07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Thursday, March 31, 2016

BEGINNING STORY by Young Adult Author Roslyn McFarland

Most reputable writing education material will tell you not to open your story with a dream. It's overdone, cliché, etc. And they're right.

My story, however, is all about a dream. Several, in fact.

More specifically, it starts with a recurring dream. At the tender age of 8, I experienced the same dynamic vision almost every night for a year, at which point it seemingly went away. Only it didn't, re-emerging once a year, even into adulthood.

A little back story.

I have always been an avid reader with a love of creating stories. Somewhere along the line I convinced my self I couldn't possibly write the type of literature I felt the most awed and inspired by (Shakespeare, Tolkien, etc.). Writing anything not work related disappeared from my life.

Flash forward about fifteen years. Disabled by an illness, and no closer to a diagnosis than I had been five years before. My mystery illness was killing me. I lived a waking nightmare, desperately needing an outlet to break through the spiraling depression taking hold of me.

Then my dream came back. Three nights in a row.
I felt compelled to write it down.

With nothing better to do, I decided to tweak the dream a bit, transforming an eight year old me, to a teen not-really-me-at-all. Scene after scene emerged, scattered all over the place, until I wrote them down and put them in order. Eventually playing connect the dots, I finished the first draft of my first novel approximately six months later.

Despite my painful, symptomatic body, I don't recall ever feeling quite so giddy over an accomplishment. Even the birth of my kids, which my body pretty much took care of without a lot of direction from me. No, I still feel birthing a novel is by far one of the most mentally and emotionally involved processes one can undertake.
Then the editing began, but I'll leave the telling of that two-and-half-year grueling learning process for another time. Halfway through it, however, I did finally receive a diagnosis of Lyme disease, followed swiftly by treatment, giving me back much of my mobility.

The point is, it took a nightmare situation to bring me back to my dream. That of being a writer.

The original story idea expanded, not quite finished in my first book, "See No Sea", becoming a mental trilogy.  Since then, I have also started a Short story collection ("Soldier Boy"), and a Science fiction series ("Light the Way"). Book two of my original series ("Hear No Sea") comes out next month. All my stories are Young Adult, Coming of Age Romances, clean language and simple light fun.

I didn't need to be the next Shakespeare or Tolkien. I only needed to be true to me.
I've also helped my nine-year-old daughter (now ten) get her first story published ("Doodle Duck").

The point?
It's never too late, or too early, to start writing. Don't get in your own way.


Oh, and that recurring dream? I haven't had it since. ~ Roslyn McFarland


Maggie Lynch said...

Hi Ros, --waving madly--Lyme disease is a horrible thing. Sorry it took so long for them to figure it out, but glad you are getting back to your self again.

I really enjoyed See No Sea. Haven't had a chance to read the rest of your work yet. You are absolutely right about it never being too late or too early start following your dreams. So happy to see both you and your daughter are getting your stories out into the world.

Also, love your new covers. Very cool and I can see the connected series.

Sarah Raplee said...

What a fascinating journey you've been on! I look forward to reading your books.

Paty Jager said...

Interesting. My current book starts with a dream but it's short and the protagonist wakes quickly. Good post!

Roslyn McFarland said...

Hi Maggie!
(waving madly back)
Thanks so much for your support and for your feedback!

Sarah, I sure hope you enjoy them!

Paty, the hard and fast rule about writing is...there IS NO HARD AND FAST RULE. Everyone says "Don't do that!", until someone does it in a piece that goes crazy popular. Make you're own rules. If you make sure you're writing is the best you can make it, everything else won't matter. :)

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for guesting with us, Ros! Great post and perfect message - it is never too late (or too early) to follow your dream---literally or figuratively. My series is also based on dreams, both day dreams and night ones. What's interesting is I dream before and during the writing of anyone of the books (one more to go) but then the dream shifts to the heroine of the next novel. But I do not dream of the earlier heroines except for how the interact with each other in the current story.