Day 5: The Road Is Being Laid Out

“It’s like driving a car at night.  You never see further then your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow.

Yesterday was another good day of writing.  It was a little harder then the day before, but it was still good. I made lots of progress towards.

An interesting thing I’m starting to find is how much work the unconscious mind does in my writing.  This is the part of art that has often been attributed to magic or something outside the artist, but I contend it is the unconscious mind working when you don’t notice it.  My mind continues to work to make the connections that become the structure and spine of the novel when I’m doing other things.  That is the only way I can explain how the structure of the book has come to be.

When I started writing Monday, I had no structure or any real organizing principals for the novel.  I only had an idea of what it was going to be about and the majority of the main characters.  In the short time I’ve been writing I have filled in many of the blanks on how to tell the story and what the major events are that I’m aiming the characters towards.

It is as if mind said, “OK.  We’re working on this novel.  This guy has no idea where this is going or how to get there.  Let me take all this information and structure it for him so he can get through this with as little pain possible.”  So, your mind takes all the books, movies, and television you’ve read and watched before.  It sorts through what you liked and didn’t like, what you thought was cool and what you thought was stupid.  Then it sorts through the stuff most like what you are working on now and creates a structure for the conscious part of your mind to work within.

Another simpler way of putting it is if you have done your prewriting work in developing your characters and figuring out where you want them to end up, your mind fills in the road map.   The thing is, you can’t figure out that road without writing.  All the outlining and brainstorming and character development descriptions are not writing.  They can be very important and point you in the right direction, but the writing is its own living breathing thing.

At least that’s how I explain it.

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One Response to “Day 5: The Road Is Being Laid Out”

  1. I like to say that the characters tell me the story as I am writing. Sure I suppose you are correct, and it is the subconscious, *grins* buut, isn’t it just a bit more fun to think it is magic? Or that character telling their story?
    I usually know my characters inside and out for my story, but this time, I went into it with only the main character and a little knowledge of who she is, and my theme behind the story. I have never worked this way before but it is really interesting to see come together.
    I really have to agree with you on the subconscious rifling through things you have read, seen, heard, ect as my newest character, came to me last night right before I fell asleep, and when reading this I realized she is very much like the character on a tv show that was out for a short while. Hmm, the things to now discover in light of new knowledge!

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