When the Eight Ladies were in class at McDaniel College years ago, our instructor, Jenny Crusie, used to talk about the Girls in the Attic. The Girls, she said, were the source of inspiration. What they handed down might be weird and totally not where your conscious mind wanted to go with your manuscript, but you should never disregard them.
(The Girls, by the way, were Jenny’s answer to Stephen King’s Boys in the Basement, who serve a similar purpose.)
Last week I started noodling around with another demon book. I have no idea why. I have one manuscript with 60,000 words written that’s waiting for me to come back and mold it into a readable story. And the next logical book in the demon series isn’t the one I started playing around with.
Clearly, following a straight line is not something I excel at.
Anyway, I sat down to write the first scene in this new demon story and the next thing I know, we were in a (modern-day) saloon in a small town in Wyoming, witnessing a conversation through the eyes of a small-town sheriff.
Um, what? I’ve visited Wyoming a couple of times, but I am by no means deeply familiar with that part of the country.
The next day, I started over, intending to relocate the story in small town in Ohio, an area with which I am very familiar. The story screeched to a halt.
No matter what I did, the story stubbornly insisted it needed to be set in Wyoming. It was only after several fruitless attempts to relocate it that I figured out why. Just outside the town in question there is a Hellmouth that’s about to open. Parts of Wyoming have hot springs that smell of sulfur. Apparently the Girls think a Hellmouth would smell like sulfur.
And they’re right.
What kind of oblique information have you received from your subconscious?