Saturday, 30 April 2011


This weekend I thought I had discovered the answer to my prayers, a perfect method to develop my novel's plot and characters and it could all be done without losing out on sleep. Reading the current issue of Mslexia I came across Clare Jay's article on Dreamwriting where 'Clare Jay explores a new route to inspiration'.

I have always had vivid dreams that I can remember clearly so the idea of dreamwriting sounded ideal. What Clare describes is using lucid dreaming, whereby the dreamer is aware they are within a dream, in order to explore how a scene might plan out for example, somewhat like a movie director. At was at this point in the article I began to have a little less enthusiasm for the idea. It seemed like an awful lot of thinking to be done at I time I am supposed to be resting.

Clare later goes on to explain how elements of dreams have prompted ideas and it turns out she is not just one of these airy fairy types but she actually has a PhD on the subject! Again, my interest was peaked. Being creative whilst dreaming might not be that restful but it could be a whole area of my life I am failing to tap into and use even if it is only at infrequent intervals.

On the basis of this new tool of creativity I have since made efforts to explore some lucid dreaming but it has not worked. I go to bed thinking that I need to become aware I am dreaming but nothing. I had assumed, dreaming as much as I do normally, this would have come naturally to me, however, up until now my new plan to write while sleeping (it did sound too good to be true) has yet to succeed.

If anyone has had success with lucid dreaming or any tips of how to do this and use it creatively please let me know.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Where to Begin?

For some time now I have had the germ of an idea niggling away at the back of my mind, waiting to begin building towards a novel. It is something I do feel passionate about, which should help, but how does the inexperienced novelist develop that niggling germ into a full-blown manuscript.

It is not just a question of 'to plot or not to plot', but where is the initial focus of development, character or plot? It is like the chicken and the egg question. Character and plot both develop one another.

It is a question I recently asked on Talkback, the popular forum on the Writers' News website, and the most common response I had from the forum was 'it depends'. That does not sound particularly helpful but the more I have looked into it the more that does seems to be the case. Will the story be plot or character driven? In many cases this is also dependent on the genre.

You may accuse me of sitting on the fence but personally I think it is beneficial to work with them both together to some capacity, focusing on either the plot or the character too much and neglecting the other may mean that you have either a weak plot of unbelievable characters. Beginning at the first hurdle you need some sort of spark of an idea to begin with, there needs to be some focus to work around that can hold it together and from there the plot and character can be built upon.

My plan for the time being is to carry out some research in the area that the novel is focused upon, this will not only fill in some gaps of factual knowledge, but should also assist in where I decide to take my characters and plot. Maybe that is the best place to start after all, before digging into plot and character, carrying out some basic research is possibly the best way to give everything a kick start. It is the method I will be trying for the time being so I will report back on how this develops.