Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jon Blondyn asks me "What is 3-D data?"

Well Jon   a rough example for the purposes of writing and information architecture specifically for literary production would be described like:

1.  Set up an excel spreadsheet or any program you use for 2-D data (columns and rows).

2.  Set up your data in a structured manner.  I put the subjects I write under (comedy, sci-fi, disruptive entrepreneurial, macabre historical fantasy, etc.) at the top column row called the header row.  

I title it in ALL CAPS, *bold it* and center it. Sometimes I color code that row gold to subconsciously tell me when that column's requirements are done, I can put that column's production output - the finished manuscript, drawing, design or whatever it's format and nature - up for sale in the market.

That is the first "D" (or dimension) in the 3-D data.

3.  Along the rows I put the various title names of the projects I am working on.  

Column widths are adjustable to any width so if I have a long title, a working title or no title has popped into my head yet, and I need to just describe it so I know what thought snippets go in there.

Like: "Blog about describing 3-D data development for writers who work on multiple projects at once and need a management tool not to become frustrated like I did once managing it all with files and folders and directory structures and want to do it easy and smart without a lot of intellectual overhead because they want to get back to the fun stuff on the page."  

Yeah, I've written stuff like that.  I can't lie because bullshit is the nemesis of creativity.   I used to call myself the King of run on sentences.  I still have to watch out for that.

That is the second "D" (the second dimension) in 3-D data.  Genre first, subject title next, 'D's" one and two.

Once the spreadsheet is populated, and one does not have to do this in order, in fact, its a creative tool and will probably populate uh, creatively, lol.  

As long as it is put together logically at first, how you drop data into it becomes clearer and clearer as you gain comfort and facility with the tool.  

The LC loves his comfort, and knows what is important.  What is important in any creators life is what smart organization tool can I use that is: easy, takes very little time, maps my mental creative process so the right career choices (as a function of strengths and skills unique to you) become apparent, wrong turns can be avoided, lack of productivity disappears, and most important of all, matches how the creative mental process works *logically* (at first stage career tool implementation) and rids you of those "where was I's" and "where did that file go?", (because you link to the working draft from the data cell) and critically, "what can I work on next?"

Was that a royal blunder of a run on sentence or what?

The third dimension (the LC begins to hear the theme from Twilight Zone buzzing in the back of his head) is where your rubber meets the road creatively.

An available function of a data cell is called a comment.  You just right click the cell with the title in it (that's in MSFT Excel; I don't use other spreadsheet programs so I don't know if they have this, but it would seem so) and a menu pops up and you choose add comment. 

A small sticky not window will pop up attached to the cell and you can size it any way you want, but moreover you can type into it.  Anything you want serving any purpose you want as long as it is logically linked to the cell it is attached to.  

I re-size the comment window to the size of a 3 X 5 note card if I am working on a screenplay.  I re-size the card to eight and a half by eleven inches if I think its going to take a full page to describe how I am working out a more fully qualified argument or narrative to make the point clear about what the commented cell is referencing to in the title cell it is originating from.  Because I can run on too much sometimes, I just make it big and write into it what has to be described and then re-size it down so that it fits the content within it. 

I type in the points I want to make outline or bullet style with the aforementioned topic.  I may also simply bullet point a through line action plot if it is not necessarily a information project like a blog entry (as part of a content strategy) like "There are three points about the talent faculty that have to be described fully - point a, point b and point c" so I know what to develop as individual points fully explaining the talent faculty issue at hand.  

That's the basic 3-D. Genre is first, topic in genre is second, specific of narrative you want to write about on topic are third, and that scales downward into the time, place, circumstance, examples, dialogue/duologue/monologue, devices, scenes, props, stage business (even in regular manuscripts), and so on until you map the project as well as you need to to produce it complete and as best developed as you can write.  

Now comes the fun and more important part.  

It's scalable as we say in Silicon Valley.

If one of the bullet points in a comment needs explaining, I create a separate document explaining everything that goes on with respect to the point needing to be made the bullet point requires.  

I link in the comment to that document with the explanation written out at the end of the bullet point.  

If the explanation document needs further explanation and I redraft, as writers do, I put version 0.02 at the top of the explanation document so I know I'm making progress.  I increase the version number of each draft, and when it is done, I change version numbering to final draft, print it out and read it.

Then I take the old writing advice and put it down and come back and read it with fresh eyes to see if I missed anything.  If I did, I add it and repeat the process of reading it again with fresh eyes later and if anything changes, fine by me.  I want a solid, comprehensible and well written and edited final document so I can get feedback from others, or in the case of smaller work, publish with confidence.  

The point is to not neglect combing, because writing is description at it's best, so you have to pretty much be logic perfect as well as letter perfect.  

This is not to say that when something is as good as you can make it, it is as good as you can make it and a copy editor or editor or proofreader or writer friend feedback can give you objective feedback thereafter.

I just try to do as much of it myself to save time and money on other's part as well as my own.  

Now, let's say that a project is big, cumbersome, has a lot of points to be made and lots of research to do.

I go to the cell referencing the title or project name, and turn that name itself (from the master table at the top of the information hierarchy (which rarely changes), the second dimension, and turn it into a link and create a spreadsheet for that project alone in another sheet within the master writing table workbook - or whatever you decide to name that Excel file.  

I have a workbook for:  Comedy, Corporate, Inventions, Master Admin, Personal Budget, etc.  Breaking it out into manageable chunks is the idea here as you now follow.

In that new spreadsheet, I can break out data into chapter requirements, comment cell the chapter numbers and write into them, "This is the chapter where the hero has to sail across the sea wounded after having barely escaped from his life in his home country.  He has with him all of his family that still survives, his ragtag crew of misfit sea dogs under his command and as many supplies he could take with him before his ship was overrun and almost burned at port by the invaders coming over the hill down to the sea from the north."  

I add the names of the characters in the chapter, and link to their character biographies in the text of their name. Long bios for major characters, short bios for minor characters, incidental characters require bios rarely.  

I type the moment in time the chapter starts, referencing a real time calculation made from the end of the last chapter.  Events from the last chapter can push the time forward.

For example, in Chapter two, "Two months later Fred was healed from his broken arm so cruelly given to him by evil Mike's minion, Blargvedore.  He began weight training as soon as he could to get back to full strength so he could get even."  

As much detail as you want to get into, there is another dimension of data you can attach to the parent logical reference.  How long did it take Fred to train with weights before he was back to full strength?  Even if he fully recovered and was ready, how long did it take him to find Blargvedore?  Was he going to have to bust some of Blargvedore's friends heads in order to squeeze out of them Blargvedore's location?  Did word that Fred was looking for Blargevdore reach him before Fred arrived, or is Fred going to get the full satisfaction of a surprise attack?

These are all relevant dramaturlogical questions if you are going to respect the Aristotelian consistencies required in filmic (and other kinds of) storytelling.  

You can take your cell references wherever you want to go.  And you should if the story questions are going to be fully explored.

The real reason I like and recommend this kind of structure is that when you are creating live drama in-scene, in action, you are creating.  Having to stop and make a logical reference or previous association you forgot to write down is creative inefficiency.  And as mental processes go, creativity is incredibly fast.  That is why if you don't write it down right now, you'll almost always forget it.

There's only so much jacking around with the process of flow utilization methods the creative faculty inside you is going to tolerate before you have cooperation with the faculty problems on your hand.  

The flow is hard enough to get into sometimes, why do you want to build dams across that stream?  Its self destructive and illogical.  I saw it in myself and had to create a tool that solved the problem like all creators do. 

Well, many anyway.  Some never do.  It's on you.  

This method allows me to let my mind wander as far as I want, and in science fiction writing, that can be pretty far.  Yet I can always come back to where in the logical unfolding narrative location of exposition I need to be to drop my creative work on a particular problem into.  Then it becomes a matter of just printing about a bunch of comments, taping them to the studio wall, taking a few step back and analyzing for pace and other qualities I want to put into the work before I get it to the polish stage.  

Its better to have the story logic and structure set up before going into creative mode if you can.   You may have to do it on the fly if you are that kind of creator or thinker.  You can do it after the fact but that is kinda redundant, but I admit I have done it. It sucks so better to be on top of your game.

You want all that structural clutter ironed out and elsewhere from your mind so you have plenty of processor overhead for the real imaginative and creative aspects of story creation process that define your originality, style and approach.  Even new techniques can be invented if you get the nerves, blood vessels and muscles positioned once you have the bones written down as they say.  Presto, artistic growth!

This tool has allowed me to create across multiple genres, and manage my professional business affairs as well as taxes., workouts, menus, etc.

Because I was your classic case of "all over the map, multi-talented polymath, imagination wanderer" and I got sick and tired of reiterating the same old processes that perhaps fit a writer from a hundred years ago (or a writer who refuses to change in order to grow professionally or artistically) when multi-dimensional thinking wasn't even generally known about yet,  I often dismissed it, bogging me down getting work done and out the door to my audience, small as it may be.  

But with professional management of creative work processes, that audience has grown, as have the dollars - as will my chances of notoriety in the long run.  

The point is you need *tools* and this is one that doesn't waste time, doesn't require RTFM (reading the fucking manual) and allows for any style, approach or technique you want or have to use cleanly, simply, powerfully and efficiently.

And in the big picture, Jon, if more creators used professional tools, we would collective have a greater impact on culture and that is nothing but improve the world as you like it.  

Now I gotta work on those run-on posts, huh?

Take care Jon, and I hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM 
Post a Comment