Dreaming Process of Writing

Writers sometimes become afflicted with that horrible disease known as, “writer’s block”.

Here are my tips for stimulating the imagination.

I call it, “The Dreaming”.

Here are some exercises:

1. Dreams

Dreams are a magnificent source of inspiration.  Some of your greatest ideas come during sleep.  It is vital to keep a journal and pen under your pillow.  Every morning, as soon as you awake- record your dreams.  Even if you can only recall one or two words/items from it- write it down!  After awhile, your dreams will become more and more vivid.  You will notice common themes to use in your work.  You may even dream an entire story!

2. The Twilight Zone (the state between sleep and wakefullness)

lie down, shut your eyes, breathe, and relax.

Simply lie there- allowing different colors, forms, and scenes to form in your mind’s eye. 

The longer you can stay in this state- the more your creative juices will start flowing.  That is because you are in your subconscious.  The left-brained logical side of the mind has gone to bed. 

Note: don’t try to push any images.  Just relax and enjoy lying in bed after a hectic day at work or school.

– go to bed before you are too tired.  You don’t want to fall asleep right away.

– don’t worry if no images come.  Just being in this state will increase your creativity during the day

3.  Automatic Writing

sit or lie down.  Use a computer or pen&paper.  Take several deep breaths.  Relax.  Meditate and/or call upon your Muse if you desire. 

Once relaxed- just sit there until words start coming.  Don’t analyze them.  Don’t wonder if it is your subconscious or if you’ve linked to a higher being.  It really doesn’t matter.  (not for the exercise, anyway).  Like with dreams- you will notice patterns if you do this frequently enough.  In between the surreal passages- you may find the genesis of a story.

 

The subconscious is a muscle like any other.  The more it is used- the stronger it will become.

Recommended Book:

Dreamgates by Robert Moss

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Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Agatha Christie-Books

In my previous post- I listed a few of my favorite novels.  I decided to give the Queen of Mystery her own space.  After all this time, no one has surpassed her intricate plots or  stunning conclusions.  No matter how surprising the ending may be- she never cheats.  One can always look back and say,  “Oh, yes!  How did I miss that?”

And even after you’ve gotten good at figuring out, “whodunnit”- they’re always fun to read.

Ms. Christie wrote over 80 novels.

Here are a few of my favorite ones:

1. And Then There Were None- 10 strangers all accused of murder are killed one by one on a remote island

2.  The Hollow

3. A Holiday for Murder

4.  After the Funeral

5. Cards on the Table

6. Murder at Hazelmoor

7. Crooked House

8. Towards Zero

9. Ordeal by Innocence

10. Five Little Pigs

11. Easy to Kill- the killer is quite easy to spot, but this is one of her creepiest reads

12. Hickory Dickory Dock- a sentimental favorite since it was the first I read

13. Seven Dials Mystery- change-of-pace comedic mystery

14. A Murder is Announced

15. Death on the Nile

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 11:03 am  Comments (2)  
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My favorite BOOKS

I am an eclectic reader who enjoys books in several different genres.  They’re are so many wonderful books to be discovered- I will never understand why so many people limit themselves! 

Here are some of my faves.  (couldn’t possibly name them all!) Perhaps one will also be your cuppa tea.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

3 Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint (urban fantasy)

4. Memory and Dreams by Charles de Lint (urban fantasy)

5. Widdershins by Charles de Lint (urban fantasy)

6.  Little Big by John Crowley (fantastical, surreal novel about a family connected with fairies)

7. Watership Down by Richard Adams- classic novel about rabbits searching for a new home.  Beloved by children and adults

8.  Fingersmith by Sarah Waters- set in 19th century England.  orphaned girls, mistaken identities, prisons, and lunatic asylums, love and betrayal.

9. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- eerie, ambiguous haunted house tale

10. We’ve Always Lived in the Castle- by Shirley Jackson- Merricat is interested in witchcraft.  Her older sister recently returned from prison after poisoning several members of their family.  Or did she?  A gothic novel filled with macabre humor

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 10:36 am  Comments (2)  
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Wuthering Heights-song by Kate Bush

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is my favorite novel.   Emily’s novel and her fierce poetry have been a huge influence on me.  Although my own writing style is more down-to-earth (despite the dark subjects I tackle), Emily’s dramatic and fearless writing remains an inspiration.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Quotes on Writing

1. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. – C.S. Lewis

2. Be generous, be delicate, and always pursue the prize. Henry James

 3.Make him [the reader] think the evil, make him think it for himself, and you are released from weak specifications. -Henry James

4.The story…must be a conflict, and specifically, a conflict between the forces of good and evil within a single person.
 -Maxwell Anderson
5. If you look at anything long enough, say just that wall in front of you — it will come out of that wall. -Anton Chekhov

6. Brevity is the sister of talent- Anton Chekhov

7. Easy reading is damn hard writing- Nathanial Hawthorne

8. Before I write down one word, I have to have the character in my mind through and through. I must penetrate into the last wrinkle of his soul. – Henrik Ibsen

9. Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words. – Mark Twain

10. Don’t say the old lady screamed — bring her on and let her scream. – Mark Twain

11. It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.- Virginia Woolf

12. Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.- Virginia Woolf

13. I delight in what I fear- Shirley Jackson

14.You start at the end, and then go back and write and go that way. Not everyone does, but I do. Some people just sit down at the page and start off. I start from what happened, including the why. – Anne Perry

15. I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don’t care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity. -Emile Zola

16. One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines. -Emile Zola

17. Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough. -Gustave Flaubert

18. Everything which one invents is true, be sure of it. – Gustave Flaubert

19. The author in his book must be like God in his universe, everywhere present and nowhere visible. -Flaubert

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rasputina- The New Zero: featuring Karloff and Lugosi

Rasputina is one of my fave bands.  Victorian garbed- rock cellists with irreverent humor

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why I Chose to Write A Ghost Tale

In Wuthering Heights,  Emily Bronte stated:  “I have a conviction that ghosts can and do exist amongst us.”

I’ve always held the same sentiment.  In my own family, there have been many incidents.  The night my grandpa died, my father dreamt he was at a party.  My grandpa came to him and said he was very happy and at peace.  He didn’t want his son to mourn.  The next day, family gathered together to remember my grandfather.  My dad was telling some people about his dream, when my grandfather’s sister interrupted.  “Wait.  Was he wearing a…..?”  My father said, “Yes.”  “Was he drinking a…..”  “Yes.”  “And did he also say….”  “Yes.”   This went on and on.  It turned out they’d had exactly the same dream to the most minute details.

When my own nana passed, I asked to have her old music box.  She’d had it forever and I always associated it with her.  Since having it in my home, there have been several incidences when it has started playing on its own.  These were at times when I was feeling depressed or worried.

Only a month or so ago, my other grandmother came to me in a dream.  She told me to tell my mom to be careful and she loved her.  I called home to find out my mother was in the hospital.  She’d fallen shortly after my dream.  (mom’s okay, btw)

People all around the world have similar tales.  Sightings, hearings, prophetic warnings from dreams…

  To me- the idea of ghosts existing amongst us is quite natural.  Some benevolent, some gray, some malevolent. 

The veil between the spirit world and the world of the living is delicate.

I’ve always loved reading ghost stories.  From Lefanu to M.R. James to Blackwood.  To my dismay, however, there are very few ghost novels.   Of course, there is, “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. (though technically a novella)   I’ve heard Susan Hill’s, “The Woman in Black” is great.   Unfortunately, I haven’t read it yet.   Shirley Jackson’s, “The Haunting of Hill House” is one of my favorite novels- but I’m not sure if it can be described  as a ghost tale.

  So I decided to write my own old-fashioned, full-length ghost tale.  The process is frustrating, wonderful, painful, fun, exasperating, and exhilarating. 

And I love every painful moment.

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Victorian History Library

To write my novel which is set in 19th century New England, I immersed myself into that world of red damask curtains, lace, and crinoline.  I’d always been fascinated with the Victorian era and the more I read about how life was really like back then- the more I fell in love with it. (warts and all)  How different  people were from  the moralistic novels written back then.  I won’t dwell much on the subject now.  That’s for a future post.   I’ll just give you an example:  a large number of babies were born prematurely.  (read between the lines, folks) 
For those interested in Victorian History, here are some book recommendations:
1. Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders.
covers everything from interior design, occupations, eating habits, fancywork, hygiene, fashion, funerals, servants, dating rituals, and marriage. 
2. Victorian London by Liza Picard
Topics include: smells, streets, education, amusement, religion, crimes and punishment, and much more…
Here is a quote from Chapter 1. Smells:  “Imagine the worst smell you have ever met.  Now imagine what it was like to have that in your nostrils all day and all night, all over London.  But it was worse than that.”
 Another quote: “The Thames stank.  The main ingredient was human waste.”
Ah, it gets even better!  “Sometimes chamber pots were upended out of windows on to the luckless passers-by, or on to the streets, their contents adding to the rich mix of dead dogs, horse and cattle manure, rotting vegetables.”  (So next time someone rear ends your car- remember things could always be worse!)
3.Victorian and Edwardian Fashion A Photographic Survey by Alison Gernsheim
Detailed descriptions of the changing fashions for men and women throughout the era.  Beards were a much bigger issue than I’d ever have thought.  Fabulous photos of everyday people.
4.Inventing the Victorians by Matthew Sweet
read about real-life daredevils Blondin, Madame Genieve, and Selina Young.
picture shows and freak shows
chamber of horrors and drug use
(you’ll never look at the 19th century the same way again)
5. The Worm in the Bud by Ronald Pearsall
premarital sex, birth control, pornography, homosexuality, bondage and discipline.  (much of it enjoyed by the middle and upper classes)
6. The Darkened Room by Alex Owen
interesting study on Spiritualism in the late 19th century
7. Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-century Woman by Caroline Healey Dall
I’d been having horrible luck finding books on 19th century America.  Oh, there were plenty of books on the Civil War, of course…but I needed books about how average people lived from day to day.  Then, I stumbled upon this gem.  Written from 1840 to 1865, it covers everything from her views on feminism, religion, abolition, and marriage.  It also chronicles her meetings with famous members of the Transcendentalist Circle including: Elizabeth Peabody, Margaret Fuller, Emerson, and Theodore Parker.
Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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