I wanted to tell, and by the end, I felt like – and I still feel like – what I wrote is a good meditation on one small aspect of reality. When I write Novel 02, I will have changed two things: I won’t be working within the NaNoWriMo crunch, which is a lofty way to write a novel but unrealistic and healthy for long-term writing, and, I will have a thorough visual layout both in terms of geography and character designs before I write. Once I have the time and visual elements sorted out, I believe I can easily write Novel 02, take a break to consider what I learned, then write Novel 03, rest, and repeat.
I belive each future iteration builds on past iterations, both in writing and map-building.
When I went to that appointment, I wasn’t directly thinking about “The Story” or that Minecraft map. All I was really thinking about was overcoming the overwhelming pain I was in to receive fair and proper treatment. I did and I can once again think about fiction and things other than overwhelming pain, which is nice. Throughout those adventures, however, I encountered many inspirations that I could use for writing various elements of future novels and “The Story,” but, since I don’t have that super-fancy memory, I would have forgotten many of those details were in not for having avenues for visual dumps.
I take photographs when I can, and that’s helpful.
But here, I’ve been thinking about Trishna’s spinal health. She has a different issue than mine, hers is a disability she was born with that makes anything more than ambulatory walking between her wheelchair and any other seat she’s transferring to painful, whereas mine is looking to be more of a nerve issue since my spine seems to be doing well. She’ll have to frequently return to her equivalent of the various clinics I visited, so it’s good that I’m thinking about how all these pieces fit together now. I don’t exactly recommend Minecraft for novel-writing, for the sorts of frustrations you can watch or read about in my video series, however, it’s been helpful for myriad reasons.
A useful reason just now is: What does that extended medical campus look like?
The campus I’ve been in closest proximity to lately is a “red” block in the middle of a “gray” residential area. There’s a nearby “orange” commercial block and two “green” parks. I don’t see any other colors, according to Google Maps, but these seem more organic and might have been built based around the land that was available. What if the medical complex were a giant red blob on the map, with some “gray,” “orange,” and “green” thrown in? I’m thinking that the Eville Medical Extended Campus [tentative name] would take up one side of a minor intersection, and anything additional would spill out past those other “colors.” That would be how I would develop a medical campus if I were given unlimited resources and could safely allocate a large amount of space to fit “one of everything” into that space.
Sure, it’s idyllic city building, but it works within the confines of novel-writing.
Once this information is ironed out, I won’t need to think about it much. I would need to jump into the map to confirm details, but I would know roughly where things are located, so I could, say, write a scene where characters walk from one location to another and I wouldn’t have to guess or hand-wave the details. I could know how far it takes to walk because, in-game, I could walk it first. That level of detail is excessive for a one-off novel taking place in basically a fictionalized version of your real-world area, or some completely hypothetical world, but “The Story” will have many novels referencing many parts of its geography, so I have to stay consistent with it.
I can’t, for instance, have a major geographical difference between Novel 02 and 03.
As I build this map, as I consider “The Story,” and as I continue plans for Novel 02 – which won’t start until after I have more of my life put back together – I’ll return and reread through Novel 01 to make sure I have all of the major details.
That Minecraft map might eventually become a “The Story” compendium.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: I’ve been thinking about “The Story,” but I’ve still been stuck in the mode of being barely able to function, let alone write, so excuse this essay’s rigidness.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2020 December 11 [7am to 7:35am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 December 11 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|