- Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ––Harriet Tubman
A writer’s life is built on dreams. We learn to weave fine threads of fact and fantasy into stories to entertain, to educate, and to inspire. During the month of March, I’m stepping aside to allow four fellow writers a chance to tell about their particular journeys through the fanciful world of fiction, romance, mystery, and suspense.
Elizabeth Noyes debuted in February in the collaborative novella, A Dozen Apologies, from Write Integrity Press. She has kindly consented to an interview. I hope you’ll enjoy her candid answers as much as I did.
Would you consider yourself a dreamer?
Elizabeth: The banner on my website reads – Professional Writer. Aspiring Author. Dedicated Dreamer – so yes, I do consider myself a dreamer.
Daydreams or night dreams? How else do you come up with ideas?
Elizabeth: Daydreams, night dreams, the daily grind, and a troupe of characters who’ve come to life in my head help me write. Seriously, ideas come all the time: two women hug and – poof! Long lost sisters separated at birth are reunited at the reading of a will. An abandoned car on the side of the road becomes a woman fleeing from an abusive marriage. Or a mother feeding her toddler bits of food in a restaurant morphs into a young woman traumatized by an attack that left her unable to have children…except now she’s stolen someone else’s child for her own. Ideas are everywhere. All we have to do is see them and play the what-if game.
It’s the nighttime, though, when my scenes come together. For more years than I care to count, I’ve composed scenes, complete with dialogue and action, while “sleeping.” Experts today call it Focused Dreaming. I call it designing my own pleasant (or sometimes not so pleasant) stories. At other times, all I have to do is sit down at the keyboard and my characters write their own story. Sometimes I have to throw the outline out and let them have their way. It makes for an interesting ride, sort of like reading a new book because you have no idea where it’s going to take you.
What steps do you take to bring your dreams to life?
Elizabeth: Using a scene conjured up from something in real life, I envision the characters’ physical and temperamental characteristics, add dialogue, spice it up with a bit of action and angst, and let it play like a movie through my head. Somehow it stays cemented in my brain until I can get it down on paper. That usually gives me the germ of an idea.
From there, I need visual confirmation. The next step is a visit to Mr. Google for images – young woman with blue eyes, man in suit, blond-haired toddler, crooked-tooth smile, black truck, red sports car, mountains, dogs, and even particular pieces of clothing. If I can see I can describe it, and the possibilities are endless. Next is the character study where my hero and heroine (and sometimes villain) comes to life. I use a comprehensive list of interview questions to get to know them. After that, I may write their backstory. It takes longer, but it makes my characters real people with a history and memories and hang-ups. I can often use bits and pieces of their background in the story.
Filling in the middle: how do you keep yourself moving forward?
Elizabeth: Wow, let’s talk discipline now. I have my outline, complete with inciting incident, plot, story arc, a few scenes already in mind, and how the story ends. I have my visuals. I have some scenes. To make it all work (for me) requires immersion in the story. I’m not one of those lucky writers who can slap/dash off a chapter in 30 minutes here or an hour there. I need large chunks of time. I become the characters. I’m in the action. Time becomes another dimension for me. I’ve given my husband permission to poke me if I don’t move for six hours, but he’s never to question my tears, hysterical laughter, or odd contortions as I put my boys and girls through their paces. He does give me strange looks now and then. LOL
Do you have any advice for other dreamers?
Elizabeth: I have a quote on my website that speaks to this question. “Dreams are stories set down on paper.” Scads of books and classes are available claiming to know the one sure-fire way to write a successful novel. What I’ve learned is there is no one-size-fits-all. I encourage everyone, not just writers, to believe in their dreams.
Elizabeth Noyes is a professional writer, aspiring author, dedicated dreamer—lives in northeast Atlanta with her husband and best friend, who listens tirelessly while she tells him all the stories clamoring to get out of her head and onto paper. Her days and nights are a balancing act between working full-time, entertaining three grandchildren, participating in church, and a demand (her own) to write, write, write. She is also an avid reader across many genres.
A Dozen Apologies, a novella collaboration created with 11 other authors, is her first published work. It releases on Amazon February 14, 2014. Her first full-length novel, a romantic suspense entitled Imperfect Wings, will be out later this year.