Monday, March 22, 2010

Don't You Wish You Could Read Minds?

There is a scene in ORACLE that is really fun and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Cam is able to read minds, and finds it quite entertaining. In this particular scene, he convinces Lexi to let him teach her to block someone from reading her mind. The chemistry between them is what makes the scene, but I've been thinking about how awesome it would be to have that ability...

Especially in the publishing industry.

Can you imagine how much easier it would be to write a query if you could read the agent/editors mind and know exactly what they wanted from you? What about alpha readers? How awesome would it be to read their minds and know exactly what they wish would happen next, or with readers in general--to know whether they saw that big plot twist coming a mile ahead and what exactly tipped them off?

Yes, it would be handy indeed, at least I think so. What about you? If you could read minds, what would you do with it?

Here is the scene from ORACLE that inspired this wildly speculative post. Enjoy!

~~~~~~

“I was hoping I could help you with that.” Cam leaned closer and continued. “Remember when I mentioned training? What if I taught you to block people—so they couldn’t read your mind?”

“You can do that?”

“I haven’t been trying to hide my abilities my whole life. I’ve been training. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty good at blocking.”

“And you want to teach me?” Lexi couldn’t keep the suspicion from her voice.

“Yes.”

“How?”

“I would try to read your mind then teach you how to block me.”

“Ah, there’s the catch.” Lexi laughed. “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Cam held still for a moment then shrugged. “Okay, it’s your call. I just figured you’d rather have me trying to read your mind when you know I am—and learn to block me. But it’s fine with me if you don’t learn. Then I can read it whenever I want.”

He grinned as Lexi’s mouth fell open and he stood to leave. “It’s been pretty entertaining so far.”

She jumped up and grabbed his arm as he started walking.

“Fine.” The word barely escaped through her clenched teeth.

He looked down at her hand on his arm, and then raised one eyebrow. She jerked her hand away and sulked back to her seat.

“How do we start?”

“Okay, I’m going to try to read your mind—and you’re going to try to feel me probing. Don’t try to stop me this time. Just try to notice me, get used to how it feels.”

“I’ve never noticed it when anyone has done it before.” Lexi grumbled.

“You weren’t trying.” Cam said, moving his chair directly across from hers so when he sat their knees were touching. She fidgeted in her seat. The way her heart raced when he got this close was irritating. “Are you ready?”

“No,” she said quickly. After clearing her mind with a few deep breaths, she nodded.

She tried to pay attention, but she had no idea what it was supposed to feel like. Cam was staring her down. It was getting dark outside now and she could actually see stars reflecting in his eyes. It was kind of weird, but pretty.

Cam laughed, and sat back.

“What?”

“Are you trying at all?” He shook his head with a grin, and then leaned forward and whispered. “Men don’t consider ‘pretty’ a compliment, just so you know.”

She could feel the heat rising up her neck. “Whatever, I’ll remember that when I meet one,” she muttered, but he ignored her.

“It should feel like tiny jabs at your thoughts. Almost like they are shifting back and forth in your head—it’s slight, but you can notice it if you try. Here.” He leaned forward and took her hands in his. “Maybe this will help.”

Lexi tipped her head to one side. “Seriously? How does that help?”

“It just does, now come on.”

Shrugging, she tried to keep her focus away from the tingles running up her arms. She let her mind wander over their time in Solara, starting with her arrival. When the scene with Cam and his knife flashed through her head, she finally felt his probing. He flinched, both physically and within her mind. It felt like a push on her thoughts, like someone was trying to shove them away. After the first one, she started to feel smaller and smaller pushes. It was very subtle, but she could feel it.

Letting her mind wander further, she grew more sensitive to the probing sensation. She thought through her time in the healing center, and to the Council Room, then Cam joining her in the hallway and how cute he’d looked—how she didn’t even recognize him.

A small smile curved the corner of Cam’s mouth and a wave of embarrassment washed over her. Reaching for the probe in her mind, she mentally pushed it as hard as she could.

Cam jerked back so hard his chair teetered back on two legs.

“Hey! Whoa!” he shouted as he tried to stabilize himself. Lexi grabbed his shirt and pulled him back upright.

“Thanks,” he said as he stared at her for a moment. He looked shocked.

“Was that—did I do that?”

“Yep.” He nodded. “You’re a natural. How did you know what to do?”

“I don’t know, it was instinct—I think.”

“Well, you were a little too forceful, but it worked. With some practice you’ll be able to move the probes to an alternate thought. They won’t even know you’re doing it. You can even feed someone false memories if you really get good—that trick has saved my life more than once.”

Lexi didn’t know how to respond to that, so she changed the subject.

“So you weren’t supposed to go flying backward though?”

“No, I’ve never seen that happen before. I think you’re so good at it because you’ve been protecting your secrets for so long. It really is instinctive to you.” The look that crossed his face was almost sad before he continued. “Again?”

“Sure, I’ll try to go easier on you.” Lexi smirked.

“Yeah, I’d appreciate that.” This time he leaned backward and crossed his arms over his chest. He looked around and for a minute she thought he’d changed his mind. Then she felt the slight prodding in her head. She took it and redirected it like he’d said, but it was much harder than she expected. She had no control over what thought took its place.

First, she jumped to her memory with Jo. She quickly pushed that aside and it came to rest on their tube ride in Solara. Cam’s red face flashed through her mind, and, with a grin, she pushed that aside too. Then it was the image that had been haunting her since yesterday—the picture of Etos followed by the memory of the crash. She lost all control.

The memory washed over her more vividly than ever before. It was like being there again. The mangled metal, the heat from the flames that consumed thirty feet below. By the end she was panting and sweating. She blinked a few times before she could focus on Cam. She was surprised to find him pale and shaking.

“I don’t understand—why was it so—real?”

“Because you pulled it forward intentionally, even though you didn’t choose that memory—you usually don’t try to think about it.” His voice sounded so small, Lexi didn’t know what to say. She felt bad for making him experience it. No one should have to see that.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”

Cam shook his head and stood up. “No, it’s fine.” He tried to smile, but it fell short.

“It’s late. We’ll practice again another day.” Cam backed away from her toward the backdoor. “Goodnight, Twitchy.” Then he was gone.

20 comments:

  1. Yes, reading minds would be a wonderful ability to have. I enjoyed your scene. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I LOVE that scene. LOVE IT!! I read the whole thing again, even though I've already read it before. It reminded me how much I love Cam. That boy is so cute.

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  3. Wow, oh wow! I adored that scene. It was so well done, everything jumped off the screen. Seriously, you have quite a gift!!

    If you're ever looking for beta readers, feel free to email me :)

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  4. Okay, I need this book published. I so want to read it!!!!

    And I'm with Megan on the beta reader thing. I'm volunteering too!

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  5. LOL I'm so glad you guys liked it. Did I mention you all rock? :) No?

    Well, You All Rock! :)

    Carry on.

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  6. Great scene.

    As for mind reading... I'm not sure I would want to know somethings other people are thinking. But I'm sure it would come in handy at other times.

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  7. Amazing scene!!! Loved it! You are such an awesome writer!!

    As for reading minds I'm not sure I'd want to, in fear that I would hear something hurtful... I think it could be trouble for me :)

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  8. I love that scene. It's so full of chemistry and humor. I would totally read my husband's mind when he's eating dinner to see if he really likes it or is just being nice. ;)

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  9. Awesome scene!

    And yes, I wish I could read those agents minds. =)

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  10. If you could read the agents, or readers, minds, you would only give them what they want to hear, and not your actual creative writing. I think it would limit our abilities. But hey, I'd love the ability to know what others are thinking, so long as they only had pleasant thought! That's realistic, right?

    I really enjoyed this scene. What a fun book! Thanks for sharing.

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  11. I am not sure I would want to read what was on an agent/publisher's mind, as they read my MS. LOL
    It is a gift I would like if I played cards for money though. *grin*

    Enjoyed the scene, thanks for sharing.

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  12. Wow, wow, wow! You are fabulous, and I echo the screams for more of the others in this comment thread. Wow! :-)

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  13. Hehe, thanks guys :) I'm so glad you are enjoying the scene. It's always been one of my favorites.

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  14. Everyone can read my mind, well my face gives it all away, anyway. It makes my characters hard to right because they all end up with overly expressive faces...

    Thanks for sharing your scene, very cool. I also thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  15. "He grinned as Lexi’s mouth fell open and he stood to leave. “It’s been pretty entertaining so far.”"

    ROFL!

    This was a great scene, Jenn. I love that she pushed him almost out of his chair. ;)

    As for me, I'm glad there's no mind reading. I wouldn't want to know when someone didn't like me. =P

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  16. Hmmm, why don't I remember this scene from when I read ORACLE? Is this a new addition?

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  17. i genuinely love all your posting way, very exciting.
    don't quit as well as keep writing as a result it simply nicely to look through it.
    excited to browse a lot more of your articles, have a good day :)

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  18. Karen - LOL, half the book is a new addition since you read it. It's been completely revamped. This is the new and improved edition. ;)

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  19. Great scene, I enjoyed reading it. Nice conflict between them. It would be nice to mind read into the future as we write and we'd know what our readers would like or dislike. But that might be getting too technical. :)

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  20. No, you didn't mention we all rocked, but somehow I heard it echoing in my head....

    :) Nice scene! Good to see you again after a long Lent!

    Keep up the great writing,
    Heather

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