Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I’m still at work on the stories for Four in Darkness. Unfortunately, I’m a bit stuck at the moment.

I started to get bogged down in the middle of one, so I decided to skip to the ending, which I could see much clearer. (I’ll play connect the dots later.) I’ve already gone through several versions of the ending and finally settled on the one I wanted. Basically, there were multiple explanations and I picked the one that was the most intriguing.

Now that I’m writing it though, there are tiny details that I realize might not be plausible. It’s supernatural in nature, but real life has to line up with the storyline. The real problem is that the ending was part of a dream, and we all know how messed up dreams can be. Forcing what our mind’s eye dreamed into reality isn’t always easy. Like now. I might need a little help with this one.

All of my stories have come from dreams, but this is the first time one has really stumped me!

Does anyone else dream their stories? Do you know of a simple way I could iron out the details?

55 comments:

Elsie Amata said...

Wow! Being able to write the ending before the middle is simply amazing to me. Go you and best of luck!

Elsie

(my site is having issues with Blogger. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon)

randi lee said...

Hi Diane!

First, I wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog and offering support for my return to the Blog-o-Sphere. It's quite nice to be back. Next, I'm sorry to hear that you're stuck! Having just been stuck for a good nine months myself, I know how frustrating that can be.

Whenever I dream a story, I put all of the details individually on flash cards, and then start putting them in order chronologically. The holes tend to fill themselves in as I go, and as I review the cards. A lot of effort, I know, but it does tend to work out for me in the end! Best of luck to you :)

Jo said...

I am always saying it, but I am so glad I never really tried to be a writer. When I hear all the problems you experience, I shudder. I hope you manage to sort out the middle without too much heart ache.

Karen Walker said...

Sorry, Diane, can't help with this one. I never remember my dreams.

Crystal Collier said...

I'm totally a dream writer too! What I find is that every dream needs adapting and typically the key elements shift as its being transcribed to the electronic page. Eventually they all click into place, but the most powerful stories are the ones that both the subconscious and conscious mind mold together. Best of luck! Have you ever played the game of 7 to get past a stoppage? Pick seven potential twists--as out there as you can--and one of them is bound to get you moving forward again. Best of luck!

E.E. Giorgi said...

Getting stuck in the middle is very common, and I've often skipped to the end and it recharged the muse, so to speak. Just write it til the end, fill the dost and then iron out the details when you go back and edit. First drafts are always rough but they are there to make you finish the book. Once it's done, the rest will be downhill. ;-) Good luck !

Bish Denham said...

I bet you'll figure it out! I for one have never been able to write things out of order. I'm a very linear/timeline or oriented person.

Emma Adams said...

That's a tricky one! I've never based a story on a dream because my dreams make too little sense. Hope you manage to think of a solution!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

For me, coffee and a chat with a good friend about the dream has helped.

cleemckenzie said...

Love those dreams that bring up story lines and characters. I just jot down the key memories: colors and sounds and sometimes how someone moves. Sometimes those will get me going. Good luck.

Chrys Fey said...

Skipping a scene that's causing trouble is a good idea. As long as you're writing, it doesn't matter if you're writing out of order. :)

And yes, most of my story ideas come from dreams. I always work it into a workable story line before I begin writing it, though.

Good luck!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I agree with Chrys Fey. Skipping that section and moving on to something else is a good strategy. You will get more ideas and come back to that difficult area.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Elsie, I hope your site is fixed soon. I tried to go there, but it said no such blog.

Randi Lee, I'll try that.

Crystal, I'll try that, too. So nice to hear I'm not the only one who dreams stories.

Bish, writing a non-fiction book helped me learn to write out of order.

Holly, I've been toying with running the story past my husband. He helped with the others.

Yolanda Renee said...

Lots of my writing is based on dreams, but you're right it all has to line up. My cure for stuck spots is to walk away, concentrate on the problem for a few minutes before sleep and then the answer comes, usually in the shower! LOL
Give it over to the universe and the answer will come, don't push...

Sarah Foster said...

I've never gotten a whole story idea from a dream, but a certain part of my WIP came from a dream that made absolutely no sense until I actually started thinking about it. Then it seemed perfect. I wouldn't say trust your dreams completely, because they can be crazy, but maybe think about how you can adapt them to make sense.

February IWSG Co-host

Al Diaz said...

I think I've never tried to write the end first and then join the dots. Must be a bit too much fun. Writing from dreams...hmm, that's also new to me.

Tamara Narayan said...

I've dreamed several things that have ended up in stories. Hard to give advice without knowing the details, but try to keep an open mind. Let yourself stray from the dream if it fits the story better. Maybe check out Freud. Maybe the dream means something different or surprising than what you think. Or make up your own Freudian-type intrepretation. It could provide fodder for a surprising twist.

M Pax said...

I got stuck recently too. I took a crowbar and inched it forward. Have faith the inspiration will come. It will. Maybe work on something else? Sometimes that shakes things loose. Or call some friends together for a brainstorming session. I talk things out with friends & husband unit. Sometimes a stray comment is the spark I needed.

dolorah said...

I dreamed I wrote a fantastic story one time. It was awesome. I woke up remembering the feeling of finishing the novel, how pleased I was with the characters and plot and world building. But, I did not remember a single word of the story.

Arlee Bird said...

I've dreamed many a story. I think dreams are such a great inspiration that I even have a blog about them.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have never dreamed a story. I mostly pound my head on the desk and hope the words fall out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some great suggestions above. You'll figure it out!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I either dream my stories, or think them up during reality, then dream about the characters. It's a bit bizarre. I am having great difficulty with my current WIP. I've been working on the ending for 4 months. I worked on the middle for 7 months before that. I finally put it aside and am editing an old ms. Great suggestions, Diane. You inspired me to keep drudging.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yolanda, I will expect an answer in the shower tomorrow.

Tamara, I never thought of it that way. Thanks.

Mary, I intend to do that.

Donna, that's a real bummer.

Joylene, I've dreamed about my characters before. Especially Matt and Jason. Which was really nice.

Clarissa Draper said...

I often dream my stories or I will get an idea when I'm asleep. Sadly, many good ideas are lost when I awaken.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hope you can work through this, Diane. I know how time-consuming it can be to work out the small details.

Carol Kilgore said...

I often dream parts of my stories. Only once have I dreamed a full story. That one was a short story of about 3500 words. When I'm stuck, I just leave it to my subconscious for a while. If I still don't have it, I think hard on it for 2-3 days and then leave it alone. This is when an answer usually comes. If not, I brainstorm with someone who doesn't think like I do. I always have an answer after that.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I've never dreamt a story, but how cool! Good luck with it! I'm sure you'll sort it out.

Donna McDine said...

Try journaling a dialogue with the character or scene that you are stuck in. It may just break you through!

Dean K Miller said...

I've had some ideas or sparks of ideas for stories from dreams, more often I get a line for a poem. Stories, I get them from fly fishing trips. Maybe ask your character about the scene. See what he/she/they have to say. Or ask how they'd like to change the ending of the scene.

Hart Johnson said...

I often dream parts of stories, but you're right--you need to go back and edit in enough it makes logical sense with the story or else alter it a bit because the written thing needs to make sense. (I sometimes skip ahead too, though--the middle can be easier when you know what it is leading to)

Yvette Carol said...

I dream all my stories! However, while I have written many dream sequences into my wip, I've now taken most of them out. My cp's say that readers don't have time for them. Hard I know! Good luck!!

Nicki Elson said...

I'm impressed that you can remember the dream well enough to write a story about it! Not sure I have a helpful suggestion though. Just give yourself some quiet, peaceful time & I'll bet something will come to you.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Dreams? Nope. I never retain them when I wake up enough to write about them. I wish I could help you more. Just remember, if its supernatural, you're allowed to make up some of the stuff. :)
Heather

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

That is so frustrating. Wish I had some magic words to help.
I seldom have dreams, instead I hear voices. Yeah, I do. They usually say just a few words, but sometimes it's the beginning of a story. Unfortunately, they don't tell me the end.

Jenni Enzor said...

I have never written a story from a dream, but I see how it could be problematic. When I'm stuck, it really helps me to journal and ask myself questions about the character or just what might logically happen next. I usually try to get a few ideas down and choose the best one. (My first idea is never the best.)
Good luck!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Just keep plugging away, Diane. You'll find yourself ironing out the details as you go write (spelled that way purposely) through it. You'll be fine.

Lynda R Young said...

Wish I did know of a simple way for that much needed ironing, but no such luck. Time often helps, and working and reworking. Not simple solutions, but effective.

Jemi Fraser said...

My dreams are far too creepy to write about - definitely don't want to live in those worlds!! Good luck figuring it out - I know you'll do it! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I've definitely dreamed out some of my stories. In Champion in the Darkness, Clara has a dream that was basically one that I had (but changed), and I made that dream into a "prophecy/vision" about the upcoming battle - that way if the details weren't exactly the same, it was okay. Dreams are usually full of symbolism and hazy on the "hows" and so I thought it worked better not to explain the "how" in the dream. I don't know if it will work in your writing that way, but that's just the way I handled it.
In another story about a couple of shape-shifters, I'm still not sure how/why a tree full of giant butterflies comes and goes at the command of a shape-shifter who also happens to be a scientist. (Is there science for such a thing? I keep thinking maybe if the shape-shifter could control her own pheromones, it might work). I still haven't finished that story because of that, and because I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Best wishes with your story and ironing out the details.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I envy those of you who remember you dreams. I only remember if they wake me up and then I actually get up and write them down. And that's only happened a couple of times--well, maybe three. And then they are only lines in poems.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Carol, I think I will brainstorm with someone.

Hart, I've often skipped ahead and that made the middle section easier.

Tyrean, when you finish that one, it will be one wild story.

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

LD Masterson said...

I'm always jealous when writers talk of dreaming their stories. I wake up some mornings with the feeling that I dreamed a story, if only I could hang onto it. But I never can.

Georgina Morales said...

I totally get your problem. Making the supernatural and this idea you have in your mind which is so awesome to play nicely along reality is such a hard time sometimes. I wish I could give a nice solution, but in my case the answer to these kind of troubles has come after months of obsessing. Eventually it just comes to me, like a 'plink' in my head, so easy, as if it had been there all the time...

Hope your 'plink' comes soon!

Loni Townsend said...

I don't dream my stories, though I could imagine they'd be pretty crazy if I did.

I hope you figured out your dreamed up ending, and that it winds up a little less messed up. :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I don't know of any easy ways to do anything involved with writing. :D

Diane Burton said...

Did you know there are 3 easy steps to writing a best-selling novel? Unfortunately, nobody else does either. (I know, that was awful.) While I don't exactly dream my stories, I do think about them as I fall asleep and my Muse tells me all these wonderful things, which I should write down but don't.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm seeing great advice in these comments. I once wrote a story based on a dream, but it was a disaster. That was many years ago. I'd do better today. If I'm inspired by a dream, I would weave it into the plot and use the strongest aspects of it.

Lynn said...

I tend to also start with the ending first! I know it is when I stop trying to figure it out that it suddenly comes together. Hard to shut off that story in the head though!

Ella said...

I am intrigued~ What about reading a book about dreams. The symbolism might inspire you or a Dream Dictionary?! Can't wait to hear, more~

Michelle Wallace said...

My stories never come from dreams.
I don't dream often.
Is something wrong with me?

Nick Wilford said...

Not sure, sorry. I don't often remember my dreams and have only had a couple of ideas from them, but when it happens it's just one strong image and the rest is forgotten. As with any plot problem, maybe you should not think about it and hopefully the answer will come while engaged in some mundane task.

Tammy Theriault said...

almost sounds like you need some meditating time...

Sarah E. Albom said...

My dreams are all far too weird and crazy to be plausible for a story, but when I find it difficult to go to sleep I make up stories in my head to help. That's usually where my ideas come from, so in a way they DO come from sleeping... :)

Margo Kelly said...

Yup. I'm inspired by dreams, and then I dream about inspirations. ;)