Ruminations on story ideas from 17 October.
Follow your dreams, don’t let them go.
Can I use dreams to connect my urban fantasy project scenes? A twenty-something woman questioning everything about herself – ideals, sexuality, gender identification, spirituality, whether or not she wants to live. She dreams herself into other bodies, often during intimate (emotionally and/or physically) moments. The tattoos appear on the person’s body at the height of the encounter, and are never the same twice. That’s neat, but what’s the conflict?
The protagonist desperately wants to be able to label herself. She is convinced that there is a word out there for who and what she is, but nothing feels right. Like many searchers, this quest becomes all-consuming for her, and she is convinced that the key lies in her strange, sort-of-recurring dreams. Unfortunately, every person that she dreams of is wildly different.
She stumbles upon someone she’s dreamed of, and the woman’s tattoos appear as the main character approaches. Answers! The woman is spooked and a chase ensues.
While the main character isn’t a Chosen One, she is one of the chosen few. These dreamers are networked, naturally mentally interlinked.
- Need to explain the interlinking.
- Need to explain the tattoos.
- Need to explain the relationship between the interlinked and the tattooed.
- Need to come up with some rules, some limits, some drawbacks, and some REALLY COOL SHIT.
Maybe the two groups were forbidden to co-exist because the tattooed group (mages?) manipulated the dreamers, and used them as gateways between the real world and the dreaming world to gain immense power. The dreamers were lost to time as a way of safeguarding against this. So, there are mages that want the status quo to continue, mages who want to find the storied dreamers to increase their power (bad guys), and mages who are searching out the dreamers to safeguard them and teach them to safeguard themselves.
The first group wants to prevent the main character from getting what she wants. The second group wants to subvert her will and turn her into a tool, rendering what she wants moot. The third group may or may not have an answer for her. Or an agenda. Or a leader (charismatic, borderline cult, maybe? Good intentions, meaning well, going about it all the wrong way?). Don’t let this character’s path of discovery mirror Caroline’s too closely. I don’t want to write the same book in two different settings.
Both wizards and dreamers should be sterile. Instead of an easy out for pregnancy, this should be presented as a choice taken away, and that lack of agency should be painful. This also raises the question of how new mages and dreamers are born.
Are there other kinds of odd people out there? Yes! But they greatly distrust the tattooed mages because of slights and atrocities generations old. Shape-shifters/lycanthropes, clockwork immortals, races and monsters of all kinds, marooned on this world after being pulled through their own through the dream world.
Is travel to these places possible? Yes, but not advisable. It’s dangerous, requires sacrifice, and the people there might just hate your guts, through no fault of your own. But, seriously, there’s enough to worry about on our fucked-up little mudball. If you want to return some poor schmuck to its home world, that might be a different story.
Or sequel. Goddamnit.