Hope Is Found in [a] Daydream
Random Writing Revelation
I know I must be the slowest writer ever. Recently, I got “stuck” for the longest time in my current WIP (work-in-progress) because I didn’t know what to make happen with the giants. Like, WHY were they even in my story? Just because fantasy is “supposed” to have giants?
If you haven’t already read my short blurb for Daydream, let me bring you up to speed. Daydream is the story of a mom, Michelle, who gave up on her dreams of being an author. Then, Sammie, her spunky nine-year-old daughter discovered her mom’s old journals and began adding to Michelle’s stories with her youthful imagination. Sammie disappears and Michelle finds herself transported to and trapped her own fantasy world—a world without hope, a world that is dying. What’s worse is Michelle discovers that Sammie is trapped there as well and is being hunted by the Shadow Witch.
Now, I only write the barest bones of an outline. I know where my story starts, where it will end, and a few major pit stops along the way. But I really just have to blindly step out and start writing to discover how to get to where I know I need to end up. Sometimes this leads to exciting and unforeseen developments along the way… and sometimes it leads to a concrete wall.
That’s where I’d been for some time: staring at this wall and trying to figure out if I should climb it, go around, or just tear it down. That wall was the giants. Michelle is traveling through her own fantasy land, and in that land she created cliché man-eating giants. She’s an author stuck in her story…literally. I can relate.
First I asked, “How does it move the plot?” Well, it really didn’t that I could see. It’s just an area that Michelle and her guide, Sir Lightlee, have to pass through on their journey. Then I asked, “How does it change the characters?” Again, I had planned for no major character development in this part of the story. Should I just scratch it altogether? If it doesn’t move the plot or the characters, then it doesn’t need to be there. Yet, that didn’t feel right either. This isn’t just my story, this is Michelle’s story, and in her story there were giants. Problem was Michelle didn’t know why she wrote them, so what was I supposed to do with them?
Trauen is gone, and my chest fills with grief and rage, I force myself to turn back to the hideous face.
“Where is he? Where’s my boy, you stupid creature!” I am trying to scramble to my feet in the tree, but my left leg is asleep.
The monster smiles, exposing pointy incisors. I hate myself for creating such insufferable, stereotypical monsters. Of course, they eat human flesh. I might as well have killed Trauen myself, and I pour out my fury at my own shortcomings as an author on this thing before me.
“You know I can just write you out of existence? I’ll create the most horrible ending to your pitiful life. You should never have been created in the first pla—eeeyee, help!”
Finally, I asked, “What is this moment supposed to teach?” That’s when it came to me. In a world where hope is failing, this was a moment of hope reviving—a hope found in the most unlikely place: human eating giants whose story is changed by a little girl. Hope is found in the daydreams of a child who has the ability to see the world as a different place. Asking the right question: “What does this moment teach?” also, helped me answer the other two I’d been struggling with: “How does it change the characters, and how does it move the plot forward?”
Sir Lightlee leans toward me. “It’s her.”
“Your daughter. I think she changed them.”
“She rewrote their story,” I say, catching on to Sir Lightlee’s meaning.
A look of discomfort passes across Sir Lightlee’s face at my mention of “story.”
“She changed our world,” Sir Lightlee says.
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