Empty Rooms

The way in which Psychic Awakening was written mirrors the way Megan perceives her surroundings.

We follow her as she explores unfamiliar places, internal and external. What she sees is registered and recorded; what she doesn’t see is ignored and left to the imagination.

As the author, I’m uncomfortably aware that the layout of some locations is rough, incomplete, and downright sloppy. I didn’t sketch room or house layouts before or during the writing. I believe that there are no major inconsistencies, but one or two empty rooms still bother me.

Peter’s apartment in Prague is described very broadly. We know there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, a study, a spacious living room, and a wide hallway. What we don’t know is the relative position of these rooms. In the first draft of the book, Megan’s two tours of the apartment (one with Peter, one alone) left a few clues to juxtaposition, but both tours ended up trimmed to a bare minimum. I didn’t think the layout made much difference.

On the other hand, the description of Peter’s country villa still haunts me. Although it’s not spelled out in the book, in my mind’s eye (Megan’s eye), the wooden staircase is to the left of the main door. The spacious living room takes up most of the ground floor, but between the staircase and the bathroom I glimpsed the doors to two small rooms. I never ventured into these rooms and neither did Megan.

In the first and longest draft, Peter tells Megan about the weatherproofed, insulated structure of the villa and how a housekeeper and her husband lived there all year round, keeping it ready for the owner’s sudden visits. The moment I wrote this dialogue I found my conscious mind struggling to imagine where the housekeeper and her husband would have lived, and which rooms they would have used. This rationalisation interrupted the otherwise smooth flow of images so, like Megan during a reading, I backed off and left the two rooms well alone.

In a way, they form a pocket of hazy unreality in the solid structure of the villa.

I’m guilty of the same sloppiness in my descriptions of physical characteristics and clothing. I’ll touch on some examples in future posts.

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