Almost everyone has dreams, at least occasionally, that they can remember vividly when they wake up. Writers have those kinds, but also aspirations, grand dreams. I got possessed by one of the former, which became one of the latter, and now, 50-odd years and 125,000 words later, it's an integral part of me.
The dream was what I call a “story dream,” one in which I am not really a part but more like watching a movie. Several of those have become, in whole or in part, short stories. I find them interesting but not disturbing.
This particular dream, sometime in the late 1950s, was a sci-fi story in which some distant civilization had developed a genetic weakness which prevented women from having a second child and many of them did not survive a first birth, if they could conceive at all. The solution, according to one faction in that place, was to find compatible women in other star systems, since their traders had often seen such people. Rather than negotiate, they kidnapped. One of those stolen women was an earth girl named Janice.
Great story, I thought, although I had never written fantasy. But five or six pages into it I got stuck. It didn’t work. I still liked the idea and I put it away. Over the next ten years I came across it occasionally, reworked the beginning, but never got past the block. Then I had one of those 2 a.m. revelations we all get: just change the point of view, stupid. Two months later I had a novel and thought I was at last free of that civilization, that strange culture, that clash of religions, and I could go back to writing what I was really interested in: contemporary dysfunctional family problems.
Not at all. At the end of the book I called “The Sol Girl,” two minor characters were introduced. They grabbed me. Totally seduced me. “The Sol Girl” is in the middle of that larger story – that of another kind of involved dysfunctional family, and over the next 20 years, whenever a new chapter came along, I wrote both ways, back to the birth of the central character (the result of an incestuous rape) and forward to the resolution of that culture’s problems, or at least some of them. Along the way are several romances, disowned children, a civil war, and advances in medicine and technology we can only dream about.
When I had at last finished it – I had thought that several times over the years – I put it all away again still not really wanting to deal with it. A few years ago, I decided all my stories should be on CDs. That meant retyping it, which meant, of course, extensive editing, which is what we writers do. I tightened parts, expanded parts, eliminated parts which obviously didn’t fit, and fell in love with it all over again. But, still, I put it away.
Last year my daughter read it for the first time. Really read it, she said, sat down and read it through, Why, she asked, hasn’t this been published?
So that’s where I am. It is under consideration by a publisher of sci-fi, and I have my fingers crossed.
The point of all this is, don’t give up on a story if it grabs you, even if you don’t want to follow it wherever it seems to be going. There is something there that resonates with your inner being. “The House of Olin” may never be in book stores, but it has been a grand journey, one on which I learned a lot.
Thank you for joining us Jessie and sharing your "dream" with us. It sounds like a fascinating story. Hopefully, that publisher you mentioned will make you an offer.
Jessie's books are available on Amazon. You can learn more about Jessie at her Soul Mate Publishing Author page.