Sunday, April 09, 2006


I've been to two writing conferences in 11 days and I'm exhausted. I literally walked into my house about six minutes ago and realized I had to blog. Since I also have to grocery shop for the family and find some of that fabulous Airborne (?) that someone at the second conference introduced me to (I was sneezing and throaty and miserable, but the conference was still great), I'm blogging now or I'll forget.

I was fully inducted into the concept of dreamstorming by Robert Olen Butler at the conference I went to ten days ago in New Orleans. The idea is to dip deep into the unconcious mind, without censoring, allowing scenes and snippets of the story to come to you as they will (in order or not). You capture these scenes with single lines (on 3x5 cards is Butler's preferred way). Butler dreamstorms for months before he begins to write. I don't have that luxury of time--my agent wants my new book idea ASAP.

I've done a little dreamstorming in the few days I was home between conferences, and I felt was I was going places that I might not have gone in the story if I were to be so focused on getting from beginning to end, as I usually am when I create my skeletal plot synopses. But on five hour drive home from the conference I attended this weekend, I dared to turn off the radio and dreamstorm the whole trip. Wow!

All I can say is, I was lucky to be traveling the interstate early on Sunday, when it wasn't busy, because I was a little surprised when the familiar landmarks of home appeared so soon :-).

The downside to dreamstorming while driving is there is not recording on the 3x5 cards. But I can do that tonight. After I shop for the family. And take some Airborne to help me get rid of this stubborn spring cold!

Kelly McClymer


Alfie said...

Wow, Kelly. This sounds fascinating. I can hardly wait to try. (Maybe you need a tape recorder while driving???)
And I want to know what the heck Airborne is.


Gloria Harchar said...

Thanks for sharing about dreamstorming, Kelly. The technique reminds me a little bit of Book In A Week, where just write that first draft, whatever pops in your mind and don't worry if it sucks. Then later, when you're done, after you put it aside for about a week, revise. Anyway, that's the best way to do it, and I've come up with stuff that I never would have thought of if I had that little editor sitting on my shoulder.

K said...

LOL! Alfie--Airborne is an immune boosting supplement you take when you're going out into the public (like flying) or fighting a cold. It comes in tablet form and you drop it in a few inches of water in a glass, wait a minute while it fizzes and burbles, and then drink it.

My cold symptoms definitely seem reduced (and I didn't start taking it until I was in full blown coughing, sneezing, sinus headache mode).


K said...

Gloria--dreamstorming is different in that you dream the whole book (recording the scene in a sentence on a 3x5 card) before writing it. Then you arrange your cards, discarding those which go down a path you decide not to follow.

I've done book in a week, and I think they both tap into the same subconcious "stuff", but with dreamstorming, you only have to throw away a 3x5 card, not an entire chapter that doesn't work.


Allison Brennan said...

I swear by Airborne. I have five kids . . .