Blog #3 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- WE ALL HAVE STORIES IN US
As we leave the real world and enter our imaginary world, yes - you have one, we lose ourselves in our imagination. Example: You are sitting in a restaurant, alone or with others, and you see a person at a nearby table that captivates you. Your mind starts to conger up images with you and this person of your desires. You can't help it. It's automatic. You have entered your imaginary world without realizing it.
In DGT, I write about the main character escaping into his imaginary world as a preadolescent. In an episode, he envisions himself as Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher. He even has made himself a personal arena of sorts where he becomes Nolan Ryan. The arena is his backyard where he and his dad built a pitcher's mound. As he approaches the mound he gradually becomes Nolan Ryan. From there he throws baseballs at the back wall of the garage, just like Nolan Ryan would pitch in a major league baseball game. The ritual serves as a relief of tensions at several levels, as I explain below.
At the computer keyboard my thoughts are transmitted into my fingers as they follow the storyline in my imagination. An entire novel can arise by capturing an imaginary story as I fantasize about it. Let's go back to the example mentioned earlier, that person in the restaurant. Do I know her? Did I know her long ago? Did we have a loving relationship? If so, what happened? Why aren't we together now? Oh yeah! You imagine. It was her father that ended it. He hated me...and off you go. In a matter seconds you have the core of a plot. You just dream up a suspenseful beginning and ending and travel down the imaginary highway with your fingers at the steering wheel, uh, I mean keyboard.
In case you are wondering how the episode with Nolan Ryan came about in DGT, I wanted to create the moment where the main character introduces his mild case of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. By conducting this ritual of getting his baseball glove and bucket of balls and approaching the mound, he is finding his OCD release and escape. The baseball ritual is a perfect metaphor. The design of the baseball field with the diamond shape of the infield, the foul territory lines starting at home plate and reaching out to infinity is so alluring. And there are the numbers in baseball which are parameters, three strikes and you are out, three outs, and nine innings. They are all comforting to a person with OCD. Everything has it's place in a neat design. As the main character matures there is no backyard arena, so he finds other means to satisfy the need for order in his life, and to channel his frustrations and anxiety.
In my first novel, DGT, I wanted to capture something that I imagined while at my corporate job in the first years of my employment. It arose from a project that never happened. I often wondered what might have happened if it became reality. Over the years I would pick it up again and put it away after I invented episodes. My episodes were inspired by real life events that I found fascinating or immensely entertaining. I simply changed the circumstances and the names of the cast to fit my storyline. At the end of my business career I had too many episodes for one novel. As a matter of fact, I had too many episodes for five novels. I picked the ones that fit best in DGT and saved the others for later novels.
Next week's blog: How my next novel, The Devil is in Details, came about. Why is it the first of the novels in The Disaster Trilogy?