Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WIP Diary: Unsubconscious

Had a major breakthrough on a plot element that had been hanging over my head for a good part of the book.

Conventional writing wisdom says to jump over it and write on, come back and figure it out later. This approach has never worked for me. I wish it did, but I have to work with what I've got. And for me, I need to know how things work before I can move on.

In this case, the solution is so beautiful (I think so, anyway) that it changed the way I felt about the whole scene and my approach to the next plot element. If I'd jumped over it, I'd have screwed up the rest of the scene anyway.

I wish I could articulate how I finally figured out the solution to this particular problem, but I can't. I have to put this one down to the subconscious again. Or, to be fair, a combination of the subconscious and staring at the page while thinking through various scenarios until one of them clicked. That sounds like it should be easy but it's not like leafing through a handy selection of story solutions. It meant thinking through every character's motivations and possible reactions to what any of the other characters might do. I did write out little bits of those reactions and things so they were there in front of me to help me along. Okay, so this isn't very subsconscious-y at all, is it? Except I do think my subconscious did a lot of the work while I was doing other stuff. Like sleeping.

Now I'm hoping that over the last week, my subconscious has been at work on the next hurdle in this scene. Someone's gotta die and I'm not quite sure who is going to make that decision. It could be any one of three characters and each one would change the meaning of the book itself, maybe.