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Logic at the expense of Creativity.

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Some of my friends say that I am too critical. More often than not I’m there to tell you why a particular movie/book/tv show was bad. At work they say, “Jeffrey doesn’t care for most things.”

Now that saying is something of an exaggeration. I like a lot of things. I just want them to make sense and follow, at least, their internal logic. Many people have railed against “Prometheus” and how stupid the scientists were. Well, at least they were all consistent. Yeah, the black goo couldn’t make up its mind on how it wanted to work–though I have explanations on each occurence–but really, for me, that movie was about David.

But I digress.

What is comes down to is that I like logic. Meaning, keep the changes to our reality at a minimum. Unless you can provide a really good reason for the change. For instance, when a gun shoots someone and they go flying back twenty feet. Really? REALLY?! How did the shooter not have his arm ripped off from the same amount of force flying backward?

Well, this kind of thinking as started to cause a problem for me as an author. I feel like I’m losing my creativity. When I go in to write a fun scene and want some awesome to happen, my brain can’t get past the reality of the situation. How can my character perform this cool action scene, when everything I can think of breaks my personal belief of logic.

Better example. I love Steam Punk. Which I think most nerds/geeks do. It’s got great style and the gears and steam are just too cool. So I wanted to inject a bit of that concept into my novel. Something like fantastical technology/machinery.

Then my logic starts getting in the way.

Well that machine wouldn’t actually be able to do that because of x. It would be awesome if my character could create a machine that does y! Oh, but that’s not how the science works. So therefore machine y couldn’t be made.

And it’s driving me insane. I honestly believe I’m going for logic at the expense of creativity.

Some how I need to be able to drag my logical brain out back and shoot it. Then I can let my inner child run free and make up whatever it wants. Going for whatever is cool and makes the story fun. Screw real science. Pump a guy full of deadly Gamma Rays and watch him grow into a big green man!

See, if Marvel can do it, why can’t I?



  1. yoga-adan says:

    “Some how I need to be able to drag my logical brain out back and shoot it.” – ha, know the feeling 😉

    when it works for me, is to temporarily convince the logical mind that it’s gonna observe an experiment (ie, the fun fiction scene i want to write) then it is the logical mind’s “job” to figure out how it worked

    we don’t know how everything in the universe works, and our creativity may be a fringe element of the universe 😉 but it’s part & parcel

    best wishes, for both of us 😉


    • Not a bad plan. So far I’ve been able to do that for a few things and my writing group hasn’t called me out on any of it. So, if I can get the reader to buy it, what should it matter? 😉

  2. Crazian says:

    You just have to have your rules set. Rather than thinking that your plan or idea is illogical come up with a universal rule that exists in your world that makes it feasible. But remember that this rule applies to everyone, not just to that character or at that moment. Doing that will make it so you dont feel as if you’re cheating in your own world.

    • I’m totally with Bill and you. For magic systems and the fantastical science fiction I’m all on board with that.

      What I get stuck with are bending ideas/rules for things we definitely know about. Like when a doctor watches House. There are things that happen in that show that make you say, “That would never happen!”

      But it’s good for the suspense/drama of the show. And most people probably don’t care. Much like my example of bullets and guns.

      I’m fine with the fantastical. It’s the breaking the mundane that I start to bristle.

      • Crazian says:

        Oh well if that’s the case your just talking bout the highly improbable. I say let your mind bristle. There are plenty of instances where stuff like that happens. I think you should just make it apparent that your characters also realize how unlikely the event was. Crazy things happen. Mothers can pick up trucks when their baby us in danger and a dude can eat 60 hotdogs in a minute. The incredible is out there but keep incredible.

      • Crazian says:

        Keep it incredible. Don’t make moments that stretch credulity commonplace.

  3. Bill Chance says:

    I think that within the first paragraph, or at least the first couple pages, of something you write you make a deal with your readers and tell them what the rules of your work are. You can get away with anything as long as you don’t break those rules.

    So many Hollywood productions break that deal with the viewer – probably because they were created or modified by committee, where everybody wants something different.

    Interesting entry, thanks for sharing.

    • I mentioned to Crazian that I’m all about setting up a certain rule system for your book. And that works really well for SciFi wonders and magic systems. But when trying to bend the mundane to suit your story, my mind begins to bristle.

  4. I tell people my novel is about modern-day Atlanta, only magic works. And in my HEAD, I have a crazy-as-hell system for how that magic works in our world. The reader will NEVER hear it, because that would break the mystery. But it’s consistent with my rules, and hopefully at least that part will come through in the book. Assuming I ever finish it. 🙂

    • And no, it’s not mitichlorians.

    • I’m still ready to ready that story. Maybe the holdup is that I’m trying to use relatively real science to backup one aspect of my novel. So the more research I do the more I realize things might not work the way I’d like them to work.


      • Oh, yes, welcome to my pain. To avoid the magic-wielding characters from becoming too super-powered, I had to design some pretty severe negative aspects into the magic. And I just HAD to read all those physics books, assuring that I have to take into account the conservation of energy and momentum, and silly things like the speed of light and how gravity works and all that. But I’m with yoga-adan above: just write it and then go back and “fix” the physics. Or don’t. Sometimes “cool” wins over “right.” 🙂

      • In that case. Gamma Wave guns for everyone!

  5. Greg Baker says:

    In writing a fictional story about werewolves with my own mythology loosely based on native american lore, I constantly have to throw out historical accuracy for the sake of the story.

    As a wise Scotsman recently said to me, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

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