Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

It's been a while since I've blogged with any regularity - though balancing coursework and multiple forms of work-work (and writing, of course) has proved more manageable this quarter, it has required a lot of brain space, and I haven't felt much like posting here.

Although all the organizational work is handled and I'm comfortably ahead in my coursework, the rest of this week and the next two are going to be pure insanity on all fronts.  Harp-wise, this will be my best Christmas in a while.  I have multiple gigs happening over this span of time, so I will be able to show off my seasonal repertoire.  It's also busy season for catering work and - of course! - prepping for the final buffet project at school.

All this is to say, in my usual convoluted fashion, that I thought now was a good time for some commentary, before I vanish permanently into the ethers of insanity.

One of the odd side effects of being a writer - specifically a speculative fiction writer, where much of the brainstorming involves premises that aren't possible in our modern day world - is that there are times when my deductive brain doesn't work quite the way it should.  This makes me lousy at word jumbles, mysteries - I tend to joke that if I can guess the killer, it's too easy, though reading more mystery novels has made me better at it - and logic puzzles.

Now, when I say logic puzzles, I don't mean the kind that require (effectively) symbolic logic: for instance, the knights-and-knaves puzzles of Raymond Smullyan where knights always tell the truth, knaves always lie, and the goal of the puzzle is to decipher which the speaker(s) is/are.  I tend to be pretty good at that kind of deduction, though I will confess to skimming over the puzzles so I could read the embedded story the first time around.

I mean the kind that require you to make common sense / reasonable decisions about human behavior and the world.  One example that sticks out is a visual puzzle that shows two checks and asks which one is forged - the $5.00 check or the $5000.  The answer is, of course, the $5000, because no one would bother to forge a $5.00 check.

But that's not how my brain likes to work.  Instead, my gears are busily turning to figure out under what circumstances one would forge a $5.00 check.  I can't help but take the basic underlying assumptions apart and ask ... when would this nonsensical thing make sense?

(Among its many other writerly inaccuracies, the main character of the show Castle thinks more like a fantasy writer than a mystery writer.  I mean ... time travelers?  Zombies?  Vampires?)

This is connected to why I'm (usually) hopeless with word jumbles:  instead of seeing that "garaman" is anagram mixed about, I think, "Oh, that would make a cool name."  This is probably a very specific problem to secondary world fantasy.

Come to think of it, that whole "knights and knaves" thing would be an interesting basis for a fantasy society.  It has doubtless been done, but there's nothing new under the sun.  Hmm ...

No comments: