This isn’t quite a blast from the past, more an expansion on the blast from the past.
I’ve written in quite a few genres, and I have a fair idea where my mind goes and what happens when it does. This means there are places I refuse to let my mind go and other places it simply can’t go.
The blast from the past covers the former – the dark corners of my mind that could cause a lot of issues if I allowed them the kind of attention they’d get if I were to write them. That part comes first.
Like I suspect every other writer ever, I have a collection of stories of sorts that will never be written. This is – trust me – a good thing.
See, writers, whether plotter or pantser, tap into a kind of cultural gestalt, usually at a subconscious level. We can’t help it. Sometimes what emerges is so completely opposite our actual beliefs we look at it and go “huh?”. Or, like J.K. Rowling has done, try to explain it in a way that does fit our beliefs.
Let’s face it, what happens at the subconscious level is weird at best. The current theory is that most of what we do at any time is entirely driven by our subconscious with kibitzing added from the conscious mind. Certainly, a big chunk of writing works that way. I sit down, futz about a bit over getting started, then the rest just pours out without much in the way of conscious input from me. (Yes, yes, this does explain a lot). Every writer I know does this. And the subconscious doesn’t filter the same way the conscious mind does. It doesn’t parse out whether something seen is real or seen on TV. If it looks real it is real. The filters are a whole lot deeper, and probably not what you think they are (this is why in vino veritas and such sayings emerge. You loosen the control the conscious mind has and what comes out of the mouth is closer to the subconscious.
All of which is a long way around to saying that some of these never-to-be written stories are that way because (confession alert. Please leave now if confessions make you feel all icky) they serve to exorcise the worst of a particularly dark aspect of my subconscious. And by “dark” I mean dark. Evil.
It’s there in everyone, but we all choose to deal with it differently. In my writing I’m often exploring that shadowy area where evil can be harnessed to the service of good. Not surprisingly this tends to attract the attention of my darker side. If I let that out, I’d be writing the kind of thing that has no light. I refuse to do this. There’s enough evil in the world without it.
That doesn’t stop the story-seeds trying to emerge, although so far I’ve been able to keep them firmly inside my skull. I’m not entirely sure what would happen if they got out, but I am sure it wouldn’t do good things for me. Letting it out normalizes it, making the evil seem more mundane, more normal.
I’ve seen writers who’ve done this. It hasn’t ended well for any of them.
The flip side of this – still entirely too accurate – Blast from the Past is that among the places my mind simply can’t go is pure fluff. I’ve tried. It just doesn’t work. That darkness creeps in (which is why I seem to spend so much time writing that shadowy area where dark hasn’t quite graduated into evil) and adds an edge. Or worse.
What happens when I attempt romance is possibly even less good. I wish I could write romantic fluff with happily-ever-afters and just the right amount of sexual shenanigans to sell the way romance always seems to do. Heck if people can make big dollars with dino porn, I’d love to be able to do the same sort of thing.
Alas, my mind refuses to go there. Every attempt I’ve made either twists or just dies. Usually both at once, and I’m not good enough to push through on skill alone.
So weird and whatever decides to take over my mind is what it’s going to have to be.
Of course, next I have to somehow carve out the time to start publishing myself because Life just keeps happening to my esteemed publishers, alas. That will have to be the next miracle, I guess.