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Structure of Frangles: First Try!
July 5, 2009 FRACTAL NONLINEAR PROSE
following gives a freader (frangles reader) a very, very rough idea of
the future and evolving structure of Frangles. Like all Frangles
material that will ever ever be published, it's a shoddy half-ass rough
draft, posted to give a freader the precious illusion of freedom from
the inexorable doom that no totally finished Frangles material will
ever ever be published. Much Frangles material will be published as
the software equivalent of a "beta" test, which the reader can download
and try out a little, but which needs major modifications, especially
at times when a lot of work is being put into raw material as opposed
to solid polished prose. The following the first beta attempt at
explaining the future structure of Frangles, and will be heavily
revised as time goes on. Read only if you're bored, drunk, and dizzy,
and please oh please ignore any typos you might find.
LET THE FOLLOWING SCARE YOU OFF. While Frangles has the benefit
of reading the stories in a million different ways, it's stories can
just as easily be read straight through just like any other book.
It will be like a computer that you can do anything from surf the
internet on, to write software if you know how to program. If the
following gets you dizzy, don't worry! Just try reading a book
from beginning to end. (once they're actually written); right now what's up is a bunch of raw material, but we guarentee you more is coming soon! Or at least eventually.
a great deal of planning, it's been decided Frangles will be a
nonlinear saga of seven cubed (or 343) books. Now don't get scared yet. Wait
until we tell you that each book will be broken down into another 343
fragments, and that the total Frangles structure will include 117,649
pages (or short scenes), which can be ordered in 117,649 factorial
ways. That's something in the vague ballpark of ten to the power of
half a million zeroes stories. Now you can panic.
Really, it's simple! Extreme complexity and extreme simplicity can be
the same thing (from one frangle). Take, for instance, a mandlebrot
fractal. The simple equation z=z^2+c generates an infinitely complex
and self-similar realm of images. All from an amazingly simple
equation. The high numbers really mean nothing. If you understand a
nonlinear novel with just four or nine pages, the rest is almost just
as simple, it's just a looooot bigger. If you can play 3-D tic tac
toe, you can play 700-D tic tac toe. (You can stop panicking now).
let's go over a three by three structure. Consider a book with nine
pages (we'll name it "Frook" to demonstrate Frangles' infinite
creativity), that can be read in a number of different ways. Imagine
the pages in a square (we'll use rough cheapass diagrams for the
1 2 3
1|X X X
2|X X X
3|X X X
X represents a page of text of our 9-page story. we'll call the upper
left page 1.1, the second in that row 2.1, and the third in that row,
3.1, and so on. Now let's do a Blues Clues thing and you think
up a plot. Got it? Great, a florist / midgit / recovering alcoholic
love triangle is a great idea! Let's label them characters 1, 2, and
3, respectively, and name them Jane, Tiny, and Clarissa. Page 1.1 will
be Jane's story alone, 2.2 will be Tiny's, and 3.3 will be Clarissa's.
The other six pages will be where the charcters meet up.
say we read the story in the top row. We get the story "The Lovely
Florest Meets a Midgit and Gets Dumped." In 1.1 is the story about
Jane's lonely morning, in 1.2 is the story of her lovely afternoon
fling with the attractive and adorable horny dwarf, and 1.3 is the
tragic conclusion as Jane has a friendly friendly dinner with a new
friend she met who explains the midgit is actually a serial killer she
knew from rehab. Jane's plot arc has gone from being lonely, to
finding love, to being tragically dumped at the end. It ends with the
line "This was the beginning of a beautifully tragic love triangle."
covers the same event as 1.2, except now we understand the afternoon
from Tiny's point of view, who's thinking the whole afternoon that he'd
much rather be dating the recovering alcoholic he knew from rehab last
week. This is our introduction to Tiny's story. In 2.2 we go to
his evening, who lights a candle, and decides to start a new life as a
buddhist monk and leave town altogether, yet we don't know why, because
it's the middle of the story. 2.3 covers his morning breakfast with
the alcoholic, in which we learn both are actually android agents who
are going to prepare the florist to be pulled out of the Matrix, a
stressful job that Tiny wished to get away from and was filled with
guilt for, and now we know why Tiny wanted a new life.
covers Clarissa's point of view at dinner, who we see was lying to the
increasingly manipulated and underdog florist Jane. But we see a twist that
only occurs on this page: She jokes that she was once a female Buddhist
Time Lord who combed the galaxy to find a humanoid florist and a midgit
to help grow a tiny flower garden in her TARDIS (a hyperdimensional phone booth from Dr. Who). Now we understand her
motivation in all the other pages. Everything we read, whatever order
we read the story in, we understand something different now about who
the Time Lord android agent alcoholic is.
In 3.2, we see the
morning breakfast with Tiny from her point of view, and in 3.3, we have
the ultimate conclusion: Clarissa the time lord flees the planet and
leaves the troubles behind her and ditches her quest for tiny
midgit-sized flower arangements. This concludes everything, but if
this page is read first, we then want to know what her troubles on Earth were and why they were important.
entire story, surprisingly, can be told 362,880 ways (for each of the
nine pages, we can pick eight others, or 9x8, then times seven for the
others, etc, or 9x8x7[etc]x1). Each page serves as a beginning, middle, or end. If
the page is an early page (1.1, 1.2, or 2.1), this clearly introduces
Jane or Tiny. If an ending page is read first, we get a "Memento"
effect, a story told in reverse order, where the plot holes of what the
ending meant are filled in as we read backwards. And so on for the
middle pages, like the commonly used film technique of starting off the
movie with one scene somewhere in the middle, and then we go "Oh!
That's what that meant!" once we finally get to it (often 2/3 of the
way through). Go, Wild Things, 11:14, and perhaps Fight Club, are also
good examples of a nonlinear structure told from different angles,
where plot twists at various points shed massive light on what we've
been through, making us want to watch them again and again to figure it
That's what Frangles is like, except instead of the writer
or director leading us through his particular order of events, The
reader can actually jump around and
read the carefully structured plot lines in many, many different ways.
For instance, the seven Kyle Kirby books follow him from high school
into college, yet another teenage character (a dolphin at the end of
time) also follows a similar path. And yet another, and so on. We can
follow Kyle's life all the way through, or we could jump back and forth
to Kolphin, who's lifepath parallels Kyle's. Kyle might study
dolphins, while Kolphin (the dolphin) is studying humans way back in
the time of Earth. Kyle might construct a wormhole to time travel, and
visit Kolphin, and visa versa.
At other points, Kyle feels the
textbook schizophrenic symptoms of people watching and manipulating
him. Aliens, and messages through televisions, and so forth. But from
another point of view, we go to a science fiction world in the future
where humans have mastered vast technologies to construct whole
planets, and watch over Earth-like replicas almost like gods, and we
see from these frangles how Kyle's strange experiences could be seen as
true. At other times, Kyle interacts with the generic fantasy world of
Generika as Bastian interacts with the Neverending story. A simple
Earth boy who's imagination is crucial to the entire story of Fantasia,
who's very existence depends on his imagination.
These are the
types of points of view that are intermixed in Frangles, except on a
much larger structure. The structure itself is simply a template, and
like a giant city road construction project, may never be completed.
But, as certain sections are written, the reader finds more and more
individual stories that in and of themselves are internally consistant.
Any novella (a very short novel) is self-sustinent, but can always be
expanded on. What happened to the character before the novel? After the
Orson Scott Card published a book called "Ender's Shadow"
long after "Ender's Game," from the point of view of a secondary
character (Bean), one of Ender's "sidekicks." Ender's Game comprised a
complete and total work, and only afterwards did Card decide to write
the story from another character's point of view. The book may have
been a tad redundant, but clearly it was interesting enough to be
published and read by fans of the series. Then consdier the possiblity
of writing the story from a third and fourth character's point of view,
and so on, to the point where the entire thing comprises a massive
artistic whole, and each part is worth reading, or at the least, a good
cross section of them.
FRANGLES' 343-BOOK STRUCTURE
to the left. Here we see a fractal septagon (seven sided polygon,
more commonly called a heptagon). The timeline of Okuaka
progresses at the big bang right at the bottom of
the circle/septagon at 270 degres, clockwise, to the big crunch of
Okuaka, divided into seven "Ages". Each Age of Okuaka
was originally intended to be
just one book each, that a freader could read in any order, and still
get a full plot-driven saga. Then the idea
broke into seven sections of seven, covering more detailed events
each Age, and then seven more, and then everybody just sort of stopped
counting, leaving Frangles a project of 343 books.
line is as follows. Beginning at Earth (the 2nd Age) and going
clockwise, we'll have prose and parodies that take place current day,
then sci-fi parodies in the semi-near future
(Flurth), then sci-fi parodies in the far future (Florbb, where man has
spread throughout half the galaxies in Okuaka); then Kroffonia, a
place where technology has become so advanced as to
start seeming like magic; then Generika, which is a parody of all
generic fantasy novels which are so redundant after so many decades
that it's about time to really, really make fun of it all; then (last in
Okuaka's history), the story of the big crunch (Zeroa, which will
parody mainly philosophy, but will be funny to everyone in the way
"Dilbert" is funny to everyone, but is
even funnier to workers in that type of settings); then finally we come
back around to Flutonia, the first age, which will be a bizarre and
sporadic strange take on prehistory (everything from
the Big Bang up to current day events).
Each gray dot (this is
a very rough starting diagram, please bear with us in the awkward five
decade construction period) represents one book. Each circle of
seven dots represents a little "Mini-Frangles" 7-book saga, from the
point of view (the frangle) of one particular character. Each set
of seven characters (for
instance, all the circles of dots around Florbb) represents the story
of Frangles from the point of view of all the characters of that age.
The books are numbered starting with the lower leftmost point,
then proceeding clockwise until the lower rightmost point, so
that the very topmost dot of those surrounding Florbb represents
Frangles book 444, and the one just to the right of that, book 445, and
The circles containing glowing dots represent the "prime
characters", that is, characters 11 (Artie), 22 (Kyle Kirby), 33
(Captain Kirby), 44 (Dr. Sexton), 55 (Koby the Pikachu rip-off), 66
(Mezoro the Wizard), and 77 (Pico of Zeroa). Each dot is one of
the seven books of that character's saga, much like the seven year
Harry Potter saga covering a very full plot Arc of Harry Potter's life.
The prime characters are special because of the indentical
number. While character 12 might deal with Flutonia-Earth, and
character 17 might deal with Flutonia-Zeroa, character 11 doesn't have
anything to deal with but himself and his own world. Character XX
will hence deal both more and
less with other characters, an introversion / extroversion
duality, which is will all be explained better as time progresses.
The circling of a glowing dot then represents reading that character's 7-book saga in order from book 1 to book 7. ...Or, reading beginning with book 2, then
reading up to seven, then reading 1, as you might read a saga then read
a single "prologue" book that takes place before the "first" book, such
as the Hobbit (before Lord of the Rings, written before it),
or Prelude to Foundation (written long after Foundation was written). ...Or, you
might start with book 3, then read up to book 2, and so on.
Because time line of Okuaka bends back around on itself (the big
bang is equivalent to the big
crunch; all of Okuaka is spent approaching the final preparations for
rebooting itself), you can begin at any Age and read forward, because
from any Age's frangle, it could just as easily have been the official
"start and end" of Okuaka's infinite cycle.
This concept then
ripples into many other sub-structures. If you read any cycle of
343 pieces (whether 343 pages, or all 343 books), You
could start with any of the seven subsets of 49 pieces, then read the
other six subsets in increasing order, and so on. Then many, many
other ways of reading Frangles also become relevant: reading every
other fragment, reading every fifth fragment, reading backwards from a
given point, etc! For example, one story of interest might be the
point where the glowing dots reach the utmost corner of the circle
surrounding all of them, the point where they're furthest away from
each other. These seven prime books would be books 111, 222, 333,
444, 555, 666, and 777. These "prime books" are crucial foci of
the story, and may be the first ones to be written.
INIDIVUDAL BOOK STRUCTURE
The 343 books (the dots to the left) will further be broken down into novellas (or "novas" for short), then chapters,
then scenes/pages, all organized in the exact same pattern of 7s. They're labeled as follows:
Age / Character / Book : Novella / Chapter / Page
the very first page of the second year of Kyle Kirby's story
sophmore year in Springfield High on Earth), is labeled 222 111.
read the first chapter, we read 222 112, 222 113, 222 114, 222 115, 222
116, and 222 117. Now we've read a chapter. The second
be 222 121, then increase the last digit up to 7 again, then the same
for the third chapter (222 131 up to 222 137), and so on.
The very last page of the last chapter in the second prime book
would be numbered 222 777. The very
last page in Frangles (the last of the seven utmost prime pages) is
page 777 777. There are 117,649 planned pages altogether
(343x343, or 7 to the 6th).
numbers are not just for random labels, but rather are a key method of
navigating the massive number of different plot paths. Instead of
reading 222 111, then 222 112, we might jump a whole
Age ahead (322
111), in which we get the idea of what a similar character to Kyle was
doing in the future in a similar situation, while Kyle was doing his
thing in 222 111. There will be many, many un-obvious and complex
ways that the events and charaters will be structured around this
numerical road map. For instance, page 232 323 might have a
very interesting relationship 656 565, its base 7 "inverse" (If 1
is opposite 7, then 2 is opposite 6, and 3 is opposite 5, and visa
versa. 4 would be identical to itself). Page 171 717 might
be a strange sort of complex "beggining-end" while 444 777 will
be the very end of the dead middlemost book of Frangles.
way we can translate this into our common understanding
of plot, is to string together combinations of the words
beginning, middle, and end. For instance, a frwoa ("fractal work
of art") or sub-frwoa with the numerical label 111 (i.e. an
unspecified 3 dimensioned story; whether we mean book 111, or page 111 of
book 555, etc), could be said to be "The beginning of the beginning of
the beginning." 117 would be "The end of the beginning of the
beginning." 444 would be "The middle of the middle of the
middle." So page 141 774 would be "The middle of the end of the
end of the beginning of the middle of the beginning."
story/work into this many self-similar segments of plot structure is
already quite a familiar idea to us; The Bible,
Shakespeare, Aristotle, and Plato, are all broken down into small
referencable bits. 123 in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 3) is the
line "To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom." 123 in
the Bible (Genesis 2:3) is when God rests on the seventh day.
This type of segmentation happens whenever small pieces of
information are very important to us. In classic works, it's
mainly for the purpose of referencing them given that their small parts
are studied in detail. In Frangles, things are broken down
this way so that the fragments can be reordered. Whether anyone
ever reads Frangles or not, internally to itself each
root segment (right now a single page) is biblically important, because
every single other segment is somehow related or attached to it.
A lone right or wrong word or sentence (such as "Luke, I'm your
florist") could spoil (or create interest for!) A whole nother set of
beauty of this complexity is you don't even pay attention to the math
if you don't want to. All the structure manifesting itself
simply be seen as an extra plot analysis you don't have to know
anything about to experience Frangles; like reading the Lord of the
Rings without ever reading a thesis paper analyzing its themes and plot
structure. We pick up on the structure of
any story subconsciously, whether the reader or writer has subjected their beloved characters to
the dispassionate mathematics of their lives surrounding them, or not.
will even have many pre-set stories to read where the freader doesn't
have to know anything about which pages are being selected or why; a
book that just as easily could have been a self-consistant book written
by itself with no greater structure in mind. Of course,
understanding the math would allow the freader the benefit of creating
their own stories (such as the old Choose Your Own Adventure
novels), but isn't necessary.
LENGTH OF THE BOOKS
how long exactly is a Frangles "book"? Aren't some
books very long, and some books very short? The beauty of a
symmetric fractal structure, is that a "book" can be any size you want
it to be. Because the plot arcs are crafted on many
levles (sentence to sentence, page to page, book to book, saga to
saga), much of the plot arcs of Frangles are symmetric and
self-similar. This means if you read a seven part novella, you've
gotten an idea of the entire 343 book saga from the frangle of a small
microcosm! This is how the structure of Frangles is designed, and
this is how smaller portions can be published before larger portions.
Unlike a standard linear saga which has to be published in order
from book 1 to book 7, finished Frangles frwoas or sub-frwoas can be
published sporadically. As time progresses, you'll find that one
story might be published from beginning to end, while another story
might be told accross a bunch of seemingly randomly numbered novellas.
(Say those last four words 7 times fast!)
For the sake of
maintaining familiarity of understanding what scope you're reading
Frangles material on, you can consider the chapters to be 7 printed
pages each of your usual paperback or hardback book, the "novas"
(novellas) to be seven times that length (49 pages each), and each book
to be seven times that, or
the printed novel equivalent of 343 pages. So 111 111 to 111 777,
would be the very first 343-page book, and 333 111 to 333 777 would be
the 343-page book number 115, out of 343 total books. (Note
that the base-7 number 333 is the base-10 number 115, assuming we're
calling '1' the first digit rather than '0').
For the sake of
uniqueness, the exact length of an actual Frangles "page" (which will
be on indivisible scene with no break) may vary significantly, from a
single paragraph to a 2-3 standard page passage, but will try to
maintain the average ballpark
of a normal reading page. Of course if a certain book is intended
to be a longer novel rather than a shorter novel (such as a Wheel of
Time novel which can bee 600-900 pages, lengths Generika may attempt to
parody), the Frangles "pages" in that case would just be twice as long
(two per each for a 686-page novel). Currently the plan is for a
Frangles page to be a fully indivisible piece, the absolute
smallest fragment. While clearly there's a certain structure
going on in the back of any writer's mind on every level of their
writing, the intention with Frangles will be to push this out of mind
as much as possible when writing a single page, or else risk the whole
being far too predictable and mathematical. While of course the paragraphs, sentences, and words all could be
crafted to themselves be re-arrangable, there just aren't enough brain
spikes lying around in Kroffonia for friters ("frangles writers") to
drive through their skulls in attempting such a prolific structure.
also a lot to say for individuality anyway. If a story was 100%
contrived on every single possible level, it would be 100% predictable,
and there'd be no variation or suspense. While we can see the
picture to the left at its topmost level is divisible into seven equal
"pie slices", the complexities as those seven are further broken down
as we progress outward from the center of the septagon make the image
interesting and non-redundant to look at. So while the numerical
system of Frangles is based on a perfect symmetry of 7s, the individual
writing of a single page could be said to be level where the raw math
breaks down and things start getting interesting. Hence the whole
is a careful balance of structured yet creative prose.
- - -
This has been a very rough and confusing draft
of an explanation of the evolving structure of Frangles, brought to you by
the letters X, F, R, and ANGLES, and the number 7. Please return next time to find out
what's next, and dive into the enticing conflict of the absurdity of a
philosophiscientificky 343-book fractal symmetric nonlinear free online humor prose nonsense saga.