Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Intricacies of Waking Up Psychic

I started thinking after/while writing my last post that I use a lot of examples from books that don't exist. And that's not fair. Because while they might be these entire worlds in my head, from your point of view I'm just saying a bunch of random words. I feel like I should really only talk about my past projects if they’re published. Which of course none of them are. So no one has any idea what I'm talking about.

Of course, it's kind of interesting in this case, with this blog, because for the most recent stories, you all were along for the ride. You were there when I created these worlds and named these characters. But once they're done and moved to the "Probably Never Published" pile, we're all expected to forget about them and never mention them again. That might be easy for you, having only snapshots of them in the first place. But they’re pretty firmly in my head.

That said, I will try not to bring up old stories anymore. We can’t look back now. The future is all we have.

If you couldn't tell from that very long intro, I haven't made a lot of progress in my murder mystery. The current question at hand involves the onset of psychic abilities. Namely, "Why" and also kind of "When."

See, it’s very important that this is a new thing. It's the difference between "Hello, I am psychic and I will solve this murder with my cool skills" and "Oh dear god, what is happening to me, I think I may be dying." Someone who is in control of their powers is way less interesting than someone who isn't. To me, anyway. What do I know?

The problem with the whole "newly acquired psychic ability" thing is that now we need to know how he got them. These things don't just happen. And you can't just google "what causes psychometry" like you can "what causes arthritis" and expect to get any kind of concrete answer. Trust me, I tried. It's not a proven scientific thing, so I can basically make up whatever I want. Could be genetic disposition. Could be a traumatic event, or brain damage. Could be god damn aliens.

But it has to make sense. In the story. Doesn't need to make any sense in real life. I have to figure out what this guy has been up to lately that brought him to where he is with the necessary brain scrambling for this to kick in.

It doesn't work on all objects, by the way. He wouldn't be able to function, getting constant flashbacks of the factory that made his t-shirt. It's just… objects that have been emotionally charged. By say, the traumatic experience of being murdered. This gives us a little leeway in the timeline. The powers don't have to show themselves immediately after whatever caused them, but it should be with a couple of weeks.

So something happened to this guy, which led not only to him booking a room at the quaint Whatever Inn, but arriving there with a head full of misery waiting to be uncorked. And even if we never learn exactly what it is, we should still kind of know. And honestly, I should know exactly, even if I don't reveal it, because that's how writing works. I build the world and tell you what you need to know. And then I giggle to myself about all my little author secrets. Because that's how being Mad works.

I'll see you Friday.


  1. First off, I think shutting out those partially formed storyworlds is counter-productive. Where else do you consistently throw character spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks? You have a fascinating way of thinking - don't try to fit into the mold now! I'd say any writer worth half their weight in pasta has an attic full of story whatsits and if we don't bring them out to fix or repurpose them on occasion they'll get all stale and dusty and we lose the sense of them entirely.
    Second, my vote for a good psychometric genesis would be the full gamut: close encounter (real or hallucinatory) causes car crash with brain damage, which reveals tumor leading to experimental meds and radiation. Friend also gave an Indian artifact to help on the spiritual journey to wellness. Add a helping of MSG and something in the mix should've kicked the ol' third eye loose...

    1. Oh yeah, that should just about do it. :) Maybe throw in a crazy psychic grandma on his mother's side for good measure. And the hotel is notoriously haunted.