This week is going to be an experiment coming from an odd idea that I had. Stories go through phases just like matter. You have the idea, outlines, first drafts, final drafts, published versions, and other phases in the middle. So, I was wondering how stories are similar to the three main phases of matter. This could easily fall flat, especially when I get to the Gas post on Friday. *pauses for laughter* Anyway, let’s dive right into this and touch on the easiest phase: SOLID
Aside from books being something you can hold, the thing we look for the most with a story is how solid it is. Similar to matter, you need the pieces to be densely packed and organized for the whole to maintain its shape. One part falters and you can watch the entire structure crumble. We talk about stories with a lot of physical, solid-based words as well. How often have you heard an author talk about creating a strong foundation or compare the process to building a person with all the physical parts? I’ve even heard a few authors talk about their books as if they put together a house. So, the connection the solid phase of matter is pretty easy to make.
One way to create more solidness in a story is with planning, but this isn’t necessary. Yes, an outline can create a clearer path for an author, but you can get a similar effect from simply following your whims. It really depends on the person. We’re looking at the result too, which is a story that has very few holes. That’s the major goal for an author. We want consistency and continuity to avoid creating a tapestry that is unraveling with every chapter or page. Now, you can’t make it entirely unbreakable because everything has a weak point. Somebody could easily tear your story apart if they put their mind to it, which is a threat shared by all stories. Instead, you design it to withstand most of the attacks like a fortification wall around a castle. Sure, those with explosives or a battering ram can get through, but you’re protected from kicks, arrows, swords, and anyone who thinks a headbutt can finish you off. Again, solid doesn’t mean 100% unbreakable, but sturdy enough to survive most assaults.
Seems I keep coming back to a construction type of mentality here, which isn’t too surprising. This is how a lot of authors act even if they don’t realize it. We’re putting pieces together to build a whole. Characters, settings, subplots, main plots, emotions, action, humor, dialog, twists, and so much more are merged to create this single entity that we hope will stand tall. Yeah, I wasn’t as scientific as I thought I’d be here, but this one is fairly straightforward. This is why I mentioned a foundation in the title because nearly everything stems from this solid core. As complicated as it is to create, it’s pretty easy to figure out in this context. You need this solid part for the story to be coherent and readable.
What do you think about comparing a story to the solid phase of matter?