How can I portray a dream?
I've kept dream journals, awakening in dead of night to jot down words that can hardly contain the images. I've tried painting them. But the essence usually slips back to that other world.
This photo is nothing like a recent dream I had, but it does convey the surreal-ness and ethereal-ness of it. I tried to put it into haiku. It didn't fit, but here's the attempt.
peering from cavern--
sky-blue sea hits white granite,
dashing all darkness
I'm not going to bore you with the dream details, but I will say what was most wonderful was the sense of leaving behind darkness, fear, despair, in order to brave a new world, full of possibility. That's how it felt when I woke up and what picturing the expanse of blue water and snowy-white cliffs still conveys.
I hit a snag--not a wall, just a bump--in the fairy tale I'm currently writing. I knew where the next chapter was going but felt like it needed something. In other words, I wasn't enthused, and figured it lacked tension.
I just didn't know what to do.
So I picked up Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, which I'd left languishing on a bookshelf. Maybe I'd find a way over the snag. Well, you know what? This workbook really works.
The first exercise asked me to name personal heroes. Abraham Lincoln popped to mind first. I've always admired him. I also thought of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.
But what did these bigger-than-life public figures have to do with my teen protagonist in a fairy tale? As I continued the exercise, I wrote down what qualities made them heroes: courage, fortitude, conviction, compassion, eloquence.
And I knew that's exactly what I want my heroine to embody as she grows into her place in the world.
But it was another exercise that freshened my journey into the chapter that had stalled me.
The prompt was to write something your MC would never say, never do.
I don't want to reveal my plot, but I struggled with this until I realized that I already had the perfect answer. All I had to do was go back and expand an issue with another character that was in the story. Once I did that, I'd added new tension, new obstacles for my protagonist.
I'm not only writing up a storm, I'm thrilled with the layer this has added to the entire story. Thank you, Mr. Maass!
Gotta do a huge shout out.
Beth Revis' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE has hit the NY Times bestseller list at #7! Yay, Beth!