DEPARTMENT OF ODD FACTS
I will be looking for someone to study my damaged brain.
Brain researchers get opportunities to study how the brain works, mostly by accident. In a civilized country, we don’t destroy part of a human’s brain to see 1) if said human can survive without the damaged part, and 2) what effect having a particular part missing has on thought processes and the ability to function in our increasingly complex world.
So researchers have to depend on those poor souls who have a part of their brain destroyed by disease or accident – and who are willing to let said researchers poke around and submit them to endless testing. They have studied people who have no short-term memory, or people who have lost their sense of smell, or people who cannot recognize themselves in a mirror.
Brain research subject here
Other people take notes when they write, before they write, after they write. I take a LOT of notes.
Why do I think I might be useful to researchers? Because I seem to think outside my head, and store endless notes before, during, and after the process of writing fiction.
My average seems to be somewhere around 10 to 20 external words per word of finished fiction.
That’s a lot.
How much verbiage are we talking about here?
When I stopped to think about it, it means that for 10,000 words – a typical chapter – of Pride’s Children, I have written 100,000 to 200,000 extra words. When I finish Book 1, at around 150K words, I will have, stored in files, on the order of 1.5-3.0M words. And when I finish the whole story, at 400-500K words, there will be 4 to 10 MILLION words in these files.
Those are my ‘learning to write’ words, representing the more than 10,000 hours I have spent on this project, and what will be my first published work.
I keep track of everything in writing – personal and story – as it occurs to me. This clears it out of my brain so I can think of the next bit. So the files are closely reasoned bits of why a character would or would not do something – mixed in with bits of how I slept last night and why my brain refuses to kick on this morning.
Increasing writing speed – NOT
You’d think I’d get better at it, wouldn’t you? That I could figure out how to shorten the process of turning ideas and outlines and spreadsheets into a story.
Instead, what seems to have happened is that I have gotten very fast at producing those 10-20 words. I let the imagination run free – on the computer – getting it all out where I can’t lose it, because my in-brain storage system is damaged, and I need to use an external hard drive.
What might this mean for researchers studying ME/CFS?
I’m pretty sure all this happens because of the CFS – the brain is actually damaged in some important way, and I have found a way to operate around the damage, so I can write.
Surely this means I might be of use to SOMEONE in the medical research community?
And the best part for all involved? I won’t have to actually let them study me. I can give them my files, my best wishes, and let them go through all that stuff for hints of useful bits. There should be some grad student somewhere who can figure out how to handle the deluge without getting wet.
It’s already digitized, guys! Except for the twenty or so packed notebooks, and reams of early drafts printed out, it is in a digital form which someone could invent a bot to read, AND I am a tidy person: when I learned Scrivener (where all this stuff is stored in projects), I realized that the most important thing I could do for posterity was to date-stamp every entry.
And most of the files are in strict chronological order.
I can’t see how much more useful I could be to medical science than if I went out and purposely put a hole in my brain.
Let me know.