Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hypotheticality

Today, I really wanted to write some blogfiction, for the post. For a while now, I've just been spouting opinion, and I wanted to lighten up a little. But I was burned out. It was too last minute, I was too unprepared & I am too tired.
[Hence the terribly drawn illustration. Sorry about that . . .]
But the thing is, while I was trying to come up with a story to write for this post, more often than not, I found myself wondering what would happen if I was in that position.
I’d come up with a fantasy about trolls and goblins, and wonder how I'd react. I'd come up with a mystery and wonder how I would solve it were I there. I would come up with ideas and think:
  “What would I do in this situation?”
It's all my fault, you see. I'm just too excited. Because a few days ago, I came up with a cool, new idea I’ve been toying with, that I would like to add to this blog, and since I have nothing else to talk about, now seemed like the best time to introduce it.
The Word of the Day is: 'HYPOTHETICAL'.

Hypothetical /huy’pəthetikəl/ adj. 1. Assumed by hypothesis; supposed: a hypothetical case. 2. Relating to, involving, or of the nature of hypothesis: hypothetical reasoning. n. 3. A hypothetical situation, instance, etc.

Wow, this is one of those fun double whammy words, isn't it? Dictionary, in the interests of clarity, define 'Hypothesis' for the people:

Hypothesis /huy’pothəsəs/ n. 1. A proposition, idea, theory or other statement adopted as a starting point for a discussion, investigation, study, etc. 2. A statement accepted as basic in an argument. 3. A guess; assumption.

Hypothetical Situations are a good way to understand a concept, or come to terms with it. With enough understanding, knowledge & time, one can come to see many things that would otherwise be recognized only as theory:
  • What would it be like to walk on the surface of the sun?
  • What would you do if you met Albert Einstein?
  • What would happen if you could keep a dinosaur as a pet?
These are all ideas that we can understand, but never enact in a plausible or safe environment. But we can do so within the safety of our minds.
Some people daydream, and some people fantasize. And I am among them. What is fiction if not asking those hypothetical questions over and over within the one scenario?
I like to write fiction, and I have already created a few specialized stories for this blog. But one issue I run into is the Time. I write these posts within an hour or two, or at least try to, but when I write fiction it takes up so much more effort, and I often have to plan weeks in advance.
So I was wondering if I could use hypothetical situations to allow myself to write fiction, as well as explore concepts otherwise unseen, by streamlining the concept phase. It's admittedly an intellectual shortcut, Like self-insert fanfiction without the fanfiction, but I think there's much to be gained from this concept.

In The Absurd Word Nerd blog, there are a few mainstays and key features: Blogfiction; Word of the Day; Meta-postsDictionary.  Now, I am hoping to add another: Hypotheticals.

The idea is simple. I will start with a hypothetical criterion, or a Hypothesis. I will then envisage the most logical situation wherein I will place my fictional self in this strange situation, and I will then follow the steps to their logical conclusion, given what I know about myself and the situation. Then I will present this to you in the form of a narrative.

The rules are simple.
  1. Once given a 'Hypothesis', the query must be answered appropriately, according to its wording & grammar.
  2. The situation must be resolved logically, with no cheating, falsehoods or 'deus ex machina'.
  3. The Hypothetical must continue until either the situation ends, my fictional self dies or the consequences cannot be determined.
I am taking this pretty seriously, but this is just a fun way to stretch my writing muscles, as well as my imagination and intellectual strengths. But why am I telling you all of this? Well, because I want you to be a part!
I didn't change my template just to make my blog pretty. I want to include others in my fun. What I'm saying is:
  I want YOU to think up hypothetical situations for me!

This concept may be a little wild for people to understand, so I figured I'd give people a sample of what I am hoping to do. So here is just one example of a Hypothetical, which I've chosen for its brevity. It's admittedly a little morbid this one, but it's the only question I could cover in a short piece:

Let's say I am given the Hypothesis -
What if you were to Spontaneously Combust, right now? . . .

Burning Man
I am sitting at my desk, my fingers hovering over the keys waiting for inspiration, when I start to feel a heat in my forehead. Thinking that it is, just sunburn, I gently rub it with my fingers to cool my face. But my fingers, too, feel a deep warmth. In fact, now that I think about it, I feel a deep boiling in my stomach.
Is it something I ate?
The heat increases rapidly, and before I know it I can feel it bursting from my skin, and in seconds I'm covered in blisters! WHOOMPHF! My entire body. Head to toe, every inch of me suddenly flares up like a struck match. I scream as I feel the heat. An unnatural wave of hot air, like I've just dived into the oven. But the fire is so deep, it fries my nerves.
I panic and scream! The fire! It's everywhere! I stumble to escape my desk. I must escape the fire! But my desk chair, always troublesome, trips my frantic, unsteady legs. I hit the carpet. and as the carpet burns and melts under my ignited hands, the last strands of my hair have become cinders.
Water! I have to stop the fire!
I get to my feet. By now, the fire has melted the plastic of my glasses to my face, and charred the glass. I tear the frames wildly from my head as  run out of my bedroom door, blindly, with charred skin and burnt clothes falling from my body. I turn to the kitchen, but my progress has slowed considerably as my toenails crack and split from the heat, my muscles cook and the soles of my feet blister. I run smack into the glass table that I can't see through my watery, unadorned eyes.
There's pain from the heat, but desperation and adrenaline drives me. Dripping sodden ash, boiled pus and blood over the floor, I stumble along the bench, charring the plastic top as I crawl over it, and as soon as I can reach the kitchen sink, I slap at the tap with my hand. I struggle to push my head, arms and upper-body under the water. As the water steams from my flaming head, I kick the cupboards with frustation, as my body continues to burn. Even if I can manage to put out the fires of my top half, my legs burn beneath me, and I collapse on the kitchen floor.
Through a combination of third degree burns, skin infections & heat exhaustion, I eventually burn and die.

THE END

Okay, I'll admit, that was much more disappointing than I was hoping for. But when your whole body suddenly catches alight, it's hard to get out in one living piece. Can you blame me?
I was running out of time, and couldn't think up a better, shorter Hypothesis to work with. But that's what you're for!
I hope for much more uplifting, entertaining & enlightening Hypotheticals, for whole blog posts.

I already have some potential Hypothetical Situations involving zombies, super powers & other cool stuff, and those are the ones I plan on doing first. But that all depends on what you people come up with! If you have something better, I'll do it!
All you have to do is present me with a Hypothesis, framed as a question, that I can play out. I'd like to see if I can survive some of these, using just my wits and writing ability.
Just leave your Hypothesis in the Comment Section!

[Note: If you want specific things to happen, or have details that can be interpreted many ways, specify within the comment. Otherwise, I will just have to interpret the question as best I can.]

If you have a good enough Hypothesis, I'll use it, thanking you for the question, if you wish. And I'll use it for a Hypothetical Post.
Hypotheticals are something that I would like to make a permanent feature of the blog, but it relies on new questions. Feel free to leave a Hypothetical under any blog post with the hypothetical or fiction label and I guarantee I will give it a look-in.
I'd hate to see this idea die out due to apathy, people.
Don't let me Down!

- - - 

Oh, and since we're already talking about Blog Particulars, I figured now was a good time for a heads-up. In April, I plan on doing a Parody Week. Don't worry, audience participation is not required. But I wanted to advertise it now, because I am putting a lot of work into this thing!
During the second week of April, I will do a new blog post every day, each one based on a blog or bloggers that I appreciate, and will be doing a Parody of. This was inspired by xkcd's own Parody Week, and I'll even be doing an xkcd parody, so look forward to that. Seriously people, it's gonna be awesome.

So look forward to Parody Week, and drop me a Hypothesis, if you want to start asking the big questions. Until next time, I'll be trying to answer my own hypothetical question:
  "How much better would this blog be if I didn't leave all my blog posts to the last minute?"

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I would love to read your words.