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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dreams of Dystopia

As weird as this is going to sound, I have dreamt up everything I have written thus far. No, not as in sat around and thought "what strange thing can I come up with next?" Actual dreams, real dreams - as is sleeping at night and having marvelous dreams.

First off, I am fortunate when it comes to dreams. I have 'movie dreams'. They have a plot, a wonderful cast of characters, a beginning, some sort of escalating conflict, and usually quite a climax. I know these dreams don't last as long as they seem in my sleep. They are probably a few seconds, perhaps several minutes. But they are wonderful dreams.

The main character in The Smith Chronicles, John Smith, came to me in a dream. The setting came to me in that same dream. And over a number of peaceful slumbers most of the storyline came in dreams.

I have learned over the years that your dreams try to disappear once your conscious world kicks back in. Most of the time I'm no different. Most of my dreams are gone by morning. Gone like a breath in the wind. My recurring dreams, John Smith dreams, stick with me all day. Day after day, week after week, month after month. That's when I realized I needed to start the manuscript. When the dream never ends, you'd better try and get it down on paper.

That process took quite a while. I'd never written much since high school. And that was a long time ago. Many years in my past. I tried a few times. The exact number I don't recall, but I know it was more than half a dozen. Words were terrible. I couldn't get it in the correct context. Ideas became jumbled and frustration set in. This went on for almost six years.

Late one afternoon, January 23, 2013, I finally decided to run things from a different POV (point of view). As much as I tried to tell this from Smith's POV, it never worked. That's when I discovered I needed a better set of supporting characters. Someone else's POV the story could be told from. Enter the White sisters and bang, I was off.

I wrote almost 6,000 words before I stopped that evening. Many fellow writers say if you get 2,000 words a day out, you're doing well. But this was different. The story flowed, smoothly, wonderfully. I couldn't stop.

Four weeks later I was 85% finished with the 125,000 word manuscript. An ending, a great ending, was needed. I came up with three or four pretty good options. Just as I settled on one, you guessed it, I had another dream. A great dream. The book would continue; it would become a series. Two months and 150,000 words later, book two was roughed out. Thank God for dreams.

I still have a lot of editing and re-writing to do on both novels, but they'll get there. Book one should be out sometime before late summer. Book two will follow in the winter of 2014/2015. Until then, I continue work on my introductory series, WWIV. Yes, more dreams.

I never thought of becoming a writer ever before in my life. Now, the theme invades my dreams every week, if not every night. To sleep, perchance to dream. Thank you Shakespeare.

'Til next time, keep reading.