I’ve previously said a couple times that I got the idea for “The Cromm Conspiracy” from a dream, though the final story is altered significantly from the original dream. In school, I was once told I had the imagination of a small child. Having something like that is great for writing – imagination is the key to creativity! But, it also means that my mind can come up with some really bizarre, twisted ideas.
And yet, sometimes, deep beneath several layers of weirdness lies one great story, as was the case with Cromm, and many other stories I’ve written over the years.
While I really like to let loose on some of my weirder ideas on my own, like during a First Twenty-Five Minutes of the Night brainstorm or a personal exercise I don’t plan to share, there’s only so much of this weirdness I can put into a more serious project.
Sure, stories don’t have to be completely ridiculous. Nobody complains that faster than light space travel is impossible when reading science fiction (well, impossible with our current technology, at least – Zefram Cochrane hasn’t been born yet). This is because of their willing suspension of disbelief. But if an idea seems too out there, a reader will likely shake their head and thinking “yeah, right”.
If I didn’t edit Cromm, not only would there be issues with suspension of disbelief, but the weirdness would probably take away from the point of the story. People would be too focused on the weird concepts that they won’t see the subtext, and the deeper meanings of the story, which is part of why I like Cromm so much.
It does work sometimes, though. Humorous stories with a more whimsical mood can afford more weirdness than serious ones. But even in a more serious story, a really bizarre idea, in the proper context, can work well. However, in the end, I don’t want my readers to shake their head about how ridiculous the story is, and miss the bigger picture.
I still remember The Mysteries of Valleyville. Weirdness and the humor of how weird some of the situations were was a lot of the fun of writing those, but I might have gone too far in some places (several scenes in the eighth and ninth volumes really stand out like that).
When I originally came up with the idea for Evaira, I planned it so I could include a little bit of the extra weirdness I filter out of most of my stories. However, when I really got into it, a lot of the stories ended up being more serious than I originally intended, and I wasn’t using quite as many of the weird ideas as I’d originally intended.
Maybe someday, I will be able to write a story where I can truly go wild, and use all of my more bizarre ideas, unfiltered. But for now, I see that there are ideas that are just too strange, and better left in my head. Anyway, White Rakogis is signing off for now.