This is an updated version of the origin story of my debut novel (and my writing career as well.)
Part 1: The Why
A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Some folks at work were talking about bucket lists one day and it got me thinking.
Editor’s Note: The reason for the conversation was that we were all huddled in a basement hallway for 90 minutes waiting out a tornado warning. Good times.
Now, when we were little kids, writing a Christmas list was as easy as copying down everything on the TV commercials and most of the stuff in the Sears Wishbook. Some people seem to take the same approach with their bucket list.
In my mind, though, there are two steps to a bucket list:
- List things you want to do, and
- Do them
Too many people put ambiguous things on their bucket list (TRAVEL can mean anywhere, including the supermarket) or get too ambitious (how can you KISS JAKE GYLLENHALL when you never leave Indiana?)
I wanted to add specific things to my list, and then work to accomplish them.
After some careful thought and soul-searching, I decided something I’d always wanted to do was to get published.
Editor’s Note: This blog doesn’t count. #Sorry
Part 2: The What
Over the years I’ve had some unusual dreams, and I don’t just mean the content. I often dream cinematically, with character development and foreshadowing and such. Also, some nugget of something will get stuck in my brain – a question, a premise, a character or setting – and I’ll build a whole dream around that.
So I had a dream one night based on a literary premise: In The Hobbit, Gandalf is the wise old man who rides into town and convinces a regular guy to go on an adventure that succeeds. Terry Brooks also writes stories featuring the wise old man that does the same. Even Star Wars to some extent follows this trope. So I wondered… what if the wise old man wasn’t actually very wise?
Enter my dream state, where I converted this premise into an interesting and humorous scene.
Which stuck in my brain for several months.
Part 3: The Catalyst
In chemistry, the catalyst is what makes the ingredients do what they do. So we have the dream stuck in the back of my brain, and the desire to get published. Enter the upcoming New Years Eve, where (reality alert!) we’re supposed to come up with a lie we tell ourselves about self-improvement that won’t last a week.
Well, this year I wanted to come up with a good one, one I’d actually do. And here I had this idea, and a strong desire to see it come to light.
So on December 10, 2018 I started writing. And, because it originally came from a dream I had, I decided to call it DreamWorld.
Editor’s Note: I recently discovered (i.e., I bothered to Google) that DreamWorld is the name of Australia’s largest amusement park. So I’ll probably need to change my title. 🙁
I finished my first draft on July 7, 2019.
And now the long road to getting it published lies before me…