I know there are authors who’ve had great success with stories that started life as a dream, but I’m not going to be one of them.
Last night I did have the strangest dream, it involved a time travelling boyfriend, not mine…
who switched identities mid swooshy wooshy time tunnel where he hurtled between The Trenches and the sort of present you have in dreams – where something is wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it at the time. The Queen on a bus, for instance
or that extra nose sprouting on your face. Anyway, this time swooshing was going on simultaneously with a recording of The Archers featuring my brother’s best man as a dodgy builder. My brother’s best man is a builder and no slur is implied but the most perturbing thing was that the person who said he was Kevin Richards (not his real name) didn’t look like him. It was radio, so it shouldn’t matter, but it did and with everything else going on it mattered the most.
Make a story out of that.
Probably not for middle-grade readers.
I’m astonished how authors can turn dreams into coherent fiction. I need all my consciousness to do that and still, more often than not, it turns out overpopulated and horribly complicated – a multi-limbed mess.
But I’m learning and I did wake up this morning to write the beginnings of a plan that may have legs, just the two I hope. (Although we know from the Paralympics some superhumans can do very well with one or even none). This plan has nothing to do with my dream.
I told my other half, which was a sort of mistake, like the ‘sort of present’, almost the right thing. Relating a half-baked idea produces a look of puzzlement…
that erects brick walls of no communication. I read on Twitter, where else, that ‘writing is the art of putting pictures in the readers head’. I’m not surprised that at this point in the project, I failed.
But there are pictures in my head, like in the dream, swirling round and round. At some point, if I use Gill Lewis’ clotting analogy, they will form storylines: backstories, character histories, motivations and live action which will mesh together to form a plot. Something not to be left to chance, though. Right now, I’m enjoying imagining myself at the bottom of this maelstrom with a lasso. I hope, after months choosing the wrong pictures, which failed to clot, my rope skills have improved.