In Dreams

Day Two of Camp NaNo and I’m on track with my “suspense” novella, even though I haven’t added any elements of suspense yet. I read The Last Flight by Julie Clark on Saturday, a great new suspense novel with a lot of twists and potential and, best of all, two strong women characters. A nice change from all the “The Girl” who what when where, blacked out, drank too much, tossed back prescription pill bottles, but knows she saw what she saw… That is, until the last fifty pages when you realize none of that was true, she was drugged/drunk/delirious the entire time, and actually this happened! The author presents the ending as if it a bright shiny gift you should be happy about – everything is all wrapped up and The End! But those endings anger me, make me feel ripped off, duped into investing in a story that was presented as X but really is Y. It’s gotten too common in suspense novels in the past several years, so I was so glad to see the strong characters in The Last Flight. It didn’t hurt that the story was well-done and realistic enough, too.

All that is to say I should be inspired. I should be twisting my own storylines in my mind, excitedly interrupting one train of thought with “but what if!”

Spoiler alert: I’m not. I have a few pages of notes for the story. I have a character, and I’ve spent a couple thousand words establishing who she is. No back story yet, but it’s not necessary. Just a few hints that I can flesh out later. Maybe by then a twist will come to me, and I can put something unsavory or unsettling in her past.

Mostly I’ve been having disturbingly real dreams about being in high school again. Signing up for a math class that is required to graduate, then hating math too much to ever attend. Getting lost in the hallways when I decide I should attend a session. I haven’t had high school dreams in several years, and I haven’t had a recurring dream since my son was born, and I was constantly weaving my way through mazes to protect him from anyone and everyone.

It seems like dreams should stay in the night time and the fog of early mornings, but they stick with me throughout the day. Sometimes I jolt like I’m forgetting to do something important, but it’s just a flashback to the missing math class. When I space out and let my mind wander, hoping it will give me an idea for my writing project, it drifts back to those dreams, and I find myself replaying them.

Maybe I’m focusing on the wrong thread here. Maybe my mind is telling me to write about that math class. Maybe my character should be young instead of old. What goes on in high school these days? (The obvious anser is not much, in the current situation.) What mystery could keep her from going to that math class? Is something wrong with the math teacher? What are her classmates getting into?

It’s only Day Two of Camp NaNo. I’m on track (a little ahead, even) with my current project. Seems like the perfect time to throw it away and scramble to start again.

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