Thursday, June 30, 2011

Does Your Subconscious Foreshadow?

After giving my "Plotting for Non-Plotters" workshop last Sunday, I managed to motivate myself enough to dive into the new WIP again. It had stagnated for a bit, and until I heard myself speak, I wasn't really sure why it was giving me trouble.

Bottom line. I was worried about plot instead of just writing. After demonstrating the use of my "idea board" to the group, I figured I ought to get out the Post-its and update mine.

And, as a reminder, my "idea" board is full of more than just ideas for possible scenes or plot threads. It's also full of questions and reminders. I don't plot much, but I do recognize the importance of tracking.

For example, on my current board, I've made notes that my hero (who was injured in some yet-to-be-determined cop incident) was injured, and that it's his right arm and left leg. I can refer to that in case I forget and have him favoring the wrong leg or rubbing the wrong shoulder.

This new book is in my Pine Hills Police universe. Although at the moment, Randy & Sarah aren't in the book (I sent them on a well-deserved honeymoon), the Pine Hill Police station is there, and it's populated with some familiar figures. One is Police Chief Laughlin, and when he wants to talk to one of his staff, he'll call them and say, "My office." That's been established in the other 2 books, so it stands to reason he's going to say it again in this one.

My hero in this book has just begun working for the PHPD, and not as a cop, but as a civilian due to his injuries. When he reports to the chief, and the chief summons another cop to show him around, my hero hears him give that command. It's normal, logical, and fits in with the story, and when I wrote it, that's about all the consideration I gave it. But then, since I was in my hero's head, I wondered how he heard it, so this was in the scene:

Laughlin … picked up his phone, punched a few buttons, then spoke. "My office."

Laughlin's tone was civil, but Scott had the feeling he didn't want to be on the receiving end of a summons when the man was in a bad mood.

Although I wasn't thinking beyond this scene when I wrote the above, upon my nightly re-read of the day's output, I flagged it, and it went onto a Post-it on my idea board. Because, somewhere down the line, my hero will have to hear those words, but this time they'll be directed at him.

Will it be a good thing or a bad thing? How should I know? I haven't written that far yet.

Come back tomorrow. I think we're going to China with my mom.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think if the foreshadowing is so subtle that your subconscious is doing it, it must be amazing!

Love your site redesign! :)

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - thanks. I think a lot of 'non-plotters' have more than they're aware of in their heads, and it creeps into the writing. I've discovered that a lot of my "discoveries" are already set up on the page.

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm pretty much a panster, so I was amazed to read back through my ms and see the foreshadowing. I think when the foreshadowing is subconscious (on the part of the writer), it feels more organic when reading.

Terry Odell said...

I think I've said this before, but one of my "surprises" when writing Finding Sarah was that Randy was an accomplished pianist. Yet when I went back to "foreshadow" (and yes, it's perfectly all right to foreshadow after you find out what you need to layer in!) I found that there was only one line of internal monologue that didn't work with his being a pianist. The rest was already there.

Anonymous said...

Good idea about the tracking. I just finished editing a novel for the first time. I had written several throw-away rough drafts I was too lazy to edit, so I had typed THE END before; however, this was my first time to say I really edited a novel.

I noticed that I left a lot of things hanging and had to go back and "fix" them in edits. I ended up using a comp book to a) make a loose "map" of the fictional town, b) relationships between people and their ages, and c) make backstory notes for all the characters. Quite useful.

BTW, I followed you here from Jenny Hanson's More Cowbell.

Terry Odell said...

catie - thanks for finding me! Good idea about the map of your town; I'm having to go back through 2 other books to see if I ever mentioned the name of the street the heroine's shop was on! At the time, I never thought I'd be writing a series. (I did, however, make a sketch of her apartment so I knew where all the rooms were.)

Vonnie Davis said...

Our creative minds work in ways no one can comprehend. When I shared a scene with my writers group where my heroine opens her closet door to find her abusive ex-fiancee there and he attacks her, members of my group asked HOW no one else in the house heard the scuffle. Then it hit me, I'd used several examples throughout the book of her listening to music. So I had her put on a CD of Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero" with its great, loud drum solo prior to her opening the closet door. It all worked and made sense since her love of music was an established part of her character.

Terry Odell said...

Vonnie - it can be scary sometimes, can't it?

Jacqueline Howett said...

Wow. Well I'm learning all the time. A whole new way of looking at it all. Some great feedback-thanks!

Terry Odell said...

Jacqueline - thanks! There's no one way to do anything, so the more options you find to try, the better.

Hi y'all! said...

Love this post - thanks for sharing it with us and using an example :-)

Lisa Lane said...

It's the muses. They always have all the angles covered in ways we writers could only wish we foresaw. ;-)

Vonnie said...

What happens with me is sometimes I finish writing a book, THEN I go back to shade in a little foreshadowing, sometimes just a couple of thoughts or impressions, other times like your hero rubbing his shoulder. Without foreshadowing we'd get that ta-da! moment that irritates readers so much.

Janice said...

Notes as you write are good, because it is too easy to forget about an injury, hair color or eyes color of your characters.

Terry Odell said...

Hi y'all - always glad to share

Lisa - I think you're right. Our muses reside in our subconscious

Vonnie - I go back to add those layers -- and find that sometimes they're already there!

Janice - yes, it's important. I've faced that today. Almost forgot that my heroine thought she heard the hero in the throes of passion from his apartment next door. That changes the entire way she'd react to him; had to make sure I worked that in.