A couple nights ago, as I was falling asleep, my mind suddenly shifted focus to the beginning of Perceval in Love, the third novel in the Perceval series. I’ve written about half of the first draft. The first chapter has bugged me since I wrote it. My mind proceeded to rewrite the first few pages, changing the tone from defensive to open and vulnerable. It also opened the door to the reconciliation between two characters that I had not been sure about before. In short, of its own accord, my mind resolved the problem of these two characters. What especially pleased me was the depth of emotion that came through from these two characters, especially for each other. Wow.
Where did that come from?
Earlier this week, I read a post by Damyanti over at Daily (w)rite about listening to the subconscious. I have depended on my subconscious for helping me solve problems in my writing, helping me get to know my characters, and for visualizing the world in which the characters live. So, to answer Damyanti — yes, I do take cues from my subconscious for my fiction. I also believe that the imagination/subconscious will communicate its desires whether we are totally aware of the source or not.
One way I encourage my subconscious is to purposefully think about a problem or issue I want to tackle the next day as I’m getting ready for bed at night. Usually I don’t have to do more than that to get the wheels turning in my subconscious. But if you’re the kind of person who expects an immediate answer, you’ll be frustrated. The subconscious/imagination operates on its own time. It will not be rushed. The answer will eventually come.
Most of the time I’m not really that aware of my subconscious at work. I can physically experience it at times — it’s kind of an electric buzz that runs through every cell of my body. What I do is to trust that my imagination wants to play with me and my characters. Trust in the process. This can be the hardest part of writing fiction. To sit back and go with the flow of it, to not force it at all, to listen to the voices that the imagination presents to me. Trust my imagination to guide me on the best path for the story and characters.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve worked on fiction. For the last year or two, I’ve been focused on e-publishing production, marketing, and nonfiction (for paying markets). I’d hoped that this year I’d do a revision of the second novel in the Perceval series, and if that goes well, to finish the first draft of book three. I may end up with just a handful of short stories, though. I shall write fiction!
Thinking about writing fiction means that I am feeling much better physically, emerging from the health crisis that so preoccupied my mind for the first four months of this year. Has my subconscious also sent me a message from the deep by re-writing the first few pages of novel three’s beginning? Could that message be that I need to re-arrange my priorities again and make fiction a primary priority? My imagination would rather play with fiction than deal with the concerns of life and adult responsibilities…..