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A Soul’s Journey–Frozen Fractals All Around

Julia set (highres 01)

By Solkoll, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Sorry. It’s summertime, and I’ve seen the movie Frozen about twenty more times than I’ve wanted to, so it’s on the brain. And I’m aware that this post might solidify my status as a nerd. Just bear with me 🙂

I can’t get this line out of my head:

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around.


Not only is it adorable to hear little girls everywhere singing their hearts out about fractals, but I thought it might be a great concept to describe the character arc of a Christian fiction progatonist through a fractal.

Factoring in this thought was something I’d just read in Krista McGee’s Anomaly, which is one of the better books I’ve read lately. In it, the main character is a musician, and she plays out her emotions and thoughts in her songs. If it works for a song, why wouldn’t it work for a mathematical pattern?

This idea isn’t completely original. I’ve tried several different methods to organize plot, including Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. I really like his method, although sometimes it’s a little too linear for me. So today, as I was trying to reorganize the plot of Cocooned, the second book in my trilogy, I did a web search and found the picture at the top of my post. I imagined my four characters, each moving on their own fractal path, with the protagonist and antagonist facing off at the end of the story, just like the two bigger fractals in the picture seem to be facing off. I can see my whole plot in that picture.

I tried to imagine the white and blue spaces as safe moments for the character, that build as the color intensifies. They walk through these situations, in and out of the paths of other characters, spiraling into the climax of their own. There would be some things to draw them away from their main, spiraling path. I loved the symmetry of it, and the pacing/timing seems perfect for the twists and turns I’d like to place in the story.  It fit so perfeclty. How cool is that?

If I ever end up publishing Cocooned, I’ll share it someday 🙂

Anyone else have any cool fractal pics?

Don’t Feed the Bunnies (or maybe you should, just don’t expect to sell them)

Plot bunnies are ideas, usually those nagging, annoying ones that you can’t get out of your head until you get them down on paper. They aren’t always good, but they do get the creative juices flowing, so I generally reserve them for those days when I can’t think of anything else to write.


At the beginning of the story! I might write 12,000 words of nonsense, indulging the characters and idea to go wherever they want. It’s the perfect brainstorm, and more than that, a great resource for ideas when you write yourself into a corner.

That babbling rough draft might be full of comma splices and dangling participles, but you can analyze the characters a bit and get a picture of what you want them to be like in the story.

Also, I think indulging the plot bunnies helps to define WHEN the story should start. It helps me get a feel for the sequence of events that I want to happen and explore the “what if” from a specific direction. If I don’t like that direction, I can outline in a different way.

So yes, feed the bunnies as much as you want to.  Just don’t expect a Plot Bunny indulgence to lead to a polished draft of a story.

I participate in critiquing on several writing forums, and I think that’s the biggest issue I see.  People keep posting their indulgent writing and get their feelings hurt when someone tells them it’s not New York Times Bestseller material.  You can’t expect to write a single draft of a story in a few days and come up with something brilliant and ready to publish. Don’t do that to your readers, and don’t do that to yourself.

Most of the published authors I’ve met have spent at least a decade writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, and polishing their debut novels. So, as I tell my children, like the old Kung Fu master said, “Have patience, young grasshopper. These things take time!”