Friday, August 11, 2006

Writing while sleep

Last night, I awoke from my sleep with the perfect first line for a picture book. I didn't feel like getting up to write it down, so I tried to go back to sleep. I couldn't.

Finally, I did get up and write it down. That must have satisfied something in my sub conscience, because I quickly fell back to sleep. This morning, I found the scribbled note. After reading it, I didn't find the words so monumental after all. Great ideas must be greater when you're half sleep. Still, I used the inspiration to write a complete first draft, and did it in little under two hours.

In an earlier post, I mentioned working smarter. For this manuscript, that will mean developing text along with pictures. I plan to create a final cover illustration, and sketch out a few inside spreads. Then I'll submit a dummy book to editors, as opposed to a written manuscript only. I should have done this years ago — duh! — this isn't a new idea.

I think my story would be considered a fractured folk tale. I've presented it a zillion times to children at schools. It's become so much a part of me, I felt compelled to retell it with my own voice, and a few added twists. I know folk tales don't fall under the category of a possible big book, in terms of sales, but my goal is to tell stories that I enjoy writing, and not concern myself with what might be a big seller. That's somebody else's job.

This is my favorite stage of the writing process. At this point I have a structure on which to build. I can add arms or wings, feathers or fur. Or simply leave it as it is. I'm past the point of having writer's block. And I did it at an all-time low of under 500 words. And to think, this time yesterday, I thought I wouldn't have anything to submit to my critique group next weekend. Take notice, I did say group — we have an additional person!


Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Finally, I did get up and write it down. That must have satisfied something in my sub conscience, because I quickly fell back to sleep.

Happens to me all the time!

rindamybyers said...

You're moving like lighning, brotha!

Kim said...

Now, this is weird. I read this post last night before bed. Then, I had a dream that I had an idea that I knew was perfect for a story. I wrote it down in my dream so I wouldn't forget. It was so funny, I was cracking up in my sleep.

Now *I* really wish I knew what the joke was! Was it really funny? Or just an imaginary joke? And, what purpose did this dream have? At least you worked out a story problem as a result!

Gregory K. said...

H. Allen Smith (journalist/author) wrote about how he trained himself to wake up and write down those thoughts because he KNEW he was losing good stuff. One night it finally worked, and like you he went back to sleep. In the morning he found... "The pen is mightier than the banana."

Oh well. At least you two both went back to sleep....