I have talked about the joy and the magic of writing many times.
Magic is this thing that happens when you don’t plan or maybe you do plan but as you write it takes on a life of its own.
Dotty the new novel has started to do that; it has started to configure itself in new and interesting ways. It feels as if it is trying to tell me something. People who don’t write might not understand this phenomenon. They would think if something comes out of your head, then you make it that way. True, but I do believe that we need to allow our imaginations to take over once in a while. I truly believe it is the subconscious bringing to the surface the thing that will give this story more meaning and shape.
Here’s a recent example. I have some interesting characters living on Church Lane, in a fictitious suburb of London. Giles can’t leave the house and Irene is a hoarder. They both have stories to tell. They are sitting together in Giles’s kitchen looking at the letter that has just arrived and it’s an important plot development that creates a dilemma when…
Bang. A little girl, in fact the Polish girl from the wrong end of the street, is knocked down outside their window.
Why is this magic? Let me tell you. It was never in my plan but suddenly we see another side to Irene. In fact we learn how she lost her son in a similar way and so we see the first threads of what makes her the way she is; why she keeps buying and hoarding things and she wonders if perhaps it would be better if everyone stayed inside; that Giles has the right idea because that way bad things might not happen.
When this happens I realise that this was part of the story, what accounted for her actions, that I had not worked out yet and now it seems to fit so well, especially since I needed to bring in the Polish family who had only been mentioned before.
Of course as we edit it might be changed — in fact it WILL be changed in some capacity — but I think the incident will remain in some form.
So once again my message on this wonderful Thursday is this: surrender to the powers of the subconscious mind, because you never know where it might lead it.