Out of the Blue

Now that I'm blogging only once a month, I feel compelled to offer a better quality post than the quickies I often dashed off when I was blogging once a week.

As a result, I spend much more time thinking about what kind of post to share than I've done in the past. It was during this thinking time that what I'm about to share with you occurred.

I was sitting here working on my manuscript. I follow a loose plot timeline, but what occurs to my characters happens as I write it.

On this particular day, one of the characters said something that surprised me. I hadn't known exactly how he was going to extricate himself from a certain situation, but he managed just fine.

About that time, he mentions Ralph and Naomi Baxter. I stopped typing. What? Who are they? I don't have people on the character list named Ralph and Naomi Baxter.

My fingers start typing again, and I learn Ralph and Naomi are another character's grandparents. Ralph is the owner of Baxter Pharmaceutical, and they're worth a boatload of cash.

Well. I took my fingers off the keyboard.

Where did this come from? How was it exactly what I needed?

Those of you who write have probably experienced this kind of thing before. I have. I just haven't documented the incidents. However, I'm thinking that could be a good idea. I love when it happens, and I wish it happened more often.

Returning to Ralph . . . I decided to check to make sure there wasn't a company with that name. That decision began a new round of woo-woo.

The first return was for Baxter PharmaSolutions, a division of Baxter International. Close enough. I knew I needed to change the name.

Right beneath these two entries was an Wikipedia entry for Baxter International. I clicked over to see if there was any history included. You know what I wanted to see - if there had been a Ralph Baxter involved in the company's development.

I scrolled down to History. Here are the first two sentences:
Baxter International was founded in 1931 by Donald Baxter, a medical doctor, as a manufacturer and distributor of intravenous therapy solutions. Baxter's interest was bought out in 1935 by Ralph Falk, who established a research and development function.

Just for grins, I did another search, this one for a Ralph and Naomi Baxter:
NAME: Naomi L . Baxter
SPOUSE: Joseph Ralph Baxter
BIRTH: 6 Sep 1918
DEATH: 1 Dec 1994

How is this explained? Is it totally random? Do we tap into the Global Consciousness?

Or is it something more?

It's like ideas. Where does an idea come from? I have no clue. I almost said no idea. One day it's just there.

Yes, I work on plot and character and all the other elements. But I have nothing to do with the initial idea. Sometimes, I have very little to do with story. I sit down, and it comes out my fingers.

Like with Ralph and Naomi.

Who are still in the story, by the way. They just have a different last name now :)

What do you think?

See you back here on Monday, November 2.


That is really cool! And I'm like you...I don't know where ideas come from. Maybe they come from a variety of different influences and subconscious knowledge.
What a coincidence! You really did tap into something there.
Karen Walker said…
Wow. I love hearing stories like this because I do believe there is a "collective unconscious" or spiritual energy or something out there beyond human intelligence. You certainly tapped into something. Awesome.
Jan Morrison said…
What do I think? I think I love this. Just reread a Kate Atkinson mystery (I love ALL her genres) where her detective Jackson Brodie says "A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen."
Many years ago I co-wrote a play 'Death, the Musical - karaoke at the Afterlife Bar & Grill' - I called the bartender at the ALBG (a sort of holding bar for people who didn't know they were dead yet) Beulah - after my mother. I found out that Beulah Land was the area just outside the gates of heaven!!! here's a wiki on it The idea the hymn presents that Heaven can be seen from Beulah land comes from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in which he states "Therefore it is, I say, that the Enchanted ground is placed so nigh to the land Beulah and so near the end of their race [i.e. Heaven]." I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.
Bish Denham said…
Wow. You have the most interesting "coincidences." But really there is no such thing is coincidence. I say, yes, definitely you were/are hooked into the global or collective consciousness. Or even better, the Akashic Records!
Murees DupĂ© said…
That is amazing. Maybe someone invisible was whispering in your ear:) Things worked out which is awesome. May the creativity continue.
Gail said…
Universal synchronicity.

I do enjoy when something else does my writing. It is so much better and such a delightful surprise. I think it's in all of us and we need to let that knowledge and creativity out more.
Carol Kilgore said…
Elizabeth - I think a variety of things, too.

Alex - More a tapping in than a coincidence, I think.

Karen - Something, yes. For sure.

Jan - Love the name 'Afterlife Bar and Grill'! The times when this kind of thing happens are precious.

Bish - I'm not a big believer in coincidence. I'll have to google Akashic Records.

Murees - Could be! Here's to creativity!

Gail - I agree!
Arlee Bird said…
That is pretty weird. I don't know how things like that come about. I've come up with similar things that seem original to me then when I research it I find that there is something similar or the same online. Subliminal? Dredged up forgotten memories? Collective consciousness? I don't know, but there may be many reasons that ultimately don't matter. The human brain is such a mystery at times. Most of the time.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
Mason Canyon said…
That is way cool. The mind is definitely a mysterious thing. Like how yours works.
Jan Christensen said…
I'm seeing more and more coincidences lately. Have to wonder about that. Fascinating what happened to you. Things like that happen with my characters a lot where they figure out what to do next, but to add a coincidence about names--that's never happened that I know of. But I haven't Googled all the names I use. Maybe I should. Especially of made-up companies. Fun post. Happy Monday.
Anne Gallagher said…
Wow! Just wow! Although, that has happened to me on several occasions, (when the internal subconscious of the characters appears on the page) not quite the way it happened to you. That is freaky cool.
Carol Kilgore said…
Arlee - My brain is always a mystery to me :)

Mason - I'm just happy mine does work!

Jan - I do google company names most of the time. I don't worry too much about most names.

Anne - Some of these things are freakier than others.
I love when stuff like that happens. I don't believe it's just coincidence. You know, the other day my cohort and I were plotting names for some characters, and we asked what would be a perfect last name for a certain major character. After a brief pause, we both looked at each other and blurted the exact same (completely uncommon) last name out at the exact same time. Well, that certainly sealed it.
L.G. Smith said…
Yeah, I love when that happens. Some kind of subconscious serendipity at work there. I usually take it as a sign I'm on the right track in the story. ;)
I love this tapping into a wider consciousness - when it doesn't freak me out. And particularly love the concept of characters defining themselves and writing their own stories. I suspect that these are the characters who are most complete, and most believable.
Jemi Fraser said…
Love it!! The woo-woo is awesome :)

My subconscious is always helping me out!
Liza said…
I LOVE when the story comes from my fingers!
Oh my how bloody awesome, it is amazing at times what we end up when we just let our fingers to dance on the keyboard
Carol Kilgore said…
Beer - My sister and I do stuff like you two did. I know that feeling.

L.G. - I hope it's a good sign. It feels right.

EC - There is the freak-out factor :)

Jemi - My subconscious and I have a good working relationship, too. For the most part :)

Liza - Yes!
Carol Kilgore said…
Jo-Anne - That's so true. Some days I'm amazed by what happens.
dolorah said…
Your characters are channeling dead people? Well, your muse must have an interesting life outside of your writing :)
Helena said…
I joke that when I write I love it when a character takes over because then the story comes out more naturally. But you took this to a whole different level! Interesting factoid: the screenplay I'm writing deals in part with what some (radical) biologists call inherited memory or shared memory, and it's much like a collective unconscious. Maybe you really did tap into it, or maybe someone's spirit was pulling a little joke on you.
Carol Kilgore said…
dolorah - LOL! You have no idea how interesting :)

Helena - So many possibilities! It would be interesting to explore the experience more. And maybe a little bit freaky, too. Your screenplay sounds cool!
What a fantabulous experience! No, I don't think it's a coincidence, either. Sometimes things seem to just pop into our minds out of nowhere, and then either jump out of our mouths or through our fingertips and onto a keyboard, without us knowing HOW in the world it could possibly have happened. We wonder how we could KNOW such-and-such a fact? Not possible! Ah, but it is. It's a mystery, and a delicious one. It doesn't matter whether it's an example of tapping into a collective consciousness, or whether a helpful spirit or muse is guiding your way. What matters is it is totally COOL.
Carol Kilgore said…
Susan - I think it's totally cool, too :)
Ava Quinn said…
That was a fun flow of coincidences. Loved it!
TBM said…
Wow! What a coincidence and kinda creepy. Good idea for a story, though.
That's a super cool coincidence!
Carol Kilgore said…
Ava - I kept saying really every time I found something new.

TBM - Made me wonder, that's for sure.

Southpaw - I'll let you know the next time it happens :)
Lexa Cain said…
I'm constantly amazed that pantsers can do what you do. I never let my characters off the chain. I tried once and they wandered aimlessly on tangents that had nothing to do with the story, egotistically thinking about themselves all the time, when I needed them to go and do things. Now I outline thoroughly and keep with the program - even though better ideas may present themselves as I go along. I also put in character goals and plot conflicts from the beginning and plan a good plot progression and character arc. But the only important thing is to find the technique that works for you - and you obviously have!
Lynda R Young said…
There are fairies and angels and then there are ideas. They are all real. ;)And I also love it when that happens.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
That trail ran hot for you. It's almost spooky when we lock into people and events like that.
Wow, that was a GREAT moment of being "totally in the creative zone"!
Holding thumbs that more of those experiences come your way!
(and if you wanna share, then you can send some of that my way... will gladly accept...)
Hope you're well, Carol! *waving*
Carol Kilgore said…
Lexa - I plot, but my outlines are loose. I know plot-wise what will occur on a day-to-day basis, but not relationship-wise between the characters. They make all kinds of twists and turns that I don't know about until they happen.

Lynda - Yes! I think so, too.

Diane - It IS spooky!

Michelle - I love when it happens! I'll ask my muse to contact yours :) And I'm just fine - thanks for asking :)
It's fascinating how names just pop into our heads like that. Sometimes the steps to writing a story can uncover
more than we expect. Maybe you were a super sleuth in a former life, Carol! This was fun, and it's good to see you!

cleemckenzie said…
I don't have an answer to your question,but I have lots of questions about it. Sometimes when I read what I've written in the past, I can't imagine where those words and ideas came from. And when they connect with other things outside my own little world, I'm blown away. You're "Global Consciousness" is the best way to explain what happens.

I like more in depth posts, but I'm still plodding along with my once or twice a week shorties. That may have to change in the coming year. I'm making lots of changes in 2016.

Glad you're still out here. I love reading what you come up with. And this post was very interesting.
Dee said…
Dear Carol, I, too, have had the experience of a character stepping forward from the collective unconscious and presenting herself to me. That's when I know that the writing is going well. That I'm not manipulating the story. What a wonder that feeling is. I'm so glad your shared this happening with us. It is, as you say, what happens to many of us who work at crafting a good sentence; a good story. Peace.
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - A super sleuth! I like that. Sometimes I can't find anything :)

Lee - The thing that blows my mind is reading something in the news that parallels something I've written long before. I just couldn't keep up with blogging the way I was. Not and write, too. And writing comes first. We do what we have to do. I miss connecting with everyone here, but I try to keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook, even though it's not the same.

Dee - It's great to hear from you! Ralph and Naomi will be minor characters - at least as far as I know right now. They're keeping well under the radar. I love when this happens, too. It happened with Jake Solomon in a previous novel. He was supposed to come in late and leave early. Instead, he came early and said, "Deal with it. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere." So much we have yet to learn.
Anonymous said…
That's really cool. Sometimes I look up character names and I'm astonished at the Google entries and images I find.
Carol Kilgore said…
Medeia - I do that sometimes, too. Usually when I think "nobody will have this name," someone does!
Christine Rains said…
That's awesome! I love it when that happens when I'm writing. My stories usually have a better idea where they're going and how to solve problems than I do. I have no idea where ideas come from, but it's cool how the Baxters came to you. :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the glimpse into your process, Carol. I don't know where ideas come from, but I'm glad they come from somewhere. Life would certainly be dull without them.
Carol Kilgore said…
Christine - I love it, too!

Milo - Life certainly would be dull!
stuff like this has totally happened to me too! I think we all just pull from the same global idea bin lol
Carol Kilgore said…
Beth Ellyn - I think you're probably on to something there.
Crystal Collier said…
I didn't realize you'd dropped back to blogging once a month. I did that for a while and loved it, but I felt so out of touch with everyone.

Isn't it amazing when our characters tell us things we didn't know? My subconscious constantly surprises me with the tidbits it drudges up. Here's to epic writing and happy coincidences!
Jennifer Shirk said…
It IS kinda funny how ideas just pop in and then stick. The mind is a crazy thing. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Crystal - I do feel out of touch, but it's the only way I can keep up with everything and have decent writing time. I like your toast!

Jennifer - Some days I think mine may be crazier than some :)

Wow! I've had a few things like that happen to me, too, and it's so wild. I wonder if somehow I heard a name somewhere in the background and it sticks with me . . . or something.
Carol Kilgore said…
Tyrean - I don't know. But it is wild. And wonderful!
DMS said…
I love when things like this happen! First of all when characters surprise us it is the best. Second- how totally cool that the names came to you- and yet they existed in the world without your knowing. Wild and awesome! :)

Happy writing!
Carol Kilgore said…
Jess - It is a fabulous feeling!
Mark Noce said…
You raise a good point, and I've had similar experiences myself. It makes one wonder if there aren't things beyond the 5 senses that influence us in our daily lives.
Misha Gericke said…
I'm also the same. The ideas just suddenly come out, and usually they lead to something a lot more brilliant than if I'd sat down and tried to think about them.
Carol Kilgore said…
Mark and Misha - Exactly.