Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Miscellaneous updates

Where to begin? There's a lot going on right now, not least the continuance of tree sex in my throat. I swear, I wish they'd just come and be done with it. But anyway, here are a few quick notes about various things I'm involved with.

My collaboration with Jukebox is just about exactly at the halfway point, meaning halfway through the second of our three stories. I don't know how Jukebox feels, but I think the interplay with someone whose ideas are very different from mine brings out the best in me. It takes me to places I wouldn't go on my own, and that's cool. It's also kind of funny to watch how gently two subs butt heads. ;-)

I'm still reading Anathem and am down to the last two hundred pages. I continue to be amazed and in love with the novel, but I've also realized that the average SF/fantasy reader might have a problem with it because it's pretty talky in spots. There's a heck of a lot of theorizing about belief systems, parallel worlds, and other things Terry Pratchett's stodgier characters tend to dismiss as "quantum" (I have a hunch Neal Stephenson is a big Terry Pratchett fan. Either that, or they read a lot of the same books). Fortunately, just when the story seemed about to turn completely into Socratic dialogue, there was a huge revelation - one I should have seen coming from a lot further down the pike - that changed the nature of all the talk preceding it. And now several of the main characters are floating around in space having Apollo 13-like adventures. I'm curious to see where Stephenson takes things next. I don't think we're in for a typical space Western, but I do think there's room for some wuxia to creep in. ;-P

Lastly, I've finally cracked a lock I've been working on for awhile now: I've figured out how to turn my Virtual Hypnotist morning session into a proper MC story. See, I didn't want to just post the text as an induction; I wanted to build a tale around it. So the trick was finding the right sort of tale, something that would include pretty much the whole induction but still be just as spooky and dramatic as the rest of my stories. Well, a couple of days ago, it came to me - in the middle of one of my morning sessions, as a matter of fact. This is definitely one of those cases where not being able to go completely mindless worked to my benefit. I know how to write the story now, and I plan to begin it this weekend. No telling when I'll have it finished, but I don't anticipate it being more than one chapter. Oh, and some ideas for a title so far: "Inside-Out," "Onion," "The Worm at the Heart."


DRP said...

If you don't mind me asking, what was the revelation? I'm still tinkering around with VH trying to make a session that works well for me, and my success has been... pretty moderate, unfortunately.

As for being able to mindless in general, it's always struck me as one of those shuddery-hot phrases that I've been loving in stories for years but one that doesn't actually mean much, if anything, to my subconscious. For the success I've had with hypnosis, I've had far, far better results describing physical sensations than mental constructs; a command like "You are feeling more and more mindless" or "You are feeling your free will draining away" results in my brain trying to figure out what, exactly, that would feel like and as a result ends up pulling me out of trance, not deepening it.

If those kinds of commands are going to work at all, and I'm not really convinced they ever really *can* because we're trying to simulate something via hypnosis that doesn't really exist, it's going to be by breaking it down into component parts and invoking each of them individually. Commands to make yourself dizzy and confused and obedient, sure (and wow, maybe this is working better than I'd thought - felt myself slipping down a bit as I typed that), because those are concrete concepts that your brain can simulate.

The other problem for mindlessness is that I'm guessing it involves you shutting down the analytical portion of your brain, and at least for me that's always resulted in failure and me coming partially or entirely out of trance. When the analytical portion of my brain hears something shutting it down, smarmy bastard that it is, it likes to test that theory once the commands are over and ends up being less productive than if I'd just given it a shiny ball to play with somewhere else in the induction. Distracting it, sure. Shutting it down? Not so much.

thrall said...

DRP, everything you describe is pretty much the same stuff I wrestle with in VH sessions. I agree completely that just saying, "You're becoming more and more mindless" doesn't work. I have to give myself physical images, like a wormhole draining my thoughts away, and it still doesn't completely do the job.

I've found some things that help a lot (Read my "Jellybaby" entry if you haven't yet), but I don't have a total solution and don't even know if there is one. The revelation I mentioned in this blog entry wasn't about VH so much as how to turn my VH morning session into a story for the EMCSA.

Stay tuned....

DRP said...

Ah, so I just completely misunderstood what you were talking about. Whoops! Although I suspect that your ability to turn the morning induction into a story will at least give me some hints about how to improve mine after I read the story.

I'm reading through the Jellybabies post now, somehow I missed that the first time.