The Mathematics of Literature

Hearing that one of my short plays is going to be produced locally sent me into a validation-inspired frenzy to get something else going. So as I am taking a wee break from tidying up a full length play, simultaneously proud and insecure, I slam into this fascinating article from the Scientific American: Great Literature Is Surprisingly Arithmetic.

It reports the finding that most great stories follow mathematically similar plots – and that there are 6 identifiable arcs. According to the number crunchers, the data shows that 85% of great stories they analyzed fell into one of recognizable 6 patterns. (They’ve got graphs and everything! Check it out!)

I feel strangely comforted by the compact symmetry provided by  this study. If there are only 6 good ways to tell a story, I don’t have to worry about the plot arcs in my oeuver seeming obvious or derivative.

Sidebar: Math + Literature hooking up is as compelling as a Capulet falling for a Montague. Except, you know, with happier results.




The muse abides…

This weekend was meant for tweaking the draft of my Fringe show. The story in my mind did not translate to the page as a tight little flapper, ready to party. Instead she’s a phantom, a blob, a shadow echoing to herself. She really needs some shape and I had every intention of giving her a good booty kicking this weekend.

Instead, I got lost photoshopping 20 years off of myself for some publicity photos.

Ivy retouch basic
Introducing Ivy Lenore, from “The Last Known Recording of the Lovely Lenore Sisters”


Time well spent, I should say.

Here’s to the mystery

Here we go! It’s time to call this a real thing. To claim the process, to own the work.

I am working on a one woman show for the Hollywood Fringe right now, and this process has inspired so many ideas. And fears. And questions. And research. And dumb luck. And every now and again…moments of genius, if I do say so myself. Which I do, because…self-indulgence.

(Hey, a little narcissism is required here. But it sleeps nestled next to insecurity and shame and mediocre, half-baked ideas.)

My point is, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just making it up as I go along, mostly making do with what I’ve got at hand right now. It just so happens that even with my lazy bumbling, stuff turns out anyway. Sometimes stuff turns out pretty good. I love the magic of stuff manifesting even when you don’t know how. I’ll bet you do too.

So, what the heck, why not put it out there? Herein, please to find my process in blog form. My attempts, my works in progress, my little boo-boos, my long learning curves, my obsessive inspirations…and my end results.

I don’t know what this is or where it’s leading or how it’s going land. But I can’t wait to find out. Thanks for joining me in the mystery.