Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Ol' Subconscious Comes Through

Feeling very clever this morning. Very pleased with myself.

Last night I was laying on the couch, not thinking about the story, when out of nowhere my brain handed me a solution to the next problem facing me with Scurvy Dogs! I had put down the story hours ago, wasn't thinking about it. I was reading, and all of a sudden there it was. I literally threw my hands in the air in excitement.

I had been having trouble figuring out why Jamie – the main character and narrator – would do what I wanted him to do. There's a certain kid-logic that sometimes takes over in these stories, and this was one of those times. I mean, really, some of the main events in Treasure Island happen because Jim Hawkins does something stupid, some absolutely wrong thing. So I wasn't too concerned, but it was nagging at me. It felt a little like the character doing something because the author made him, rather than what was natural and right for the character. I'd be able to explain it, but it was bothering me that I had to.

Then last night's revelation out of nowhere. If the squire isn't there, if he's gone off to bring back help, then Jamie has to follow Maggie off into the night. He has no choice. It makes total sense and is perfectly natural.

Thank you, brain! Of course, now I'll have to deal with the consequences to the story of Squire Williams having gone off for help, but I'm sure my subconscious will come up with something. I can't wait to see what.

• I only just noticed while writing that my character and the main character of Treasure Island share the same first name. James. That was a surprise. Let me just say for the record that it certainly wasn't intentional, I'm not trying to make any connection or comparison between my story and Stevenson's classic. On the contrary, I have another classic fictional character in mind as my inspiration for Jamie, and he's not from a pirate story. I really don't remember where the name came from. I remember where I got his last name, but can't recall why I settled on Jamie. He just felt like a Jamie, I guess.

UPDATE: Just finished for the day, 1,175 words this morning. The idea mentioned above works really well. Makes so much more sense and gives me so much more room to work. I can't believe it never occurred to me until last night.

1 comment:

  1. It is weird how how our brain gives us answers to things when we least expect it. At least you got to make some progress and get some serious writing done, as 1175 words is a great amount. Thank you so much for encouraging me today and for finding time to comment and inspire me. About the agent's name...I can't mention it on social media, but if you email me at, I will tell you so that you don't ever work with her.