Writing Journey

“You Musn’t Be Afraid To Dream A Little Bigger, Darling”

I was so glad when Eames (Tom Hardy) pointed that out in Inception, because I was thinking the same exact thing. Only why stop at just a bigger gun? Why not get a grenade launcher? And, dudes, if you haven’t seen this movie. It’s AWESOME. Go watch it NOW. 🙂

It’s no big secret that I’m an avid vampire fan. In fact, up until last August, I had only written one novel-length story (that’s right, just one) in the last 11 years that didn’t have a vampire in it. That’s just crazy. But while on the subject, I have often beat myself up for my last vampire story. The reasons were numerous, but to name a few: There were four books (i.e. too many for me to handle), I would have to change the main POV halfway through, I had about three separate backstories to get in there somehow, and the genre is in no-man’s land. The biggest reason I beat myself up however was because I had completely overwhelmed myself and fell apart.

Now, I had a decision to make. I could force it. Or I could set it aside for however long it took me to calm down. And I LOVE those people. You have no idea. They take up at least half of my Top 16 Favorite Characters list. Some of them have been with me since high school. But after the dust settled, I was relieved to not have to tackle the mess I created. I felt terrible about letting my characters down, and I wanted to do this for them and for myself, but at the time, I couldn’t handle it. It’s strange, because in all my years of writing novels, I’ve never completed a sequel. Never. And not out of fear, which is the worst of it. I haven’t done it because I would get partially through the sequel and realize book number one sucked.

But this time I didn’t have that problem. This time book number one is awesome (with the exception of a few sentences in one scene that I will fix if I ever get back to it). smile And I looked at the rest of series paralyzed, thinking, “I dreamed too big, now I can’t handle it, what am I going to do?”

So my next story was simpler. Maybe too simple and I ended up having to rewrite it. (Quite a few times, in fact.) But that’s the trouble you get in when you’re afraid. I was afraid to write a book that didn’t have a vampire in it. And then I was afraid to dream big again.

And I still am. But that’s okay. Because I’m not letting it stop me.

I realized a little while ago that Petra’s story (yay Petra!) has this huge subplot in it that was going to spawn into the main plot when I finally got out of its way. Now, I knew this subplot had the potential of taking over early on, like a year ago, nearly at conception, but me being me, I ignored it and was determined to glaze over it as much as possible. Hey, I have my reasons. There are a lot of elements in this story that I’m simply just not used to dealing with, so I spent a lot of time trying to tone those elements down. Then I had a scene where the Petra is talking to her father and he’s going off on a tangent. I was like, “Man, that’s so awesome. He’s so intense, I LOVE him!” Then I slept well and woke up the next day thinking, “Oh, crap…I’m going to have to address the issues that came up in that conversation.”

Now I would like to cut the conversation. Lol! It would certainly make my life easier, but it’s SO good. I can’t cut something that good when it’s making the story better! I’m like Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in Inception. I go with what I’m used to and what’s comfortable instead of pulling out a bigger gun. (Or a grenade launcher. ^_^)

So I did the research I needed to do so the story could go off on it’s craziness. I knew it would be crazy when I started. I’m mixing sci-fi and fantasy elements (and I’ve never done sci-fi) and honestly, the concept is ridiculous. But I’m going to do it anyway. Because it sounds like fun. Still, I tried not to dream too big and it happened anyway.

Isn’t it nice when your subconscious pulls tricks on you?

But you know what? Every single crazy, large project I take on, is going to make me a better, more confident, writer. So I say, Dream on, Bring it on. ^_^

Happy Writing!


  • Harliqueen

    A lot of the time, I think the best writing is done when you just go with the flow, go where the characters and plot take you, no matter how much more writing it involves 😀

    • krystal jane

      Exactly! I used to make these huge outlines, but my characters kept wanting to deviate from them. I finally decided to try just outlining a few chapters and going wherever they wanted to go. It was a little scary, but things turn out so much stronger this way. 🙂

  • Ashley Dominique

    I know how you feel with massive projects. I envisioned this modern /old world meld of an epic fantasy. It started as one novel. The idea was too big so I decided to make two volumes. I wrote part one clocking in at 105k. Then I started part two which is a quarter through at 37k when I halted to edit part one. Then I decided it really did need to be one novel. As of now, part one is 89k. I can probably get it down to 85. There’s no way I can finish the story in 120k. I keep wondering if I took on too much. But every time I read the story I get excited. For that, I will keep going. Whatever comes will come.

    • krystal jane

      Wow. Yes! Definitely push through it! I think making it through my scifi hybrid will help me realize that I can take on something big without my head exploding. At lot of my pushing ahead though has to do with how much I trust my MC. I know that’s part of the problem with my vampires. That and I keep meaning to read A Game of Thrones as a mode of multiple view point reasearch. There are a lot of heads to get in.

  • rhchatlien

    I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of researching another historical novel (probably more the result of being a cancer patient than the work itself). So I needed to hear “Dream on. Bring it on.” Thanks.

  • Donelle Lacy

    I really like this post! I’ve been afraid to dream big myself, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from doing it. The fear happens when I’ve taken on the project and it suddenly sinks in how big it really is. Then I freak out and tread water til I learn how to swim, figuratively speaking.

    Right now I’m taking a break from revising my novel which is the first in a YA Victorian fantasy series. I’ve already started the second novel and realized I need to go back and work on the world-building. But you’re right, it’s teaching me a lot about writing novels, writing series, and world-building (which I’ve done before, but I just had to go and make another world).

    In spite of feeling overwhelmed at times, I agree with you. Go big, or go home! ^_^

    • krystal jane

      All right!! ^_^
      I’m still treading water with my current project, but I’ve been sitting on it scared long enough! One chapter at a time and constant reminders that this first draft is probably going to be a mess. I hate messes, but it’s okay. 🙂

      We really do learn a lot with things like this though, and most of it is really fun. I’m looking forward to finally getting in the zone and being able to swim out right. *thumbs up*

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: