Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Night Merde ...

The new novel is weighing on my mind, to the point of creating nightmares. Well, perhaps bad dream is more appropriate.

In the dream, I start reading a book in the midst of writing my own. I discover the book is very similar to my own. Same kind of story, only written better.

And funnier.

In the dream, I became frustrated and put down the book, fearful that I would unconsciously adapt and internalize (that's how we say plagiarize here in the U.S.) the work. But I kept picking it up and reading and getting frustrated again.

Right now in real life, I'm trying to get through Pynchon's Against the Day, which features airships. Different than the ones I'm imagining for my book, at a distance of 200+ years, but still, airships.

Not that I'm likely to unconsciously internalize big chunks of Pynchon. Will I?

Perhaps this is just a symptom of writerly anxiety, the generalized dread that what I'm planning on writing will be too similar to other works and pale in comparison. Or it will be bland and cliche. Or just plain suck.

I don't usually put much stock in dreams. Since I've yet to even write a word, I will conclude that this angst is just so much baloney.

Still, I wish I could remember some of those dream passages. I would have written them down.


Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Todd, sounds like standard fare writer anxiety. We all get that feeling. For me it hits especially hard in the middle of writing something. That feeling that I'm just not making sense, and the quality is crap, why don't I just randomly hit keys, it may be better than what I'm typing.

I pointed out on my blog some articles on first lines and titles that have been being discussed everywhere (okay, I think I just pointed to Jay Lake, be he had different links). In the follow up you'll see that people intensely disagree about what makes a good first line (what some writers pan others love and the other way around).

I've written down some of those lines I get in dreams. Don't beat yourself up about not writing them down, they usually don't make sense in the light of day. Although, your dream books maybe better than my dream books. There's always that possibility.

October 10, 2007 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had the exact same dream, only with short stories, so perhaps a bit less stressful. And I have to agree with Steve - with a very few exceptions, the story points I write from dreams make little to no sense come morning.

October 10, 2007 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Hey Steve,

I must have missed those links. I'll check them out.

October 10, 2007 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Ian, yes, stuff from dreams I find is very surreal and not very useful.

However, just before I fall asleep, that's often when something will come to mind.

Always good to have pen and paper handy, everywhere you go.

October 10, 2007 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Ian Rose said...

Agreed. Right before sleep is when I've always had my best ideas, writing and otherwise.

October 11, 2007 at 1:05 AM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Hey Ian, er, Mr. Hypnotoad.

Didn't recognize you at first.

October 11, 2007 at 6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a dream just this morning about writing, the first one I've had in a while.

I was putting something up on a writer board for critique, but instead of doing it from my computer, I had to print it out and put it in the mailbox.

I took it as a sign to submit without critique. So that's what I did. :D

October 11, 2007 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Portents of success! Thanks for the positive spin on this, Cheryl.

October 12, 2007 at 6:47 AM  

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