Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Dreamed a Dream

Brainstorming Song of the Day: "Dream On" by Aerosmith (check it out below!)

So on Thursdays, we'll be featuring a Road to Publication series which will include tips and suggestions on everything from brainstorming to revising to querying to synopses. However, before you even think about publication, you have to have an idea, right?

I'm annoying. I'm one of those people who actually dreams about story ideas. It's weird. I never really dream about myself--always characters in random situations (in fact, Quita mentioned on Monday how Joseph Gordon-Levitt helped give me the premise to the manuscript I'm currently querying).

So, it's easy. Have a kick ass dream, write it down, shop it around. Right? WRONG!

If you dream like me, trying to make sense of it is like trying to watch a French film with no subtitles (or even with them sometimes). So here's what I did to create what is now known as Wants:

1. Tell someone about it. I know, I know. It's Monday morning. You stumble into work. You go to get coffee...and then your coworker wants to tell you all about his dream. I internally roll my eyes, too. That's why I only make my loved ones suffer through this disclosure. Quita, I have a doozy to tell you about...

2. Write down what you remember. If you're able to talk about it, then you should be able to write that baby down. If you're able to string several coherent sentences together, then hot damn, you may have a story there.

3. What does it all mean? Okay. You dreamed about Robin Thicke leaving his wife to join the circus. So what? Why should I care about this story? Is it unique enough to keep others interested? Tip #1 is a good buffer of this. If you see someone looking a bit distant when you share your dream, it's time to shut up. Move on the next idea (by the way, Robin Thicke walking across a tightrope? Epic).

4. Write the first chapter. So, your dream is pretty cool. Everyone says so. Now prove that you can make a killer opening. If you find yourself just staring at a blinking cursor for, let's say, a few weeks, then maybe it's best to keep that idea in your head (who knows, maybe you'll get inspired a year from now. No need to force it, though. If it's meant to be, then it's meant to be).

This is what I pretty much did to put Wants into fruition. Once I got that first chapter down, I thought: "Hey, this could be pretty interesting..." Then I outlined like a madwoman. Of course, that's my technique; others prefer just writing. We'll touch on both some time in the future.

So tell me--have you ever dreamed of a story idea? If so, did you ever actually finish the story?

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Jamie said...

Great post, ladies! I'm in the process of bringing a tiny snippet of a dream I had to the page. I'm about 25K in, so hopefully the words will keep coming!

Holly Dodson said...

This makes me wish I remembered my dreams. I wake completely oblivious to any dreams I may have had.

Abby Stevens said...

I never have dreamed a story idea. I daydream them, lol.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

Considering I dream nearly all of my stories... I love this post.

And French subtitles- So. Freaking. True. LMAO.

Pam Harris said...

Jamie, 25K from a dream? Can I get a woot woot?
Holly, I sometimes forget my dreams too. Sometimes something just reminds me of them during the day and then it all starts coming back to me.
Abby, I daydream a lot, too! Especially during meetings. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't admit that.
Samurai, I think you're my long lost sister. :)

Racquel Henry said...

I've never really dreamed about a character. I don't usually remember my dreams! LOL. I just read an article about tapping into your dreams for story ideas. It's quite the interesting subject. I wish I could remember mine!

Jess said...

I haven't started a story based on a dream (except for one about a dragon waaaaay back in 5th grade...), but I have dreamed about my existing characters on occasion. Sometimes it's useful--like when I saw my villain through my heroine's eyes and could feel her fear--and other times, it's just plain silly--like when I dreamed that my characters were reenacting the movie "Sahara", complete with the Matthew McConaughy kiss on a stranded submarine. Yeah.

I totally do a lot of daydreaming, though. Especially when I'm at work. ;)