Sometimes it seems like my brain knows more than it lets on.
Even when I don't notice, it's back there - constantly churning out story ideas, thinking about writing projects, and generally working in the background. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
The thing that amazes me is that I think my brain is smarter than I am.
When I wrote The Six Elemental I was writing about Kit's journey of coming to terms with being a living mythical being. It was only after I'd gone through my third draft that I realized there was an underlying theme of how outside influences can effect* how a person grows up. There's a big difference between the person Kit is (growing up on Briton with a Humanist step-father) and the person Kit could have been (with a more accepting influence).
When I wrote The Fifth Queen (still in it's editing stages), I was writing about a different character's journey (plus a few familiar ones). After I'd written the first draft I realized that I'd done another parallel theme - this time, about accepting responsibility. One character accepts that they have a duty to uphold, while another character rejects it.
But I'd never thought about that when I was writing the story. That parallel hadn't crossed my mind once while I was writing. Instead it was something that just happened to appear when I was going through the first draft.
My brain put it there because it's smart, y'all. Maybe too smart...
So if you're writing something and you're not sure where your story's going or what it's all about, don't worry about it. Just keep writing and eventually you'll figure something out. Sometimes you won't know until the end of your first draft (or maybe even the fifth), but as long as you're telling a compelling story with interesting characters, eventually it'll all become clear.
Trust your brain.
It knows - even if you don't.
*It's too late** for me to care whether effect/affect is right, so this is the word I'm using. I'll figure out if it's wrong/right sometime maybe never.
**It's only 11:54pm AST, so I'm not late! It's still Sept 18th over here!