14 March 2011
The Cascade Effect
Originally I had planned to talk about cross-genre preternaturals, (psychic vampires, faerie shifters), and perhaps share a bit from PsiCorps #2; but before I could configure that I fell victim to the cascade effect. You see there was a spot on the toilet seat so I ended up spending five hours on my hair. Some of you are nodding, my people! Good to see you. For the rest of you completely lost, let me break it down and tell me if this sounds familiar.
Droplets of some lotion, potion or paste got away from one or more persons pouring, slathering or brushing with them in the bathroom and they landed unnoticed on the seat. The night goes by as does the early morning. I rise with the intention of writing and other lovely things only to notice the spots. I have new cleaning gloves which I promptly retrieve, grab a clorox wipe and get to cleaning. The spot comes clean but while leaning so close I notice uncleanliness behind the lid, then the lid, which moves to a glance under the rim and an untold time later the entire toilet is clean.
The clean, shiny toilet makes the tub and sink look worse so they have to be cleaned. The smell of the cleaning wipes is so strong I figure I might as well get the container of bleach and pour a bit into the toilet bowl to sit even though that's not one of my jobs. The bleach splashes a little on my arm and being allergic to it, (now you see why it isn't one of my jobs and why I need gloves to handle the wipes), I promptly wash off my arm. I go to put lotion on my now clean hands and arm only to realize I've become overheated cleaning the bathroom and it really makes more sense to shower.
I move everything from the edge of the tub, throw away the used wipe sitting there, pull the shower curtain into place and put on a shower cap with plans to go back and wash my hair after everything else is done for the day. I get in the shower and wash my hands so that I can wash my face, (yes, because who knows what I've touched up to this very last point before getting ready to wash my face), and for some odd reason my hand is getting red. I bring it closer and smell the faint sent of bleach. Oh yeah, I threw out the wipe, (yep, that little contact is enough), and not only did I through out the wipe but I the stuffed my hair under the shower cap. If my hand looks like that after a bit, let's not even contemplate my scalp in a few hours of waiting. So, there was a spot in the toilet seat and I therefore spent five hours working on my extremely curly hair that must be washed, conditioned, sectioned, detangled, moisturized and set into twists to maintain my curl pattern and protect my hair. And this is my shortest cascade effect recently.
I needed a pen so I ended up cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. The pen was under papers that went on a table too cluttered to take them. Two things on the table belonged in the over crowded fridge and several more things on the table belonged on the small bookshelf. The shelf was unbalanced because several books were in the bedroom on the floor. His dirty socks were on top of the books and the hamper was full. When I went to rearrange the fridge, the door looked dirty, cleaning the door made me notice the counter and stove. I needed a pen so I spent a full day cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry.
I share this not only because it preempted my original post or because I want others to normalize by behavior by admitting their own, (please do), but because I had a revelation on how it directly relates to writing. My character is a loner and federal assassin sent to retrieve two boys out of harm's way. She leaves with two additonal men that she ends up taking home. Taking them home leads to fighting for their rights in the larger shifter community. That fight leads to growing close to the shifter leader who she really can't stand, (I'm serious, she can't stand him to such a degree she nearly sits down every time he walks in a room), and who has his own purposes for helping. That arrangment leads to delving into the vampire-shifter power play of the city. That leads to eight other things including becoming a political figure and creating a multi-shifter poly household. See, the cascade. This is why I can't plot.
I'm not a complete panster, I usually go into a story with an idea of scenes I definitely want to see and what needs to be accomplished to reach the desired end, but I can't plot an entire story from beginning to end; I have no way to forsee the cascade effect. It only reveals itself when you reach for one thing and immediately have to deal with everything else that must be cleared away first. The last attempt to plot and therefore to predict the cascade effect ended in utter catastrophe and a three week delay, blowing my deadline to hell. That incident makes this revelation utterly thrilling. I tried to explain to a plotter friend of mine what had happened and neither she nor my panster pal truly got it. But now I have terminology that fits. For me, it's all about The Cascade Effect.
That's all for now, I have to get some sleep. Let's see if I can brush my teeth without it ending in painting the house. *grin*
So do you cascade?
Cascading Ramble ~ Done