Carl Jung once said, “…in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche…there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
This theory that we all share one knowledge base, inherited from our ancestral lines, which we use as our resource when we do anything else, is nice, in a ‘We Are Family’ sorta way. I once would have thought it was a crock, but lately, I’m not so sure. Here are three examples of some ‘Are you kidding me?’ writing moments, that may prove Jung’s theory. They will require that you trust me implicitly, because they are pretty unbelievable.
1) The Secret Circle Scene Swap – On my lunch break at work, I had a brilliant idea for a scene in the story I was developing, The Order of the Key. That scene involved my two magickally inclined seventeen year old leads, Jacklyn and Kyp. Kyp has known about his powers all his life and has some practice in using them, but his romantic interest, Jacklyn, is just learning that they even exist. In an attempt to teach her more, the two travel out into the forest behind his house and do a little spell practice (or something that sounds less dirty than that just sounded…). They have a romantic moment, and this scene ends up being the set up for their first kiss.
I wrote this entire scene before I got home from work that day. I came home so excited about it, that I literally forced my husband to read it. He gave me notes on it and we discussed it. Then we settled in to watch the premiere episode of The Secret Circle.
About halfway through the episode, the main character, Cassie, freaks out about powers she has just discovered and runs out into the forest. Her romantic lead, Adam, follows her trying to calm her down. He shows her how to do a spell, which they perform together to perfect results. And they ALMOST KISS…and I let out a bizarre little shriek as Ismael nudged me, wide eyed.
Really? REALLY? I had just written this!
The Secret Circle was based on a book series that I have never read. Was that scene in the book? I have no idea. All I know is that show totally copied off of me. Totally.
2) Main Character Brain Plant: When I write, I usually have some physical model in mind for my main characters, that I use to help me nail down certain things about physical appearance in the initial, seed growing process of a story. Usually, these things evolve over time, and I end up with a very different looking or behaving character than I went in with. But what happened with Kyp Franklin when I was drawing him up has never happened to me before. Kyp sort of arrived in my head fully formed. He’s an arrogant hero with a perfect memory, who firmly believes he is capable of protecting anyone from anything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This alone gave me all kinds of ideas for his quirks, his mannerisms. Physically, Kyp would need to be strong, but not overwhelmingly strong. Jacklyn, the lead of the story, was the physical superhero out of this group, Kyp, the mental superhero. So, while he should be tough (after all, he’s spent his whole life training to fight), he shouldn’t be muscle-bound. As for his face…it just seemed to arrive in my brain. I had no idea where it came from, but as I wrote, I could see this person in my head.
Fast forward to a year and a half after Kyp had been created. A trailer had been released for the movie adaptation of a series that I have something of a love/hate relationship with, The Mortal Instruments. I watched the movie trailer with excitement, to see how my two favorite characters, Simon and Alec, would be portrayed.
Alec appeared and he was Kyp. I mean, he is EXACTLY what I pictured in my head. Only his eyes are wrong – light when they should be dark. Eagerly, I looked up this actor. His name is Kevin Zegers, and while I believe I had seen him in passing before (I remember all of the critical acclaim behind his character in Transamerica), I had never seen anything with him in it before (at the time. Lately I’ve been watching everything he’s ever been in – I have an obsessive personality), nothing to make me have such a very clear picture of him in my head. We’re talking mannerisms, gestures, faces – I don’t know where he came from. But I do know who I want to be casted in The Order of the Key movie, should there ever be one…
3) Joss Whedon / Stephenie Meyer / Guillermo Del Toro Wrote My Plot/Characters/ENTIRE BOOK SERIES.
Below please find a side by side comparison of stories that others came up with, and stories that I did, in explanation of the headline above.
a) Angel Plotline, by Joss Whedon: When Cordelia loses her memory, her friends lie to her in an attempt to keep her calm, but the lie unravels spectacularly when the heroine is attacked by the very creatures that supposedly never existed.
Rebirth Plotline (part of the scrapped trilogy mentioned here: When the heroine loses her memory, her friends lie to her in an attempt to keep her calm, but the lie unravels spectacularly when the heroine is attacked by the very creatures that supposedly never existed. Nope. Not joking. Exactly this.
b) The Host, by Stephenie Meyer: The heroine, named Melanie, is infected by an alien parasite but it is unable to fully take over. She ends up sharing her world with this alien being, but her infection separates her from the love of her life, and when she finds him again, he is a member of the resistance against the aliens, and said alien causes complications in any attempts at rebuilding a relationship between them. Ian O’Shea, a friend, has a strong dislike for the alien, but eventually grows to care about it.
Dark Galaxy, by Justine Manzano – The heroine, named Melinda, is infected by an alien parasite, but it is unable to fully take over. She ends up sharing her world with it, but her infection separates her from the love of her life, Shamus, and when she finds him again, he is a member of the resistance against the aliens, goes by the name of Shay, and said alien causes complications in any attempts at rebuilding a relationship between them. Bobby, a friend, has a strong dislike for the alien, but eventually grows to care about it. Still not joking. I’ve been working on and off on this story for 5 years.
c) The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: – Civilization is taken over by vampires.
Eclipse (the scrapped story Ismael and I were discussing here: The island of Manhattan is isolated and overtaken by vampires. The discovery of The Strain may have been the final nail in Eclipse’s coffin.
Evidence enough of a Collective Unconsciousness? Well, to me, it’s either that or there are bugs planted around my house, mining for ideas. But I’m not in the market for a tinfoil hat yet. I’ll go with the psychologist’s theory instead.
Has this ever happened to any of you readers? Post about it in the comments.