Thursday, February 7
I had another night of fever dreams. They took the form of interlocking scenarios about delivering a website to a client. I could never work out what they required from me and I could never hear them properly as they kept talking loudly and rapidly, like insects.
I realised that I could not stop the dream. When I woke up and consciously switched to thinking about something else, I would close my eyes again and the incessant nonsensical chatter would come creeping back in, and within a few minutes I would get swamped by web-design chatter.
The dream involved problems that, in real life, would make no sense at all, and I would wake up halfway through devising a solution that would turn out as bogus as the problem itself. Half awake, I would find myself taking them seriously.
At 5:30 I woke up in triumph. I had taken control of the dream, which had slowed down. I woke up telling the dream inhabitants that I had taken charge. I remember smiling happily and sitting up in bed to drink a glass of water. I then slept peacefully for two or three hours.
I began the day with a tiny piece of exercise. I ventured outdoors and cleared the snow off the lid over the shed door, and then cleared a path back to the house.
I continued reading John Truby’s long, long book and had an epiphany as I did so. I had always challenged students to produce a choose-your-own-adventure story that contained a proper story with the same moral point of view no matter which choices you made, and now I began to see how it could work. You would make designs for a different story for each major branch which would take the same characters and allot them different spaces in the character web in each branch.
The trick, essentially, consists of plotting twelve or so stories with the same characters with everyone except the main protaganist receiving different roles (main opponent, ally, and so on) depending on the needs of that story, and then combining the stories into one choose-your-own-adventure. The reader’s choices would then have layers (although they would not know this). Major choices would switch story. Minor choices would have effects within a story. Trivial choices would have effects that, in the end, did nothing to the story whatsoever.
An example of a trivial choice: you choose whether to take vehicle A or B. Choose A and you arrive at your destination safely. Choose B and it breaks down, leading to a set of choices that (unbeknown to the reader) end up getting you to your destination safely however you navigate them.
At 16:00 I stop for some tea and a sandwich. I look out of the kitchen window at the snow and the twinkling lights, and realise that I suddenly feel completely better. I take my temperature and confirm this: 36.68 degrees.
I will play with Sunshine, do some ironing, tidy up again, wash my hair, and carry on reading.
At about 20:00 Irma will arrive home from a board meeting of the Finnish Indian Association with a story to tell.
At 21:00 I will go to bed and sleep all night, waking up at 5:20 for a drink of water.