Thursday, January 14, 2010

Argument for Delusion

There are people all over the world who would argue delusion is a bad thing. These are the same stuffy people who always color in the lines, have never streaked and make their beds every day. The world is, in reality, more random than these people would like to believe, and it is easier to cope if we are just a little bit nuts.

Today my argument, is for delusion as a writing tool.

First… How it can help you keep going…

Delusions of the gorgeous men you keep locked in your basement can cheer you from any slump.

Delusions of eventual fame and fortune fit fabulously with thoughts of revenge when you receive rejections.

Delusions of muses dragging their trunks back up your front walkway can set you back on track after a slump.

Delusions of fanciful romps with porn stars can just go straight into the book.

But the real strength of Delusion…

You see… it’s an exercise… Let me e’splain…

Once upon a time, on a forum not so terribly far from here, I met a band of marauders… LADY Marauders… set on taking over the world. They initiated me into their membership… okay, so possibly I was among the founding members if we are getting technical… with a mission of total world domination (the nudity was my idea *waits for gasps of shock*). This is where the basement dungeon idea was first communicated, and then I learned about Planet Spankmenow, and life has never been the same.

Delusional Thursday: A History

Anyway… we got to thinking about our reign… how we could influence others… and you know how people are hesitant to say… move somewhere without visiting first? Take on a religion without investigating the required practices? Start writing a book with no clue... Well I thought (yes me… this is my marketing background *puffs up*) maybe BABY doses… a little TASTE of it all… might help people dive in and embrace it.

I chose Thursday because… well… I was born on a Thursday. Isn’t the saying ‘Thursday’s Child is Loony as all get out”? You know the saying I’m talking about, right? So Delusional Thursday was born.

Now this forum was for ‘predicting what would happen’ in the final Harry Potter book (but it doesn’t need to be—y’all know I’m a geek that way, but the lesson holds anyway). And my premise was, on Thursday, anything goes—no matter HOW far out and nuts it was, Thursday predictions were for entertainment and stretching our imaginations. It was to shake things up and keep things fresh.

And do you know what was born out of Delusional Thursday? A writer. (at least one). Because that process of trying to rationalize the absurd, fit in the bizarre so it was believable and plausible was an incredible lesson in what is fresh and interesting. It led me to some theories I may never otherwise have voiced, and trying to PROVE them (never mind I originally professed them as delusional) resulted in the first long stories I ever wrote.


I spent some time at a website yesterday reading ‘successful query letters’ and then the agents reasons they thought the letters were so good. Do you know what the most stand-out feature was of those letters? Some KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF strange idea. Somebody had thought of something so INCREDIBLY novel, and written a book about it.

Now I’ve read some books based in these very strange ideas and the ideas aren’t always so strange when you get down to the BOOK, but they are fresh and interesting because they are tales we haven’t seen before. I’m coming to believe that is how you break in… nailing a normal story onto a very strange idea… Or at LEAST including enough really unique elements—things that make a reader sit up and take notice.

So I am advocating for the practice of spending a little time each Thursday thinking of really bizarre things and then ways those could actually fit into a REAL story…

Go on. Delude yourself.  It's good for your soul.  It will make you laugh.  And while you're at it... it may just give you your next great idea.


TreeX said...

I can confirm everything she's said. I was there.

And I have kept a record. ;)

Jan Morrison said...

Delusion can become a way of life. Or even a life style choice. I think that phrase 'life style choice' is particularly delusional, don't you? I, for instance, believe that if I honour a certain tree by touching it whenever I go past it and murmuring words of love that I will gain some unbelievable power eventually. And who can convince me otherwise? No one, that's who.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Well, maybe that explains my sad query letter. It's too rooted in rational, expected behavior. What I could do, perhaps, is change the thing to delusional, change the title and requery...hey, all they can say is no.

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Watery Tart said...

Jan--I will deny this later, but I try not to LIVE too deeply in delusion, but as a tool, I love it...

Galen--I think the BOOK also has to have delusional elements for the delusional query to work, but you DO have a point... No isn't any worse than what I'm getting now...