Nightmares. Most people have a negative association with them, but if we dig down to the root cause of our dislike; and dispense with the psychological mumbo-jumbo; we resent them because they scare us.
Personally, I find nightmares are an underrated experience. They stimulate my imagination which is most helpful to a writer of Horror. I crave inspiration from any source, so over a period of several years I researched the subconscious, then tracked and recorded my dreams. Harvesting storylines and ideas in payment for the broken sleep and fearful awakenings being the goal of this self-experimentation.
I managed to roughly calculate the temporal origins of quite a few dreams. My brain seems to take around 3 days to mull things over before giving the bits it doesn’t understand to the subconscious. The subconscious has a quick look at these leftovers and weaves a fantastic story around them. Upon waking I quickly, (blearily), write down the feelings and sights; and, as they are not meant to be remembered, I also get a perverse pleasure from capturing them.
I read that it is rare to dream in colour. At the time I couldn’t say for sure if I ever had. I focused on this ability for a time and eventually found dull greens and browns coming through in my descriptions. Nothing vivid or outstanding unfortunately.
While I was immersed in my serial novel, Fatal Cure, you might think I’d be inundated by nightmares. I was dealing with creatures and situations that were fully intended to cause bad dreams in other people, yet I can only remember one occasion that it came back on me. That one solitary Zombie chase was nothing too special either. Just the usual irritating, frozen-legged frustration of not being able to run; the wild swing and miss that puts the soundly sleeping wife at risk. (So much for sleep’s paralysis that is supposed to protect her.)
Perhaps I used up all my fear in the telling. If that is the case I should write a story about being broke.
My South African neighbours say I am the epitome of an Aussie! Their perception must be skewed by movies and magazines as I’m certainly not the urbane, metropolitan sophisticate the majority of our country believes itself to be.
My attitude, behaviour and mode of dress would fit a ‘typical’ Aussie male yobbo really. I wear thongs, (on my feet), stubbies and a singlet most days. I drive V8 Holden’s and prefer to drink Bundy rum and Toohey’s beer. I drink too much of both and commonly use swear words as a descriptor. I believe I am honest, friendly and hard working.
Really, I’m a product of my environment, (unique, just like everyone else). The only time I intentionally inflate my Australian-ness is when a cute Swedish tourist says G’day. Disappointingly, unlike Paul Hogan, not many of us chuck shrimps on the barbie or wrestle crocs. Prawns usually are purchased pre-cooked and scoffed cold. Crocs are best avoided.
We’ve got dickheads here too, a percentage I try to exclude myself from. Before they outnumber the good amongst us I’ll take pride of our general acceptance across the world. We still enjoy the ability to raise a friendly smile in foreign airports when they see our passport’s origin. I dread the day our Aussie heritage is met by dislike or scorn.
I’m sure many Australians would be highly embarrassed to have me as their benchmark. But with such a wide range and mixture of personalities and cultures here, any debate on the subject would be futile. Therefore I discard further opinion and accept my neighbour’s nomination.
I’ll stand up to be counted.
One True Aussie.
I was once told, (by an editor), that: ‘You have too much invested in your submissions if you can’t stand to wait a year or more for a reply’.
Damn!?!? Well, yeah, I DO invest a lot of myself in my work. If I didn’t, what would be the point of sitting here joining words together? (And deleting most of them again.) I pondered this industry attitude where submissions are reduced to brightly coloured shapes that must fit well-worn holes.
At the end of my think I still feel a year is an excessive length of time for a publisher to sit on a manuscript.
As I understand it, a single editor glances over each new submission. He or she may not quite love your story enough to publish it as is, nor will they necessarily feel they have an obligation to follow up with the author.
I welcome myself to harsh reality.
How is a writer to succeed? Pure chance must play a huge role when you are faced with a single person’s opinion or mindset. We toss our manuscripts at the publishing world’s cyclone and hope it lands on a desk whose editor just got laid, has had a coffee and feels OK with the world.
Many publishers I submitted to were clearly overloaded. Some indicated they wouldn’t be able to respond to submissions for weeks or months. But in their search for polished gold they continue taking on more ore.
How many dusty gems sit right now in their unread slush piles?
Few publishers have a definite acknowledgment structure for submissions. It’s left to the author to judge the amount of queries to make and when to pull their submission. But you will soon run out of reputable publishers by irritating them with your needs.
Yes it was quite a hard think I had. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the points of view here.
Eventually, feeling my enthusiasm gradually wind down at the utter lack of communication, I self-published. The instant response from the public forum was incredibly gratifying. Honest opinion, praise and criticism abound on the net.
There’s no real point to this post. I’ve tried very hard to edit out the whining. (Took a while.) I know our selfish human natures play a role on both sides of this haphazardly erected fence. I made my own gate. Some are content to wait at the door.
All I’m really after is the briefest reply from those who control the market. ‘Yes, we like it’; ‘No, it’s crap’; ‘Needs work along the following lines...’. Give me some feedback so I can edit, delete or move to my next project.