Writing Better – part 5

by juliusmsanz

As I still don’t know whether to continue my Creating Characters series I figured I might try to continue this one. I want to elaborate on my story thinking ways.

I have a wild imagination. Sometimes an idea comes from a dream, sometimes an idea comes from watching a single person, sometimes it comes from a sentence or even a picture. Allow me to give you some examples.

One time I dreamt about some former school friends. We were back in high school and were talking about dark experiences and doing drugs. I can’t remember that dream with much detail now, but about 7 or 8 years ago I wrote about twenty to thirty pages, just on that dream. I created a surrounding story, I added former classmates, former friends, anything that came to mind and talked about drugs and relationships. It was a piece of crap, but it was very fun writing about it.

This other time I was on the train going back to college and I clearly remember seeing this girl, alone, just standing on the train. She looked about 18 or 19 and I came up with this story about how she had to drop out of school and support herself because she had gotten pregnant, but then her boyfriend left her and she had to do an abortion. The social stigma and isolation drove her away from her peers and now, completely alone and struggling to make ends meet, she looks at other girls with a sad expression on her face. Her life was ruined, her perfect future now completely out of reach. It made me sad. Of course that could be true, and it could also be false, but I’ll never forget that girl, I must have seen her at least half a dozen times. It made my train rides go faster.

It can even be a story about a ghost town. I particularly enjoy pictures of overgrown buildings or abandoned trains for instance. I don’t want to know what happened exactly, I want my mind to wander while looking at those pictures. I want to create from there, not from the past, but from the present. Maybe some guy still lives there; maybe he has built something or found something interesting. Maybe there are some incriminating records or a hidden treasure in the ruins.

Based on my dream journal, yes I have one of those, I could create a bunch of pretty interesting stories, I’m particularly fond of a couple of dreams that need another dream to glue them together. It’s based on a mysterious university and its unconventional ways.

To dream, to imagine, to absorb up the images, that is what gets me going.

What gets you going?