Monday, 13 January 2014

On Nihilism, Villains, and Your Writing "Partner"

Note: Ooh, I forgot to post this...

So, I regularly get told I keep "interesting" company. I recognise this, and that's the way I like it. It keeps things spicy, especially when it's 2am and they're tired and not-all-that sober and start being philosophical. This, funnily enough, is where this post starts. So at 2am this morning, James - a guy I know off a game - was talking about the universe, and how our universe is like a grain of sand on a beach so anything we do doesn't matter at all. Far from what you'd expect, it was not actually an argument for nihilism.

His argument was that if nothing we do matters, then human perspective - studying and getting a career and a relationship - doesn't matter and we should solely concern ourselves with trying everything life has to offer us. This, is an interesting perspective, and somewhat similar to my own "if nothing we do matters, then our mistakes don't matter either; what reason do you not have to try?" viewpoint - though perhaps in a more hedonistic light than my own optimistic "let's stand up against injustice/cure all disease ever/get to the edge of the universe" stance.

At almost 6am this morning (don't ask, really please don't), I run across a post made on the imdb of all places, which was the most cracked up but interesting thing I have possibly read all year. I am still trying to make sense of it, but (s)he seemed to be rooting for outliers in humanity. People who do things differently. I am being entirely too civilised about this summary... specifically, they were rooting for the people we more appropriately name villains in our heads. It was a somewhat mind-blowing read, as it put things in the most... odd perspective. It was, boiled down, a point saying that everyone has dreams, dreams that someone or other probably wont like for some reason, and that the only reason the majority of humanity is civilised is because there's too much keeping us in line and stopping us from doing things we shouldn't.

Not from that post, but a general thought - that I have probably stolen but long forgotten where from: we are all the heroes of our own story. More general thoughts, this particular on from an old friend of mine from high school: if you've got an idea, someone else has already had that idea and is writing it now. It's odd to think someone out there is writing the same thing - more or less - as me right now.

But where do those two general thoughts interlink? Got an idea? Is it a little cliche? A little boring and done-before? What's the flip? Like freedom is the positive thought path from nihilism, like our villains are someone else's heroes, there is always a different perspective. Why shovel the same when you can sprinkle a little something different? For every loss there's a gain somewhere. For every gain there's a loss. Like energy can only be converted - and not made or destroyed, so probably can luck and whatever good or ill will - if you believe there is a driving force in life - runs circumstance.

Is there another way you could take whatever conflict is going on in your story? If not, you're not looking hard enough - and probably the figurative "I had this idea too and am also writing it" race buddy isn't either. It's not the general plot at the end of the day that matters all that much - after all, there's apparently only 7 basic plots, but there are millions of books - it's the execution. "Race buddy" was the wrong term, but I can't think of a better one. Think of it as a project with the end-date being the time you die. Doesn't matter when you complete it, the best writer wins... in an ideal world - but that's another post ;)

See you next time,
Zahra

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