I over-analyze things. I always have. I’m not kind of interested in anything. Either I’m obsessed or not interested at all. If I’ve seen a show, I’ve probably seen every episode. If I find a website I like, I’ll pour over every single post. If I have a story idea, I’ll attack it from every possible angle.
This tendency to obsess is what makes me paranoid. Last night I awoke to the sound of a chair moving in my kitchen. As I woke up, I started thinking of all the possibilities of why that chair moved. Did one of the cats move it? Was there someone in the house? Is it a burglar? Why would a burglar move a kitchen chair? What weapons are near my bed? The only reason to move the chair is to sit in it. Why would someone sit in a chair in the dark in my kitchen? Maybe they want me to come out. Maybe they need to talk about something. Maybe they’re just crazy. Maybe I should wake my wife and see what she thinks. There! It moved again! What the fuck! I’m going out there right now to check this out…and there’s the cat.
Now while I was thinking all of these things, I knew most of them were unlikely, but I thought them anyway. Not just because I’m paranoid and I over-think absolutely everything (though I am and I do). It’s because somewhere in there, I might find something for a story or a scene. There might just be something in all my crazy thoughts worth writing down.
This is pretty much the best use of my over-analytical mind. The fact is the more you think about something without getting more information, the greater the tendency to leave reality. A friend’s girlfriend once remarked to me the day after I saw her without our significant others around that she thought it was ‘awkward’. I didn’t think it was awkward. Why would she? What would have made that situation awkward? If I was sexually attracted to her that would have been awkward. She’s sexually attracted to me! Shit. She’s my friend’s girl and I’m already attached. How can I make it less awkward next time? Well, if there’s sexual tension the only thing to do to get rid of it is release it. But I don’t want to mess around with my friend’s girl. Maybe I should tell him about it. No, I don’t want him to get mad at me or dump her. Wait, maybe she just felt awkward because she’s used to seeing me with her boyfriend around. That’s what happens when I let my mind run with something.
There is the other side of it though. When I wrote my first feature screenplay, first I outlined it, then I built the characters and all of their back stories, then I outlined it again, then I wrote the whole story from each of the central character’s perspectives, then I wrote the outline again, then I did it scene by scene, and then I actually wrote the screenplay. This made it so my screenplay had absolutely no plot holes because I knew who the characters were and what the story was for each of them and how the story made sense for each of them. It’s probably one of the tightest stories I’ve ever written because I thought and thought and thought about it so much.
While anyone who knows me is well aware of my paranoia and it’s not always the best thing for me, I don’t want to get rid of it or change it because it’s also one of the things that makes my stories work. So instead I just try to remind myself of what the reality of a situation is compared to what my imagination has made it into.