Thursday, December 28, 2006

Muse - full speed ahead

During a fitfull sleep the other night, I kept dreaming the story of a girl named Lacy. I kept waking up, even to the point of reading for a while, but every time I fell asleep, I returned to Lacy's story. I suppose it's a love story because she tells me about her relationship with Ned Stevens - how she met him, how she feels about him, etc.

What was interesting to me, was the story was told as a story, to the point of the actual opening sentence and so forth. Every detail was rich to the specks of dust, smells, sounds, feelings. When morning rolled around I had no choice but to get up and get the story out of my brain and on paper (virtual paper, that is). I wrote it as it came to me, with the understanding that it would need editing later to remove some of the surreal dream aspects.

I discussed it with Melly and told her how good it felt to have the need to write back. The book I've been working on was created consciously, with the goal of a certain Harlequin line in mind. Once I get going on it, it flows, but the process is just that... a process.

Writing the story that came to me unconsciously is effortless. I'm curious what experience you've had with this. Do your stories come naturally or are they forced? Do you think one method is better than another? Do we need to work with both in order to be productive?


Tess said...

It's funny, but for me, my method tends to be a combination of the two - half forced, half effortless. When I plot it sometimes feels forced, but when I'm writing scenes I've planned, it often ends up effortless with the characters picking up the story and running with it.

Does that make sense?

Glad you have the need to write again :-)

Rene said...

Sigh....loaded question.

I'm not sure how it works for me. To be honest, the book that landed an agent was one I did for fun and didn't really have any heart in. I like it, but I don't consider it my strongest work. It flowed pretty well without effort, I will say that. However, sometimes waiting for a story to just flow from us doesn't work. Sometimes forcing a story will give us a spark to write. It may not be the story we thought it would be, but at least we are writing.

I'm so happy you feel the urge to write again. I always worry about you.

Sayre said...

Perhaps you should consider this effortless dream-story a gift. While they are wonderful - you can't count on having dream-stories fall in your lap on a regular basis! Work for your pay check, but enjoy that bonus when it shows up!

IM Cupnjava said...

Nearly all of my stories start as a subconscious thing that will not leave me alone. Too many nights, I've stared at the ceiling being too tried to write and dealing with too much head noise to sleep.

The only problem I have with subconscious story ideas is that sometimes there are logic failures or leaps and those have to be consciously filled in, corrected or otherwise explained.

chiefbiscuit said...

I've never had that experience ... I wish I did! Sounds fascinating - and saves on having to come up with ideas yourself - altho' I guess it is still yourself coming up with the ideas ... just in a different medium. Whatever - use it and all power to you!

redchurch said...

I think it's less a case of natural vs. forced, and more about planned vs. unplanned. I've worked both ways, but I've never been happy with my unplanned stories. I hate them. I want to burn them. I consider them whimsical garbage! Strong language, I know, but I can't express how much I dislike the incoherence of a wandering muse. I only feel comfortable with my stories when I know what's going to happen, when all the elements are planned. That's the only way I feel I have control over the narrative. If I leave it up to randomness or unconscious whims then it's almost like I'm not really authoring anything. Or it could just as easily be anyone else.

I only get satisfaction out of writing when I bring a conscious effort and set of decisions to the craft.

But then the 'sh*t happens' method of storytelling works for many famous writers, so who am I to say?

Bailey Stewart said...

Both - I have stories running around in my head all the time, characters talking so much that they often get in the way of each other. But sometimes when I go to write them down they can often feel forced. I wish there was some way they could just hook a machine up to my head and have everything just transferred to paper.

Buffy said...

I have periods of nothing but productivity. Where ten thousand words will just roll onto the paper/screen.

Then I'll go months without anything. Stagnant.

It's a vicious cycle.

Anonymous said...

So far my stories have come to me on their own. The work park comes in when I write them down and fill in all the details. :) I've got so many story ideas lined up and waiting for me to finish the other ones! Coming up with ideas isn't a problem for me, it's finding the time to work on them consistently. I love how you dreamed your story. That is so cool!