Monday, March 10, 2008


As writers, we tend to live in our subconscious more than most people. We create characters, situations, worlds and realities that must feel real or the reader won't be engaged. Not only will they toss the book against the wall, they'll tell all their friends how ridiculous it was.

This leads to the need for some solid research. I've never been to Belize nor run white water in a raft(or any other conveyance for that matter). Travel books, tourism boards and the wide world of google help to capture the feel of the tropical country. YouTube has some fascinating video of amazing river runs that I've previously shared with you. I draw on those resources a fair amount when I'm writing.

There's a pivotal scene with Alex and another character going over a waterfalls in a kayak. Racing off the edge of the earth to plunge 200 feet. Exhilerating stuff. Terrifying and something I feel confident describing despite the fact that I've never been in a kayak.

Every Spring for the past 16 years, I've dreamt about going over Niagara Falls, without a barrel. I swim, sweep or flail my way over the edge. My breathing changes, adrenaline floods my bloodstream and euphoria and terror dominate my senses. I am never injured but I am always aware how precarious my survival is. There are a variety of reasons for this recurring dream but the one that interests me most for this blog is the way I can use that experience to give this scene a sense of truth. Even though my feet stay firmly planted on the ground whenever I go to Niagara Falls, I can recreate that feeling with a high level of accuracy. Because I've dreamt it so often.

Which brings me to the recurring dream from the last post. I have this ongoing relationship with a NASCAR driver because I write romance and need some stuff to drawn on. My subconscious likely chose him because we've met a few times, I'd done all that research on him for the game and wandered through his hometown. It perceives him as familiar. The relationship isn't real so I can poach from it all I want for writing purposes.

The subconscious is the best tool in a writer's toolkit. It isn't bound by physical limitations or conventional thinking. It has a symbiotic relationship with the imagination. They fuel each other.

And save me a plane ticket to Belize.

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