I have really vivid dreams sometimes. I mean, crystal clear, hard to forget dreams that stick with me. When I was younger, I used to have a recurring nightmare about this demonic little girl in this rundown house. I probably had this dream a dozen or more times, and I would actually say to my dream self, "Oh no, not again." Seriously. SCARY stuff. The worst part is that it would be the same each and every time. And even though I'd experienced it on such a consistent loop, it still scared me senseless. To the point I wouldn't want to go back to sleep out of fear of dropping back into it. And yes, that happened on occasion.
Thankfully, I haven't had that dream in a long time. Let's hope I haven't stirred it up by talking about it here. (g) I can still remember bits and pieces of it, but thank gawd, it's fading around the edges. I would gladly give up the few brain cells that are still clinging to its memory in order to have it gone for good. JUst sayin'.
Don't even get me started on my dreams about sharks. Holy moley. I mean, really??
You could say my imagination has always been overly active. I suspect this has a great deal to do with the fact my mother introduced me to horror films at a VERY young age. Five, to be exact. And yes, this will age me -- but my mother took my sister and me to see the original Halloween. Y'all, I think we lasted until the girl bit it in the garage. We screamed non-stop and she was forced to take us out of the theatre. Let's hear it for the good parenting decisions made by young mothers. LOL. At any rate, and probably completely unbeknownst to my mother at the time--she kicked off what would be a life-long love/hate relationship between me and horror movies. I love to be scared. I hate to be scared. And dang it, I can't lay off.
Where was I going with this?
As a writer, my dreams have started becoming quite useful for generating story ideas. Oh, I have enough waking ideas to deal with, and as with most people, my dreams can be somewhat scattered and completely random. But there are the occasional dreams (little girl in the house, anyone?) that really tell a story that my waking mind can't let go of. I recently had one such dream -- well, actually, it was quite a few months ago. But no matter how much time passes, I can't seem to let it go. It sparked an idea and I'm dying...DYING... to play around with it. A real pickle when I have an overdue book I need to write. (MEH!)
I see the characters, I see the story, I feel the tension and emotions involved. I want to write this book!
But yes, it will have to remain on the back burner for now. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
That said, I stumbled back to CompuServe Writers Forum this month--after a very prolonged absence--and writers exercises was hosting a 5 week, 5 act story exercise -- with each act limited to 100 words. It was too tempting to pass up. I had to join in. These probably aren't the prettiest words I've ever written--some spots are just downright MEH to me now--but it was a great opportunity to explore this new idea and see what I could come up with. Oh, and did I mention that each week we had five random words chosen for us that we had to incorporate?? Yeah, tough one. And you really had to think about each word to make it beneath the word count. I'm happy to say, I ended up with exactly 498 words in the end. SHAZAAM!
So, I thought I'd share it with y'all -- if there's actually anyone out there reading, that is. LOL. This idea doesn't even have so much as a working title -- it's that fresh. And despite the point of the exercise, I'm not sure I wrote a complete story. It's more of a thread of a thread, that yes, ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Hey, did you expect anything less from me? (g)
Week One: Intro of setting and characters and inciting incident.
incite, endless, drive, pact, over
Week Two: Act I - Rising action, development of conflict
astray, blood, toast, cursed, boardinghouse
Week Three: Act III - Twists and reversals
grain, obey, approach, backward, eyetooth
Week Four: Act IV - Climax and resolution
bizarre, forgotten, abomination, feast, black
Week Five: – Denouement
Inner, pinch, belong, treasure, dove
The barren landscape stretched before Charlie’s eyes, endless and unforgiving. She wanted this to be over, to lay her weary body down on the hard ground and lose herself in a dream. Only in sleep’s embrace could she go back to the way things were before. She staggered, almost giving in. But no, it was unforgivable to lose herself to this fantasy. Her father was gone. She must press on. Drive harder. Spencer’s actions had incited the wraiths into attacking. By God, if she had to make a pact with the devil himself, she would make him pay.
Several days passed before Charlie stumbled upon Spencer’s trail. Exhausted, she shuffled toward a cluster of abandoned buildings, convinced she was being led astray by delirium. Thankfully they were real. She pushed through the rotted door of what appeared to be an old boardinghouse. Its rooms were numerous, but she dropped her pack on the main floor, too tired to explore. It was there she spied the remains of a fire. She plunged her fingers into the ash and cursed. It was cold. Had Spencer toasted his toes here? She smiled. At last, she’d caught the scent of his blood.
The uneven grain of the wood floor made sleep nearly impossible. She’d have given her eyetooth for a real bed. When sleep at last found her, it was an uneasy and dreamless sleep, her mind unable to give her even a brief reprieve from this waking nightmare. On alert, she jerked upright, not knowing what had awoken her until it was too late. Spencer. She hadn’t heard him approach and cursed her own body for its weakness. Spencer looked as beat up as she felt. Gun in hand, he motioned for her to move backward, against the wall. She obeyed.
Growth covered the planes of Spencer’s face, his eyes black in the pale moonlight seeping through the window. For some bizarre reason, Charlie wanted to see his eyes—eyes blue as the sky she’d longed for her entire life. She shook herself. These feelings were an abomination to her father’s memory. Ones best forgotten. Calculating her chances of disarming the boy, Charlie was surprised when Spencer unceremoniously flipped the gun and pressed its grip into her palm. Her fingers curled around the gun. At last she could feast upon her anger and have her vengeance.
“Charlie,” he said.
One beat, two. The thud of metal meeting wood.
Her fingers dove into his hair, fisting around the thick strands to pull him close. Just one taste, her inner voice argued. One small moment to treasure during the dark nights to come.
Cursing herself, Charlie snaked a belt around his neck, pinching off his ragged breaths with one hard jerk. She made quiet shushing noises against his temple until at last he succumbed, crumpling to the ground, unconscious.
Tears wet her eyes. The decision of whether he lived or died no longer belonged to her.
“Please, God. Help us both.”
It's not great, but it's something to use once I'm able to focus on this story. Until then, it will continue to simmer in the back of my mind. :)
OH...and yes, my horror movie fest continues. Of course, it does! How else am I going to take in enough fodder to have some freakishly scary dreams?!
Tonight's feature: 30 Days of Night
I'll be honest -- I've only seen it once, and I don't really remember much about it. Not even whether or not I enjoyed it. But I'm willing to give it another shot. It has Josh Hartnett in it, and he's a cutie patootie.
Check out this little freak-a-doodle. Vampire children are scary.