Dream, My Books, Writing

What Dreams Are Made Into

nomineecircle_smI’m guest posting today at Tales of the Sith Witch because my novel The Brevity of Roses is a nominee for the 2013 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. In my post, I talk about how one dream fulfilled another dream. Read that post.

By the way, I’ve been told that comments left there do not appear. You’re welcome to leave one here though.

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Dream, Editing, My Books, Writing

What if it’s the key to everything?

Like all writers, I jot down my brilliant thoughts when and wherever they come to me. Okay … I jot down my not-so-brilliant thoughts too. I’ve written these thoughts, of whatever degree, on scraps of paper, napkins, page margins, magazine subscriptions cards, even a mirror. I’ve yet to buy one of those nifty waterproof notepads for the shower, but I do keep a notepad in the drawer of my bedside table.

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Unless this is your first visit to this blog, you probably know I’m in the final stages of editing my next novel, An Illusion of Trust. The task has become so intense that I also edit—symbolically or literally—in my dreams almost every night. It’s not restful, but I think my nocturnal editing has produced a good idea or two subconsciously. It’s also produced one bit of maddening frustration.

Remember that notepad beside my bed? Well, I woke from one of those editing dreams the other night and got up to use the bathroom. Fully awake, I thought about what I’d been dreaming and when I got back to my bed, in the dark, I pulled out that note pad and wrote a note to myself.

See the photo in this post? You can read “description” in the second line, right? Any clue what the first line says? Well, since I’m a little bit familiar with my chicken scratching, I think the second word is “thing”. But I’ve looked at the first word for three days now and I still can’t figure it out. And even if I read the note it as “blah-blah thing description”, I can’t imagine what I meant. Then again, maybe the two lines are separate notes. Aaarrgh!

So, I’m haunted. Obviously, I thought this was important at the time I wrote it. What if it’s the key to a brilliant edit? What if that edit would pull every element in the book together? What if the future of my writing depends on this notation? I’m not sure I can move past this.

How will I prevent the recurrence of such a horror? Any future middle of the night notations will be made in the notes app on my iPhone!

BTW: If you decipher that first word, let me know and I’ll send you a signed copy of Illusion after it’s published.

elle

Books, Dream, Opinion, Writing

A Dream in the Dust

Today, while I edited, my husband was watching a documentary on the North American ecological disaster of the 1930s known as the Dust Bowl. I mostly blocked it out, but the mention of a woman writer caught my attention.

A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas ...
A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas in 1935. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her name was Sanora Babb. In 1938 she worked for the Farm Security Administration in California and kept meticulous notes on her conversations with Dust Bowl migrants. She wrote a novel, Whose Names Are Unknown, based on those notes. And Random House was planning to publish it. But her FSA supervisor, Tom Collins, had shared her notes with another writer who then wrote and published his novel first. We’re talking about John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath (dedicated to Tom Collins). Random House shelved Babb’s novel and it wasn’t published until 2004, a year before she died.

I’m sure there’s more to this story. I haven’t read Babb’s book, or even heard of it before today, so possibly Steinbeck did her notes far more justice than she did. Maybe he didn’t know she had written, or was writing, a novel based on them. But still. She had a dream. She worked hard to fulfill it. Its realization was in her sights. And then … someone else got the glory. That makes me sad.

elle

Dream, Family, Movies, Real Life

The fear and psychedelia of “vacationing”

I’m “vacationing” from my virtual life this week. Where I live, this is the last week of vacation before the school year begins, and I’m being visited by granddaughters. By the end of this week, I’ll have seen four of my five, and spent considerable time with two of them. With those two, it’s serious craft time with one and movie time with the other.

Fortunately, nine-year-old Emily uses the glue gun herself own now, which is a relief because I can’t get within two feet of one without decorating my fingers with burns. She always packs as much color as she can into a project, so after we watched the fourteen-year-old Adrienne’s movie choice, Yellow Submarine, Emily crafted the peacock below. Adrienne went with this psychedelic mushroom.  Hmmm … yeah.

Unfortunately, among movie girl’s other choices this week have been The Mothman Prophecies and then a documentary titled The Eyes of the Mothman. I enjoy watching them, but I regret it when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I am not fond of the dark. I have an active imagination.

I can’t blame my recent series of nightmares on Adrienne though because it started before she arrived. So far, I’ve had one where the whole world has gone mad and blood-thirsty people are at my door. Another where I’m in charge of a baby who is not really a baby and I’m rushing to get it somewhere, but every direction I try to go is flooded.

I even had a dream I haven’t had in twenty years. You know, one of those high school stress dreams. This time, I sensed that I was essentially homeless, but had been staying in this house with a couple of old women I didn’t know. It was the first day of the semester, but I had no idea how to get to the school from this house. I knew I was going to be late, so I would have to report to the office when I got there, but I couldn’t remember where that was, and then I realized I didn’t have my class schedule.

Yeah, I’m stressed about finishing this WIP. Specifically, I’m stressed because I’m unsure about the final scenes I planned.  So, I have a baby, that’s not really a baby (it’s nearly a full book), and I’m pushing to get it to the end, but I’m flooded with alternate ideas. These assaults on my original plans seem like madness trying to get in my door. And I’m suddenly in a place I didn’t plan to be, trying to get to where I’m supposed to be, but I’m late, unsure how to get there, and I’ve left my schedule (outline) behind.

How’s that for a “vacation”?

Dream, Fiction, Real Life, Writing

Hello from Grouchland

I’ve tried for days to write a blog post with a little substance. That’s something I do once in a while to keep you on your toes. But the truth is I’ve grown grouchier each of those days. I don’t know why. I can name a few things that have contributed to it, but not what started it.

Contribution #1:  As I said in my last post, work on my WIP was going well and continued for another two days. Then I realized that even after I add in the remaining pre-written scenes, flesh them out a bit, and fill-in any needed connecting scenes, I’m not going to make my 80,000 word goal. Grrrr.

Contribution #2:  What I consider the best story I’ve written has shown itself to be lacking. When I know a piece has problems, I expect feedback to confirm that. But when I think I’ve written something the best I know how, and that’s not good enough, it undermines my confidence. I start questioning all my work. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to assess my work correctly. Grumble.

Contribution #3:  I’m trapped in an alien body. For most of my adult life, people assumed I was younger than my years because of my skin. Now, it’s as though all those years caught up with me at once. So far, my face is not too bad, but that’s because I need to lose weight. I shudder to think how much more crepey my skin will appear as I deflate. Gripe.

Contribution #4:  Ominous people talk to me all night. I love to dream because I get story ideas from them. Of course, I have to remember the dream first. Lately, all I remember is that I dreamed and it wasn’t pleasant. At most, I retain a glimpse of the setting or a snatch of an event. This morning, I sat up before I was fully awake, and the words someone had just spoken stayed in my head long enough for me to grab the notepad and pen I keep by my bed. These were the words:

“The evil men do to themselves is often far greater than is done to them.”

The voice sounded remarkably like Frasier Crane’s. Ha! My subconscious, the psychiatrist. Okay, so analyzing that, I assume I’ve brought this grouchiness on myself. How? WHY? Grinding of teeth.

Oh, I know, tomorrow something fabulous could happen and I’ll zip right out of Grouchland. Maybe 30,000 words will drop out of the sky for my WIP, and a few little tweaks will make that story shine, and … well … I guess I’m stuck with this skin, but hey, it’s better than no skin.

As for bringing this grouchiness on myself—NAH—I think I’ve figured it out. I’m blaming the eclipse.