Sunday, April 14, 2024

Let The Movie Run in Your Head

Everybody and their sister wants to write a novel. Are they capable? Sure. Will they? No. Why? They make it harder than it really is.

Think back to when you were a child and daydreamed. Your imagination soared taking you to places you’d never been or allowed you to do things you couldn’t do in real life. Writing a novel is the same.

It’s daydreaming one page at a time.

First, you come up with a premise for your novel. I came up with the idea of someone being struck by a bolt of lightning. A simple start but one I let my mind take hold of and run with to produce Conspiracy.

Next, I daydreamed about what could happen to this person. Being intrigued with the idea of ESP throughout my life, the next thought came. What if this person gained super natural powers with her near death experience? Not the usual powers but something totally different.

The more I daydreamed and wrote my “what ifs”, the more real my character became. I was no longer directing my character, she was directing me. It was as if a movie was running in my head and all I was doing was taking dictation.

In sports, this would be called “being in the zone.” In writing, this is what I call being in the alpha state. The place between consciousness and sleep. You are daydreaming with a purpose. Your mind isn’t wandering aimlessly but is totally focused inside your head in this dream or movie.

Time literally seems to stand still while you are in this alpha state. The words flow until your body starts to ache from the waist down because of non-movement. This is when you flip out of the zone and realize hours have gone by and you’re surprised at the number of pages you’ve written.

So you yawn, stand up, stretch and put yourself and your writing to bed knowing this is going to happen day after day, page after page until your novel is finished. Yeah, right — like your muse is that compliant.

Well yes, it can be if you let it. The trick to flipping in and out of this alpha or daydream state at will is going back over your writing each day and rewriting until your character starts to intrude again. At first, this could take 2 hours or 2 days but it will come because your character likes making his/her movie. And, your daydreaming is their route to the real world.

By the time you’re half way through your novel, the time it takes to flip into your alpha state will be as little as 2 to 10 minutes. Why? Because you know your character so well, s/he is immediately there ready to let you view more of the movie so you can take the dictation. In fact if you skip one day to have a “real” life, count on your character berating you for your sloven behavior.

Finally, the day arrives when the movie is finished. Or so you think. Your character has other plans. S/he wants a sequel and begins to show you another movie. So what do you do? You let the movie run in your head.

Judith Tramayne-Barth’s site is which has free books, articles and link pages you’ll love. She also writes excellent “how-to” books.

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