Sometimes it can be hard to be creative – the dreaded block is always just around the, well, block waiting in ambush for you. I have been having a bit of a ‘blocky’ moment recently although this is largely due to the flow of my non-writing life obstructing the flow of my writing life. In particular, it has taken what seems like an age to sort out the 5 free printed copies of BATDIG that CreateSpace, courtesy of NaNoWriMo, promised so earnestly on December 1st last year.
Of course, I have left it until the last minute to sort it out and then I wanted to correct a typo or two, and then CreateSpace didn’t like my cover [too small], my choice of format [too large], my optimism [too large and too small in roughly equal, cancelling-out measure]. Now my winner’s code doesn’t work so I am taking a rest from that to write this.
The other day I was pondering the nature of the worlds created by authors in their work. Imagine, if you will, a scale from 0 to 100 percent where 100% represents this world with all its components (kingfishers, paper, WMDs, politicians and sunsets) and 0% represents a world with no recognizable traits to us Humans (predatory paperclips, sunsets of mass destruction and political kingfishers, for example). On this scale lies every world ever invented by every writer that ever put pen to paper, finger to keyboard or synaptic-neural-interface to the Cloud*.
My musings took me to wondering whether most artificial worlds are in the 80% to 99.9999% range. Any world that is 100% is clearly non-fiction. BATDIG, for example, operates in a world that is about 95% reality. There was an Isaac Asimov story that I recall** where the world was the same but the laws of physics didn’t allow for atomic bombs. So here the world was about 90% of reality.
Of course, the best stories do exactly that. They lull you into a false sense of security, where you are comfortable with everything you are reading and then, just as you think “this isn’t very exciting” BAM! You are thrown off balance by what my American readers would call a ‘curve ball’ and what British readers might call ‘a penalty shoot-out***’.
So, ponder this: where do some of your favourite stories sit on the scale of the Coefficient of Reality? Are there any that register between 0% and 10% for example? Another Asimov story, “The Gods Themselves”, may come close – I guess this is a good excuse to re-read it!
I will return to this subject another time, when I have measured the COR of some of my library!
BLATANT AD NOW: If you are reading this and it is the 26th June 2012, then you have less than a day left to download BATDIG part 1 for free from Amazon! BLATANT AD OVER…
* I am pretty sure that scientists in the 1970s promised me this by now. So today’s world isn’t even 100% of the world promised in the 1970s. Are we all living in a fiction then? I think we may be…
** I recall the story but not its title. Sorry!
*** I’m not really a sports fan (apart from F1 and BTCC) but I gather that England lost on penalties so their free holiday in Poland and Ukraine has ended early.