My initial draft of anything is a series of flowing fragments. They are ideas, images, thoughts and feelings. They are connected by an overarching concept, but that would be unclear to anyone reading them at this stage.
This writing is what I’m most in love with. I have never felt freer than when I am writing in this way. I learn something through the words and their transfer that I’d never see any other way. They tumble out of me, already beautiful. Imperfect, perhaps, but beautiful all the same. They mean exactly what I intended, even though I was likely unconscious of this intention. Words like this bypass the conscious, judging mind altogether, and in doing so they portray authenticity. Wordplay and layers of metaphor come naturally.
But this kind of writing comes unfinished. It has no reason to have a proper beginning, climax or end. It has no reason to conform to genre or expectation. And here comes the writing. The other writing. This writing is conscious mind writing; the point at which judgement and sense and linearity come into play. This kind of writing wants to be certain something meaningful is communicated. Something a reader will surely recognise and value.
Nebulous thoughts must be converted to journeys. Purpose and practicality drive all over ingenious subtlety. Trample and pulp. Darlings get themselves killed in this territory.
The writing becomes an effort in connecting the dots. Grounding in a scene. Offering description as an anchor. The focus turns from inner to outer, from writer to reader. What was a tool for self-understanding becomes a mode of communication.
Flow can be found in this writing, but it is a different stream to the initial draft, and I struggle to welcome it into myself. Sometimes when I do, I don’t like the result. It doesn’t sound like my voice, it feels like it has cheapened the fragments somehow. A Frankenstein’s monster of poetry and tropes. The writing is an inner conflict with the writing, and this is my challenge.
In Fragments of Perception I let my flow find its way without much intervention from the second kind of writing. I wrote lots of short vignettes without interfering with the unconscious intentions.
In Mind in the Gap I got some science fiction off my chest. I was conscious that I had to make stories, not just ideas. I was conscious that people wanted to see more fully formed concepts from me, more adventures to go on instead of jumping off points for their own thoughts to take.
Interestingly, Fragments of Perception has been the more popular of the two books. I guess people will always say they want you to do something different.