Writing From the Subconscious

Sometimes things have to dwell.  In cooking you do this so flavors blend together.  In my day job we do this with certain products so they can cure up properly and don’t cause problems down the road.  In the creative world, I let things sit when I’m having a problem I can’t define, or just need a break.  I let my subconscious work on the issues while I focus on other things, and then I go back to them with a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes.

On my WIP page is listed a sorely neglected, untitled, urban fantasy.  I love it and the characters, but I’d gotten about 8 or 9 chapters into it before I realized something wasn’t working.  I didn’t have a clear idea where it was headed, and I’d divulged too much, too soon.  That put one of the MC’s in a situation he had no way out of.  Which would mean The End — both his, and the book’s.  So I let it sit in favor of BD&L.

Now, if you’re a regular reader, you know BD&L has been all-consuming.  I’m doing the final transcription, which seems to be slower going than writing, editing, re-writing, editing again, again, and again.  Over the past week, however, my subconscious has been sending me disjointed scenes from the urban fantasy, and demanding I write them down.  I seem to have worked out some issues, fixed some plot holes, created others, and made some progress.  All without realizing I was even working on it.  Cool.  The subconscious is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

However, it seems while my back was turned my story became decidedly darker and more intense.  I’m pretty much going to have to trash all but the first two chapters of what I currently have written.  My male lead is in for a much tougher time.  He’s going to wish I’d stuck with the first plot and just killed him off after eight chapters.  The female lead doesn’t get off any easier.  They’re both going to hate me before all is said and done, and it seems another key player isn’t going to be around for book 2.  Good thing I’m not an ol’ softy.  Though I have to say, if a character has any redeemable qualities whatsoever, I find it very difficult to kill them off.  Bad guys need love, too!

But what’s a story without tension?  Without the possibility of losing everything?  It’s not all sunshine and butterflies, people!

I was reminded of that as I read Captives.  Which I’ve finally finished and will be reviewing this week.  I hated the authors for some of the things they did to some of my favorite characters — and absolutely loved them for others!  Knowing no one was safe, that anyone could become a target, kept me turning the pages in anticipation — or dread.

But more of that in my review.  For now, as always . . .

Write on!


  1. Now you’ve got me thoroughly intrigued by the new story. BUT, kindly finish *BD&L* (which still sounds like a law firm) BEFORE you put too much time into the new stuff. Please? 😉

  2. I liked your thoughts because i can really relate to that… when ever i have an idea and i try to think of a whay to represent them… time was my best factor, in which it passes, i doing something completely non related to it, and its like someone whispering the idea into my ear… the subcoscious is the other person lying dormant inside who in my opinion, does the most crucial thinking…


  3. Today a kiss happened that was not planned. Actually not supposed to happen ever. But the darn characters got away from me and decided that was what was going to happen. To heck with the consequences. LOL. But I love where my subconscious goes. Some of those detours are the best part of each manuscript. 🙂

    • Obviously the kiss *was* supposed to happen, didn’t you get the memo? LOL ;p I’d have to agree, though. The best bits are the ones you work on when you didn’t know you were working.

  4. Subconscious rules! Some of my best ideas come from the subconscious. Of course I don’t think they’re my best ideas once they hit me broadside. But when I take the risk and incorporate them into my work, I’m almost always excited about the new direction the novel takes.

    • Yeah, see, it’s that whole sneak attack thing the subconscious does. Like Arnold Horshack, “When you least expect it, expect it!” If it could just have its people call me people, we could sit down, talk about it. . . such a strange creature the sub is!

  5. That’s always good, to leave an idea for a short time and work on something else. I’m glad it worked out in the end well.

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