I don’t think about what I’m writing while I’m writing it.
That sounds terrible. I’ll clarify. I think about the words, the characters, the plot, the oh-so-tricky position of commas, the story. I think about that constantly. What I don’t think about, what I’m not even aware of, are the underlying themes that emerge when I’m writing. I don’t know if I should be, but I’m not.
What got me thinking about this was a text conversation with one of my fabulous beta readers, in which she pointed out the underlying theme of the evils of child exploitation that runs through “Spark and Carousel.” Which was something that hadn’t even occurred to me, the way it didn’t occur to me that “Art of Forgetting” explored racism. I think I’m so focussed on the “running round the countryside hitting each other with swords” level that anything deeper emerges unconsciously. Because, lets face it, running around the countryside hitting people with swords is a lot more fun than dealing with Issues.
And I have the distinct feeling that if I explicitly tried to write a book about an Issue it would turn out to be terribly worthy and po-faced and, lets face it, dull. (Not to mention that fact that I don’t know how the Issues creep in in the first place, so I wouldn’t know how to do it!)
It’s always fascinating when readers see things you didn’t know were there in your own writing, and what crawls out from the dark of a writer’s unconscious. Something to think about, but perhaps not to over-think about!