Jan 23, 2012

My writing partner: my subconscious

by Nikki Logan

I have a new book out. Yay!! I haven't had a book out since July which--for me--is a really long time. That's what I get for having four releases in six months last year!

My latest release actually started two years ago when I wrote 'Their Newborn Gift' -- a story in which the heroine needs the father of her (secret) child to help save its life. Actually that's out this month, too, in Australia in an anthology with two other 'bestselling Australian authors'.(Love anything that has my name and the words 'best' and 'selling' in it. Lord I hope that's true!)

You can find out more here.

Anyhoo... back to my latest release. So....

The first draft of 'Newborn Gift' originally featured an opening scene in which the heroine was walking into a remote hospital to undergo an embryo transfer, impregnating herself with her sister's babies.

That premise didn't work for that story and so I put it in my 'come back later' file, but the idea never left me. It would emerge at the worst possible moments--when I was supposed to be concentrating on another story--and jump up and down demanding my focus.

And so I finally gave it the attention it craved and--ever willing to do it's own part--my subconscious had half-written the story in the interim.

And so the premise was born: a woman who has fought the courts to be allowed to implant her (dead) sister and brother-in-law's embroys inside her in order to keep them in the family. The mystery brother who appears, still dusty from the outback to throw a spanner in the works. And the only reasonable solution to a situation in which possession really is nine-tenths of the law...?

Marriage of convenience.

My first MOC story and I didn't even intend for it to go that way. I thought I was writing a virgin-birth hook. What did I know! My subconscious had it all in hand. So there I was, happily describing the awful scene in the hospital in which the hero slaps a legal injunction on the heroine to prevent the embryo transfer and suddenly he blurts out the short-term solution to their legal problem. Even he didn't see it coming.

If she has the disputed babies inside her (possession) then he would equal the playing field by keeping them (and therefore, her) with him on a property in the highlands of Australia until the courts had finished hashing it out.

Well...alright then! Their Miracle Twins was born.  (download it here)

Cue fabulous Aussie setting, cue gorgeous family, cue deception. My poor heroine who is so starved for a loving family... the moment she finds one it's not one she can keep.  Same with the hero, the moment she finds a man she might love, he's only in it for the embryos.

I've learned not to argue with my subconscious in life. It's almost always right. So I don't know why I don't trust it more in my writing. Clearly it has a plan!

Do you have an inner voice that knows better than you do? Do you trust it when it speaks or do you bend it to your will? 


  1. Nikki, I love that your subconscious worked on your story, and that you got to save a cool opening and give it its own book!

    I have a wise inner voice, but it's shy - if I get busy or stressed, it quietens down. Probably just trying to help by not adding to the chaos. =)

  2. Nikki, I love how you go for very strong premises that get me, as a reader, thinking. They make for fabulous stories. Looking forward to reading this one.

  3. My wise inner voice only seems to speak up once I've got things terribly wrong. Would love to skip that step! But, it's always right.

    I'm with Sue, I love your strong premises. A virgin birth is ultra cool :)

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  5. (Let me try that again...)

    I LOVE the virgin birth idea, too, Nikki! Imagine the back blurb! =)

    Yes, I listen to my instincts. Remarkable how often they're right.

    Right now it's telling me we chose the wrong class/teacher for our youngest. Could have gone for a composit class with a lovely female teacher (not being sexist here, but girls are usually softer/more understanding/patient...) but we went for the straight grade 5 with a male teacher who is, well, strict.

    No slouching, no rubbers (what is that!!), no rulers with holes stamped in them coz you might swing it around on a pencil. :sigh: Apparently he's been married 20 years and a Christian for 30. (Hmm,don't know why the kids need to know that.)

    My dh will say I'm over-reacting. I'm thinking it's my wiser inner voice saying "Get out now".

  6. Ah - the old inner voice. Like an old and faithful friend, it often comes to me at the most inconvenient time, whispering "No, go this way..... you know I'm right." And usually those instinctive choices take me exactly where I need to go.
    Love the sound of Their Miracle Twins, Nikki. Great reason for me to fire up my Kindle today :)

  7. I do trust my inner voice. I don't always listen to it though, I should know better.

  8. LOL Rach - what an obliging inner voice you have. Mine just gets louder if I try and ignore it.


  9. Thanks Sue - I don't really set out to do that (well, sometimes...) but I just end up getting really intellectually interested in my character's plight and adding in the layers... Hope this one lives up to it!

  10. Leah - bwahahaaa. A late-to-the-party inner voice. Not helpful :)

    Robbie - Yeah. Trust that voice. Is it too late to change classes? There's an amazing book called 'The Gift of Fear' which is full of situations much nastier than any of us are talking about here, but it basically says that our instincts are still finely honed despite thousands of years of domestication and that that voice that says 'wrong' or that scares you is really onto something. Such a miserable read but so very interesting.

  11. Helen said: "usually those instinctive choices take me exactly where I need to go"

    Yes, exactly!! And we get so used to drowning it out under a mountain of social niceties we stop hearing it.

    I like to be very quiet sometimes and see what its up to. It often has a lot to say in that moment.

  12. Robbie - I just need to reinforce that I'm not suggesting your ruler-hating teacher is to be feared (LOL), it was just the example about your husband telling you you're over-reacting made me think of the book. It's full of people who had an instinctive, gut reaction to something then let 'reason' over-rule it. Most of them end up worse.

  13. Hi Nikki --
    Great post. I love hearing about how story ideas came about.

    I think we all need to listen to our subconscious more (I don't like calling it inner voice...you know what they say about people who hear voices!) I try to listen to mine, especially when I'm working on a story, it seems to know best.

  14. Nikki, I totally get where you're coming from! My dh did say I shouldn't be too quick to judge. I said I hope I'm wrong, but I'm pretty darn sure I'm not. Will keep you all posted!
    And I'll get that book. Thanks =*)

  15. Four books in 6 months! Way to go, Nikki! Delighted to hear there's another one out. What a great way to kick off 2012.

  16. Nikki, I'm a great believer in the inner-voice! I think often ignore it at our peril... the tricky thing is to be able to discern the difference between an ingrained fear of getting out of our comfort zone and a genuine sixth-sense alarm. Alas, I haven't got a fool proof answer to that!

    How exciting to be in a best-seller anthology! Congratulations! And your latest book sounds like a fabulous premise! I'll look forward to getting my hands on it!

  17. Anna - aren't the voices in your head only a problem when you start interacting with them? :) But YES - it does know best.

    Zana - thanks. Was a crazy first half of last year I tell ya! And yeah, hooray for a release.

    Sharon - Your comment really had me sitting here thinking. I often say 'that's my fear speaking' but I really don't know how I know it's not my subconscious giving me a healthy warning. I think there's a certain kind of rightness to the inner-voice that you can distinguish from the wrongness of fear. Almost as though one is positive and the other negative even if they're both telling me not to do something. Ugh, that makes no sense... It *is* very hard to explain.

  18. Go the subconcious. And congrats on your latest release, Nikki!