Sunday, May 6, 2012

Unconscious writing

I’m a big fan of my brain. Well, not just my brain, but the writer’s brain – you know, the one that throws up the plot twist or thematic link that you’ve needed and wanted for so long, and does so when you least expect it?

Yesterday, while ironing a shirt, my brain laid out the key piece of dramatic and thematic tension for the (as yet unwritten) third Kresh book. It came, not from nowhere, but from that unconscious problem-solving part of the brain that knows so much more than my consciousness about what the hell is going on and why things are they way they are. Book three is a long way off but I’ve been wondering on and off what it should be about without actually sitting down and pouring some real effort into it. Now I know. It’s also affirmed one of the things I want to discuss in my GOH speech at Conflux 8, tentatively titled ‘Good Editing: What is it and does it have a future?’ I’m a firm believer that the job of the editor is to point out what’s wrong in a piece but not necessarily to suggest a solution. The best solution comes from the author, once they’ve been alerted to the problem, and the author’s best tool to provide that solution is generally the unconscious mind. Anyway, more of that in times to come. Right now – with a hiatus in editing Pyrotechnicon – I’m going to try and finish a short story that’s been in the bottom drawer for quite some time now. Thanks again to my unconscious, and the passage of time, I think I see what it needs. It’s called ‘The Superficial Contact of Two Bodies’ and it’s my love, betrayal, revenge, redemption and end of the universe story. Hopefully coming to a magazine near you in the next 12 months.

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