I’ve heard other writers talk about subconscious (my word, not necessarily theirs) choices, but never had the experience myself until yesterday. I knew that one of my characters (I’ll call her 1) would be searching for a new career, starting with some sort of entry level job, but I had no idea what it would be. In a scene I wrote two weeks ago, I had 1 show up at another character’s (I’ll call her 2) place of work, looking to reconnect. She’s rebuffed and has to find a way to earn back 2’s trust over the course of the book. And 2 will be in serious trouble at work about half-way through the book.
I didn’t want 1 to just walk straight into 2’s place of work, so I put a receptionist desk out front. I also didn’t want 2 to have any advance warning that 1 was coming, so I made the receptionist job open and unfilled for a bit, so they’re anxious to have it filled ASAP.
Yesterday, I came to the scene where 1 has to figure out what kind of career she wants and where she will get a job. I started with classified ads in a town similar in size and make-up to the imaginary town in the book. Lots of jobs that don’t fit what she needs, which was perfect. Then I went on Monster. More jobs that don’t fit, plus some that struck me as funny for her circumstances, even better. Then I had her get frustrated and go talk to another character about something else. In the course of their conversation, she mentions the job search and he starts suggesting things. One of the things he suggests is the big organization where 2 works. He starts listing off types of jobs she could get there.
I’m sure you can all see where this is going, but I honestly did not, even at this point. Which is why I suddenly got excited when my character mentioned that she could work in the Human Resources department because I thought how great it would be that she could snoop through HR records to help 2 when the trouble comes. Because the trouble is with a co-worker.
It was then that my subconscious whispered, “Psst. Hey, you. Over here.” I looked where it was pointing and there was a big, shiny, perfect job all set up with a gleaming, satiny ribbon. Thank you, Subconscious.
And now that I’ve actually met my subconscious, I need a name for it. Because I don’t want to keep referring to it as my subconscious and thanking it as such. It just sounds weird. One writer I admire calls hers the Girls in the Basement. I think that’s brilliant, but I want my own name for mine.
I’ll be thinking about it, but I’d love to hear suggestions for mine or the name you call your own subconscious in the mean time.