A Change In Perspective

I had an interesting experience on Tuesday.  I went to work in the morning, and started rereading the scene I had written the day before.  The scene had been fighting me, and I couldn’t figure out why.  As I reread I suddenly realized that this particular professor wasn’t giving a standard lecture.  He was reacting to a profound change that had occurred at this military academy, and that this was off the cuff.   I went back and just subtly changed the emphasis and the focus.  Most of the dialogue stayed exactly the same, but suddenly the scene came to life.

As I was writing I also realized that what I was doing was foreshadowing events that were going to happen in book 3.  That made me jump up out of my chair and do a happy dance.  I don’t think you can rely completely on your subconscious.  I think you have to plot, but damn within the cracks around the plot you can let your subconscious work, and it will probably help you deepen and intensify your writing.

4 Responses to A Change In Perspective

  • wolflahti says:

    “Your subconscious knows *way* more than you do about writing.”
    —Alexandra Sokoloff

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m not sure I buy that. I think inspiration is great once you have a structure. If you try to just muddle along with only your subconscious and inspiration I think you either end up in a swamp or with a whole lot of great first three chapters of unfinished novels.

  • Danielle says:

    I had something like that happen too, just today. I’m working within an outline that simple couldn’t anticipate some of the logistical problems I’d face in the middle chapters of the book: my main character running into a brick wall, a couple of flabby and directionless chapters that “need to be there,” a handful of minor characters that weren’t pulling their weight. The whole thing was feeling limp, and it’s had me stuck in the mud for a couple of weeks now.

    Then I’m out for a walk in the sunshine today, and three words pop into my head. Three little words that not only solve all of these problems at the same time, but serve to deepen the theme and set up the climax even better than I’d planned. Who knows where they came from! Happy dance? You bet. Such a great feeling.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I expect it was the walk. Physical activity is critical for good writing. When I’m stuck I go ride or work in the yard — anything that allows me to “get mass on a problem”. Usually by the end of the activity I’ve got the problem solved.

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