Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 4 - Dream Stories

I think I figured out why I didn't write yesterday.  Nothing to do with anything I mentioned in yesterday's post.

My unconscious mind was hatching a dream story.

In some ways, I hate it when it does this, because dream stories are so irrational.  And often very non-verbal. (The dialog is like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons -- "Wah wah-wah wah-wah-wah.") And they mix everything -- moods, locations, eras.  It might be a darkly serious high comedy, about a Victorian orphan and her iPhone who journey across the tundra with a band of cavemen, as they are chased by Ferrari-driving Vikings.

Okay, that's probably exaggerating a little, but not much.

And yes, the stories very often first show up as actual dreams, but sometimes they just start playing in my head during the day.  And they usually have themes and undercurrents that really resonate with me, so I want to make the story make sense so I can tell it.  And the only way to deal with it is to write it down -- but not in narrative form, because the dialog is all "wah wah-wah wah" -- but as a kind of descriptive synopsis.

And what comes out of it is usually not usable as a story (there is no explanation for the Victorian orphan having an iPhone, and tacking on an explanation doesn't fit the story), but it makes for a great starter and spare parts provider for other stories. 

I have actually written a few of these dream stories.  The Wife of Freedom is one of them.  It takes place in a world like the American Revolution, but really seriously not.  Other than the location, though, the story made sense, so I wrote it as a "pseudo-historical."  And I stuck it in a drawer because there was no market for it.  There was no way to actually describe it so people knew what it was. (After I self-published it, I had a reviewer write to me and ask how to describe it because she couldn't.  We both gave up.)

Anyway, self-publishing, imho, is made for that sort of story.  That was the first thing I published three and a half years ago.

And the web is also made for it. That's how The Case of the Misplaced Hero came about: as a blog serial which attempts to explain the weirdness of one of my more persistent universes.  Although even there, I narrowed it down quite a lot (1912-1927ish): that universe actually takes place simultaneously during the American Civil War, the French AND Russian Revolutions, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and in Outer Space.  (There are M*A*S*H and Star Wars mash-ups that take place in it.)

That universe, btw is at fault for the story that burst out of my head today.  I have been editing and reformatting a second edition of The Misplaced Hero (if you're thinking of buying it, wait a week or so) -- which seems to have urged my brain to bring out some other Rozinshura story.  Something outside of the timeline of The Misplaced Hero or any other Perils of Plink story.

It feels like one of the children's World War II stories -- the ones that take place just before or just after the war, and involve brave children who hide downed pilots and uncover Nazi spies while keeping grave secrets and saving the world.

The tone is wrong to fit with the serials -- slower, more serious, more moody -- but it might either spawn a future story for Plink and friends, or it might be back story for Rozinshura.

However it ends up, I had to get it out of my head today. Maybe 3000 words of mad synopsis typing, and that looks like only the middle of the story.  One part of me is tempted to start a synopses serial of these stories which fly from one place to another.  It would be like recounting dreams. The problem would be that 1.) the stories peter out as suddenly as they come, sometimes, and 2.) if I use any material in a real story, they might be a kind of spoiler.

See you in the funny papers.

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