Or just possibly chaotic synergy. Or something.
It’s what happens when all those threads you weren’t really focusing on stop being threads and start making a picture. When you can see the shape of the picture in the partly-finished jigsaw puzzle.
Or, if you’re me, you’re researching something and stumble across something that’s kind of related but is also completely different (To be fair, the something in this case was/is an inventory of all the automated emails my workplace’s headline application sends, along with why they get sent, what the opt-in/opt-out measures are, and samples so the marketing folks can pretty them up and make them not-confusing to customers who apparently find it a bit unnerving to suddenly get emails without any warning… it would seem that my team believing that we were asked to make those emails happen because customers wanted to get them might have been a little… er… optimistic? Anyway, the sort of related but not really thing I stumbled across was a serious problem with the email sending mechanism for a different part of the system, and it sparked the Mother Of Email Threads and an assortment of other work-type flurries as well as a certain amount of re-evaluation of just why certain things happen at work).
This is why I call myself a chaos magnet. Stuff like this happens to me. Mostly in the bug finding realm, but not entirely, and certainly not when it comes to writing. Although if I’m writing something and I manage to inadvertently turn my word processing software into an Elder God or something I reserve the right to go rather specifically medieval on all parties involved with that piece of software.
I’ve found getting people to understand how this processing – and this way of processing works is… challenging. It’s hard enough to do it, because all humans are the product of untold generations of awesome pattern-finders who’ve gotten so good at finding patterns in random stuff that we see patterns which aren’t actually there. It’s bloody hard to sit there with a pile of mess and hold onto the belief that with a bit more work and a bit more patience and maybe a few more threads of this and that the mess will resolve itself into an understandable pattern.
It’s like the way to torture a classically-trained musician is to play all but the last note of a Bach chorale. Because the final chord progression will hang there, unfinished, and itch at the musician’s mind (Whatever you do, don’t use Rossini. There are dozens of endings in the William Tell Overture alone, and only one of them actually finishes the piece). Or the way, half-way through a book I’ve often got the feel of where it’s going, what the big beats are going to be, and sometimes, how it’s going to end. It takes a damn good writer to carry me through and enjoy it or to surprise me along the way (Hi, Dave, Sarah, and a fair few of the rest of y’all!). It’s the pattern pieces slotting into place and making the picture clearer.
But actually holding the mess and doing little bits here and there that don’t seem to make any kind of difference, like when you’re pantsing deep in the treacherous kudzu of a middle? That’s hard work at the best of times, and at the worst can lead to a whole lot of story starts where things kind of fizzled partway through (yeah, guilty as charged, yeronner). I can’t even give advice beyond practice and patience, and lots of both.
Oh, yeah. And have faith that even if your file ends up summoning the Great Old Ones and unleashes eldritch horrors on the world (personally I think they’ve already been unleashed. They just thought they’d have better PR if they renamed R’lyeh to Washington, D.C., and I’ve got to admit it seems to have worked), you can still find the pattern that makes its contents a story.