The subconscious mind is amazing. This past week, I came to another block in my current work in progress. It came to the point where it was essential to know the next move of the bad guy in order for me to know the next move of my heroine.
But as any author knows, characters actually live in your head, often communicating to one another and to the author, letting you know where to take the story. (At least that's the way it is for me, and I've heard a few other authors mention it as well so I hope I'm not some freak of nature.)
As I was pondering this situation, and wondering how to get into the mind of the bad guy so I could finish my story, a thought came to mind. Why don't I just write a letter to this person?
So I sat down at my computer and typed the following words:
"Dear Mr. Bad Guy,
Would you please let me into your head?
You have done a marvelous job at making the life of the heroine in my novel miserable. With your illusive nature and evil ways, she has been on her toes for several chapters. But now what? What is your next move? It’s imperative I know your motivations, not so that I can destroy you, but so I can know how this will impact my heroine.
If you know that yada yada yada...(I won't disclose all the words of the letter in order to protect the innocence of the plot) are you going to try to yada? Do you just yada and leave the country? Do you send one of your monkey men to yada yada or do you take satisfaction in doing the job yourself?
And how did you yada yada?"
And then this really weird thing happened. Just after I typed the sentence above, my bad guy answered, giving me a direct name in response to the question, that in essence, was like a missing piece of the puzzle.
"That was weird...and cool," I thought. So I typed out another question. "When did he find out?"
Another answer came: "When she yada yada'd."
Whoa, that was amazing.
So I wrote another question, and it too was answered. I did this several times, like an interview, until I had all the puzzle pieces in place, and I felt satisfied I could continue my story with the information I had received from my subconscious mind. It was incredible.
Before I sat down to write the letter, I had hopes that my subconscious would think about the questions overnight and that I would receive new inspiration in the next day or so. I never thought my questions would be answered so quickly and to the point. Now I'm excited to have the rest of my plot down and a new way to communicate effectively with the other characters in my mind.