Characters always have something to say. You just have to keep your ears open.
A story can be a sweet thing that grows in the mind. It becomes colourful, and active.
If you ignore the work of actual writing, it’ll become a nagging beast that will finally start to bite and nip at your heels. It’s a bad idea to run from good stories.
If I have an idea, I have to work at it.
There is a need to write, the need to listen to stories as they come, as if on the wind, they land on our kitchen tables like sparrows among the crumbs.
Instinctively, I know that if I reject many of the ideas I have because I’d rather go out, make dinner, or read a book, then those ideas will dry up and not come out to play anymore.
Self-discipline is important if a story is to be told. It came to you because you can tell it.
I think, a story fits the mind of the writer who is capable of telling it, they beckoned it, it came, and that means it must be their work to tell. It has something to do with our own thought processes.
Storytellers come in many forms. Film Makers, scriptwriters, novelists, short story writers, and long article writers are some, so is the guy sitting at the bar in your local. A Barfly tends to have an addled brain, but quite amazingly retain the ability to thread a story together — normally, about the old days when they were young and adventurous, keen and sober.
Have You ever Practised Dreamwork?
There are many ideas about dreams. If you claim not to dream, then you’re probably just shrugging your shoulders about it; you just don’t remember them.
If you make a conscious decision that you will remember your dreams at night, then you’ll discover that more often than not, you’ll start to wake up with a dream still present in your mind.
I do this, and sit with my morning coffee, cats, and notepaper and beloved fountain pen and watch the remnants of a dream flow through my mind.
A dream is a story that is told in the realms of magical realism.
Yesterday, I woke up and got on with my writing work.
Then I had a video chat with someone. They mentioned horses. And wham! Last night’s dream flashed into my thoughts.
A black stallion, a farm, and a pathway that led up from a woodland.
The stallion came out of the woody pathway to greet me. I recognised it as an old friend. He shoved his big long head against my cheek, and nuzzled against me as if he knew me well.
The light glistened on his coat, his eyes were a wild darkness. He whinnied, snorted, then turned a circle before he again rubbed his dark head against my cheek.
For some reason, this dark horse represented a close friend who had passed away twenty two years earlier. I have no idea what it was all about, but it did kick off some thoughts about horses, cowboys, and train robberies.
I thought, if I were to do a Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid style train robbery, then I’d ride a horse like the one in my dream.
There is a scene in the film, at the beginning, where Butch and Sundance are robbing a train. Butch is riding a dark horse. After blowing the doors off the train, planks and splinters of wood, metal, and train burst into the air, and Butch rides his horse up the railway siding then his horse leaps into the carriage — pretty cool.
It caused me to think about how courageous robbers can be.
They are full of criminal energy that makes them believe that nothing can go wrong, so long as they are prepared to take risks.
This thought, at first seemingly unconnected with my waking day, led me back to my story about a bank robber who pulled off a daring heist at a bank.
Stories are driven by ideas, and we use words to represent ideas. The thoughts of a dark horse, an old friend, and the derring-do of risk takers helped me to think more clearly about my criminals, bless their little hearts.
Criminal energy expressed in a dream world of robbers, horses, and courage, are the symbols behind the words we use. If we keep our ears open, and our minds focused on the characters, they will begin to help us with visions of their deeds.
My dark horse stepped around me with courage and confidence, energy, and a vibration that said, “Let’s saddle up and go and find an adventure”, then I woke up.
An idea about what happens is one thing. A stronger start to a story is an idea about a character.
A character can drive a story along, always offering ideas about action. And that depends on how deeply you understand your character’s motivations.
If I tell you that there was a bank heist in town last night, you might shrug your shoulders and say, “so what?”.
But if I tell you that three robbers dug a tunnel under the main road with a military grade tunnel borer. While above ground people shopped in the mall. They entered the bank, spent the night working and sweating till dawn, and got away with sixteen million dollars. Then, you might just want to know more.
These people sound like adventurous, bold and daring criminals. “Surely, they took an enormous risk?”
“They did, but they had what it takes.”
If we can build that character, and as we do, listen carefully to the murmurs of a voice, and the energy that is created through allowing the character to prove themselves as the right one to lead the story along, then we will write and discover, write and reveal, and as we work hard, create something that one day may speak loudly to our readers.
To dream is to create stories, to work as a writer is to dream awake at your desk. Fiction is the unravelling of our dreams onto paper.