As I lay in bed last night, listening to my husband’s gentle snore, my mind kept swirling around a recent blog I’d read dealing with fairy tales and today’s market. Fascinating thing. Of course, the fact that I wrote my master’s paper researching fairy and folk tales had nothing to do with it. The swirling had to do with a new story idea trying to come out of the fog and into clear thoughts.
I didn’t turn on lights. I felt that by doing that, I might dispel the images and snatches of story I could almost visualize. I slipped out of bed and felt around for my itty-bitty flashlight, found a ton of blank index cards, and started writing bits of characters, plots, scenes, theme. About an hour later I went back to bed.
This morning, from a distance, I recalled my night raid to the blank index cards, but honestly couldn’t remember the fabulous story idea which came to me in my sleep fog. After one look at the word “unicorn” on the top card, and — blink — it was dark around me once more, and I was in my story again.
BTW, John Lennon wrote many of his songs at that dream-state of waking.
Moral of this story? At sleep’s beginning and sleep’s end, be prepared to net those fleeting story ideas.
Accepted: Stories which only a few years ago would be published, are getting rejected today? Why? The economy and ever-changing writer’s market (i.e., depending on what will sell by public demand).
Accepted: Publishing houses are businesses, not non-profit organizations. An editor at a recent writers conference said this is one of the reasons celebrity-authored books are contracted. They are sure money-makers. They draw in business, and make it possible to fund fledging, not-so-famous writers.
Accepted: Public demand is a hungry beast.
After a time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wanted to move on from his famous character — a character based on one of his professors. The public demand for his detective stories at the time was so great, that Doyle thought to rid himself of Holmes by killing him off, and proclaiming that anyone could use the character and do with him whatever they wanted. But the beast demanded more, so Doyle resurrected Sherlock and wrote several more stories with his best-selling character.
Acknowledged: I am a writer. I read. I write. I have studied the craft. I continue to improve my craft. I write, research, or plot every day. As a writer, should I pay attention to the economy, the market, making money for me or others? Or should I pursue my passion without concern? I’m not sure I have a solution. At this writing, I believe that if I want to be published, I must be willing to feed the beast. However, as soon as state that, I find myself climbing right back up on the castle wall. For whom do I write? For the beast? For me? For someone else entirely?