by Bill Johnson
• The conscious mind is concerned with the senses and evaluating relationships.
• The subconscious mind stores memories and issues about the self.
• The superconscious mind, above the other two, offers a dispassionate awareness concerned with understanding.
I wrote my second book, Deep Characterization, about what happens when someone creates stories to process personal feelings or issues.
The Spirit of Storytelling addresses how a writer can allow story characters to have internal lives that do not revolve around the author's issues or relationships.
Because the conscious mind is concerned with a person's standing in life, stories exploring or illuminating relationships draw readers in. This is one reason why so many stories revolve around births, deaths, marriages, leaving home; they are a time of change for relationships.
If an author is fully concerned with his/her own issues and relationships, the author is likely to create stories with main characters symbolic of the author’s issues. These story characters act to transport the author, not readers.
The subconscious stores memories. Because the subconscious is a storehouse of information about life, it's easy for some writers to “watch the mental story movie” and write down the details. The downside to this writing process is that long term memories are compacted and the feelings associated with them minimized.
The superconscious mind is above the subconscious. It is about understanding, about expanding conscious awareness, about understanding the daily self as a way to evolve to higher states of understanding. It's not about getting even, it's about becoming aware.
Getting to the superconscious mind means a storyteller is getting to a place where characters are not tethered to the authors needs and issues, whether conscious (based on the relationships from our daily lives) or subconscious (symbolic characters and core issues from our buried mental landscape).
If you are successful writing contemporary or genre fiction using the fuel from your life and relationships, or some subconscious motor, you might not need to concern yourself with a connection to the superconscious mind. But if your storytelling is lifeless and your characters fail to compel, then I encourage you to go deeply into yourself and find a route to a deeper understanding of your character’s inner lives.
A longer version of this essay, which includes techniques to reach that deeper state, is available in my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon Kindle. website or check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise, available on Amazon Kindle. Or, find me on Google+ and tell me what you think.
The full length version of this essay is currently available only on the Amazon Kindle version of the book.
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