I'm a writer, not a speller. Theory is right, right?
It's extremely tempting not to blog a post (can those verbs and nouns be flipped and say the same thing?) about the new story idea I developed today from (yet again...) a dream I had last night. I was pumped today. As I said on facebook, You know when you're pacing Barnes and Noble with the headphones
blaring, smiling and pumping your fist, almost running in to three people, that
the new book idea is pretty badass. Once again given to me in my sleep last
night. What the heck have I been eating before going to bed?
Don't make me answer that.
But a dream is not enough. Dad always tells me he has epic, sprawling dreams that he thinks would make a fantastic story and then, like most of us, he forgets them before lunch. So those predestined, split-seconds of color colliding in your sleep is not enough. It must be fostered, and there is, in my opinion, a helpful theory necessary to seizing that incredible opportunity. Not just in dreams, but in any story development. I'll copy an email I wrote to a friend here. Maybe it'll be a little help, maybe it will appall, maybe it will (most inappropriately) coax laughter. Either way is sort of a win, is it not?
Advice. I can give it to you in two departments. One is the theory, which
you'd need to develop story ideas. The other is the way to execute those
theories. The latter would help you strengthen overall writing in any field --
essay, email, poetry etc.. But I think the first is where you need to start if
you're looking to meet the challenge of story writing.
For me, I think I'm blessed. I think God gives me the dreams that
inspire my stories like a parent would give a kid a beloved toy, knowing I will cherish it and it will bring me joy, but perhaps hoping I'll do and create something meaningful from it as well. You need to do four things to cultivate your mind into accepting story development.
1) Know what you love
2) Listen to what you see (like the play on words there?)
3) Make the ordinary extraordinary (I'm really good at making number lists)
4) Screw the rest, and do it
The first is simple. Know your passions. For me, I have a sincere love for
our world (we like to make fun of how creepy I am). I wish to captivate
and glorify our extraordinary race, our extraordinary love and struggle as
people. This is also why I love sci-fi and fantasy so much, but that's for
another day. So my books, I hope, have themes empowering that belief. What is
your passion? Will it be spiritual? Political? Personal struggles? Life lessons
you learned the hard way? Know who you are and let it be manifested in your
Second, listen to what you see. When ANYTHING pops into your head, seize it.
Pin it to the ground like a thrashing fish. Soon, it will reveal itself in
glimpes, color, and eventually, scene. Listen to the scenes that you conjure in
your head. These will be key points for your story. They are your characters
trying to speak to you. Listen. Ponder. Think and expand on it. Use music,
people watching, memories, and imagination.
Third is important merely in catching the pivotal intrigue of your story.
Take something usual and make it unusual. For instance, Hunger Games made
game/reality shows - something very usual - extremely unusual. I made fire -
something natural and every day - something unnatural, with the power to destroy an empire (Fantasy Book, anyone?). So start focusing on
spinning. Spin something into a plot.
Lastly is simple as well. Once you've snatched up enough scenes to weave,
once you have the basic premise of the plot - your basic spin - forget the
rest. You must start writing, or else you never will. And hopefully, you'll see
how much you love it.
Love to all. And prayers for Colorado. All we can say is that we don't know. Don't know how there is room for such evil in our world. But I think that's the only good meaning of it -- tha fact that we CAN'T comprehend it. So to all those affected, we love you and are praying for you. Hopefully those victims woke up and saw a better world in front of them than the one left behind. We'll still be here. Waiting. Hoping. And not knowing. God bless.