Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's exciting to some is scary to others. Why some writers can't let go.

I just finished reading my friend Glendon Perkins' post 'Subconscious Writing'. I recommend checking it out. Glendon Perkins' Site 

It was about writing from the subconscious and his hypothesis that subconsciously we have a tale to tell. He's not alone. Many other writers feel the same way, myself included. But some just think the idea  absurd. 

I've asked them, "How many times has a reader come back with a totally different interpretation  of what you meant to say but the scene and emotion it evoked was exactly what you wanted, only that much more powerful?" 

The answer from the naysayers is always the same:

"It doesn't matter because it was an accident." Literary slop. Kind of like shooting for the four in the corner pocket but banking the two instead and pretending you did it on purpose because now you have a clear go at the eight ball. Pool is just as horrible of a writing analogy as it is to claim we control all variables as we write. 

But what if you meant to write it and you just weren't conscious of it at the time? Writers have so much running through our heads while we're crafting a story how on Earth can we expect to control it all and be conscious of every detail? I think the idea of not being in complete control and our subconscious having the ability to tattle on us scares some writers.

I hadn't thought about the subject since it was addressed in my last writer's workshop. Again, check out Glendon's post link above as he relates writing from the subconscious to his most recent short story. It's thought provoking.

What are your thoughts on writing the subconscious? 


  1. That was a provocative post that Glendon did (dang! I meant to follow his blog... Will do so). As far as *meaning* to write something, though unaware of it... Well, I had a character that was intended to be a quasi-villain. He was written that way, but he morphed in the most smooth way into a major hero. And when the story was told I realized that that was what I had wanted all that time.

    Good thought-provoking post from you, too!
    Diana at About Myself By Myself

    1. Sounds like your villain became an anti-hero. Cool. I never know my characters true virtues until I through adversity at them. I truly don't know how they're going to react and as I create very detailed outlines it makes writing my mysteries more complicated. Still, it helps with character development. You could say I torture my characters into revealing their virtues. Sounds horrible doesn't it?

  2. I have to go follow Glendon, now. I agree with you - often what comes out in art, all art, is the unconscious. Not even the sub-conscious. The best we can do is tap into the deeper parts of our consciousness and let them out in the story.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. How did I delete that?
      What I said was: I think that's hard for most. For some writers to press the 'I believe button' and I get excited about the 'not knowing' takes some practice. To some it comes natural to let go. You should definitely follow Glen. He's as funny as he is introspective.