I think of myself as a squeamish person. I don’t read horror novels or thrillers that delve lovingly into deranged minds. Heck, I can’t even read the icky bits in Diana Gabaldon’s books.
So I was rather disturbed, the other day, to discover that some part of my mind has been lovingly detailing scenarios that I don’t ever want to read, much less write. I’m not going to write the details, because I found them really upsetting and I want to bleach my brain now, but here’s what happened: We were watching a cop show and came to the obligatory scene where somebody is tied to a chair and somebody else is trying to get information out of him by hitting him in the face, and I turned to the First Reader and said, “You know, I can think of a lot more effective ways to torture somebody for information. Why don’t they…. Or they could try…. Or they wouldn’t even need a blowtorch, a little butane torch would….
At this point the First Reader, he who can read accounts of historical atrocities with no trouble, began turning green, and I shut up.
And spent the rest of the evening wondering just what part of my mind had been collecting ideas for truly stomach-turning tortures, and how I could divert it to another track. Because I don’t like torture. I don’t like to read about it, I don’t write it, and I really, really hate that a part of the fiction writer’s mind inside me has been collecting this stuff.
But… it’s there. Even if I’m not going to inflict it on you, I know now that it’s there.
What surprising pathways does your writer’s mind wander down without conscious direction?