Subconscious Hauntings…


A Haunting

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“You write out of your subconscious hauntings.” ~ Susan Cooper (Born 1935) British Author


This quote came up on my Tweetdeck this morning and it struck a chord with me. This perfectly sums up how I have been feeling about my writing lately.

I have been editing my November WIP for a full request I received. Being busy with the other WIPs and my short story, I had not re-read the entire draft for at least 6 weeks. This month while I have been editing it, it struck me that I wrote this MS almost as someone else. Does this  feeling have something to do with the fact that it is a Supernatural Horror/Suspense? Does it have something to do with writing the story in 1st POV through the eyes of the antagonist? It could be none of these reasons, it could be both of these reasons.

I do have the feeling that my subconscious was haunted for a while when I wrote this story. I believe that any good story can take over the direction of your writing from your conscious self.  I know that I physically wrote this story but in re-reading it I find that I am in as much suspense as a reader might be. The Story’s twists take me by surprise. I forget what is coming round the corner even though I know that I wrote all the scenes. 

Susan Cooper writes fantasy novels. She is most well-known for “The Dark is Rising“. Stephen King also mentions something similar in his book “On Writing“. In it he says that his mind is often filled with different people all clamouring for his attention. 

So it begs to be asked of your characters….

Do you create your characters?

Or

Do you characters already exist and introduce themselves to you?

This is a difficult question and throws me into a quandary. I would like to think that I, as the writer, have created my characters but with some characters it is not so cut and dried. Some characters, like my antagonist in this November WIP, arrive with fully fledged personalities and backstories and I seem to take dictation.

Who is to know whether that character was in the Ether just waiting for a willing ear and an obedient pen? Can you safely answer no?

For me I feel that when the character arrives in my thoughts that is when the writing just flows. There seems no effort. Indeed it is all I can do to stem the tide. 

For this specific character, I viewed the story through her eyes as she took me through it. I was a participant in the story rather than just the Story Teller. The Story is so real in my mind that it invades my dreams while I sleep. Dreams being the seat of the subconscious, you could safely say she has haunted my subconscious.

Have you ever had that experience with any of your characters?

Do they direct your story or they purely directed by you?

Have your writings haunted your subconscious?


© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

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9 Comments

  1. All my writing, poetry and fiction, just flows out of me from my unconscious mind.

    I can usually identify the conscious triggers that spawned the writing and I often have certain conscious forms the writing flows into; but, the bulk of my work comes, originally, from the Unconscious–I don’t “think it up”.

    My book that’s launching in May went further than anything else I’ve written.

    Usually, there’s a bit of “room” for me to change what first hit the page but this most recent work had so much integrity that it won every argument I had with it 🙂

    • I feel the same way Alexander and this seems to be a common description from most writers I know. How exciting about your new book. Congratulations! 🙂 It is such an amazing feeling when you go further than you thought/dared consciously to go. It is like opening a vein and finding a pulse of raw beauty and overwhelming emotion. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I believe that very often, most of our characters are parts of us. If not, how would we know about them. They can be memories of other people, but like in a gestalt dream, all parts of a dream are parts of us.

    • Yes I believe that true in many instances…maybe they are deeper parts of our inhibited selves…

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