The cat is staying, because of Quantums

It’s funny how the brain works when you’re writing.

In my current manuscript, I’ve had a cat appear throughout. There’s nothing particularly special about it. It’s not a magic cat or anything like that. It doesn’t talk, or lead my protagonist to hidden treasure.

But the thing is, I’ve not known why it’s been there. The idea came to be during the initial vomit draft, just one of many ideas I threw out during that messy initial version of the story. And when I eventually got past that draft and started considering why I’d put it there, I couldn’t work it out. I knew it worked, but not why.

And if there is something in your story that you like but doesn’t actually add anything to it, then in most cases it has to go. “Kill your Babies” is one of the universal mantras you’ll hear in any writing course. If it’s unnecessary, lose it.

But I didn’t want to lose the cat. I just felt that, somehow, it made sense.

And yesterday, while I was working on the first big edit of my first draft, it suddenly clicked. I knew what the cat represented, why it fits into the story where I’d put it, and why it should stay.

I love moments like this, when something suddenly makes sense and you get a fleeting moment of realisation that maybe you actually know what you’re doing.

it’s funny how the brain can work sometimes, isn’t it? These bursts of intuition. That it can throw out an idea, but then take literal months before it can work out why that idea worked. When you get these ideas, I wonder if the full thinking behind them is there in your mind and it just takes a while for it to put it together. Or do these intuitive leaps have something deeper behind them?

Maybe it’s a temporal thing. Where somehow in the brain can get a glimpse of a solution you’ll have reached in the future. Maybe “Intuition” it’s something we’ve evolved to show us that we’re on the right track and not to give up.

It would be cool if the brain had some ability to see glimpses of the future. I bet it would involve Quantums, somehow.  I’m not a scientist, but it feels to me like Quantums must have something to do with it.

Anyway, the cat is named Scrat, and he’s staying.

Quantum Cat

 

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2 thoughts on “The cat is staying, because of Quantums

  1. This reminds me of the ‘Thought Fox’ by Ted Hughes. Can’t resist copying it here, hope you don’t mind!

    THE THOUGHT-FOX

    I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
    Something else is alive
    Beside the clock’s loneliness
    And this blank page where my fingers move.
     
    Through the window I see no star:
    Something more near
    Though deeper within darkness
    Is entering the loneliness:

    Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
    A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
    Two eyes serve a movement, that now
    And again now, and now, and now

    Sets neat prints into the snow
    Between trees, and warily a lame
    Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
    Of a body that is bold to come
    Across clearings, an eye,
    A widening deepening greenness,
    Brilliantly, concentratedly,
    Coming about its own business
    Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
    It enters the dark hole of the head.
    The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
    The page is printed.

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