Dream Diary – My Friend Published Novel Prime

It’s not often that a dream makes me jealous.

But man this one did. But also didn’t? I don’t know–it was weird.

This was another multi-phaser, but the other parts of it were extremely boring and mundane:

First, I was in a hospital visiting my old landlord’s husband for some reason? Particularly weird because he didn’t even have a life-threatening injury, but I went and sat with him anyway like we were family, even though I he was not and I would never do that.

Second, I had a car and lived in a small town in what I can only imagine was California? That part isn’t clear, but it was definitely a small, desert town where I lived with new roommates in an extremely large room? Again, weird, but mundane.

The only part that really matters was when . . .

An Old Friend Published Book Prime

Okay. This is weird to explain but during the dream, the “old friend” was just that–a static entity that I only knew as “an old friend.” I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but she was only an idea until I woke up and realized that the vague shape I saw in my dream-peripheral might have looked like an ex-coworker.

Whatever. That doesn’t matter.

What matters is, at some point, I drove my car through that desert town, got out, and went into a brick building (just imagine the most boring, two-story building made out of large bricks and concrete that you could possibly imagine in an a small, industrial town in an American desert and you’ve got it). And inside . . .

. . . an old friend was signing her newly published novel.

Somehow, this was a surprise. Like I was going to that building for something else.

I remember walking up and talking to her while she was signing for a line of fans. To be clear, there was no stage or signage; it was just her, sitting at one table that was weirdly placed next to machinery and piping.

Regardless, yes, I was being a weird, rude asshole in this dream–because who just walks up to an author while they’re signing and starts talking to them? Actually, on that thread, I remember her being visibly annoyed that I was doing it, but she was also amazingly patient about it (probably because it was my dream). She just gestured for me to check out a copy of her novel–one of the many on her table.

And . . . my God.

Okay, first, I remember seeing it while walking up and thinking, “Is she signing dictionaries?” because it was that thick.

Which is why, when I picked it up and saw that it was not a dictionary but a Fantasy novel, I remember saying, “Holy shit.” Part of that awe came from the dream-knowledge that this was her first novel, it was that long, and it got published, which immediately translated to, “It must be really fucking good.” On top of that, dream-me remembered talking with her about it when it was in the planning stages and now I was floored that it was here, I was holding it, and it weighed ten pounds.

But the real mind fuck was that the cover was gilded. Seriously, every copy was bound in actual leather with 14 karat gold accents. I opened it and not only were the edges of each page gold-leaf, but they were . . . wavy? Not in a water damage way–the edges of every page were intentionally cut so they swelled and dipped in a subtle, waving pattern. And that pattern shifted every twenty pages or so, so the edges of the text block looked like golden coins.

It blew my mind.

And, wildest of all, I opened up her novel . . . and discovered it was a graphic novel? Well, no–hold on. Not accurate. It was not a graphic novel in the way that term suggests.

It was a novel . . . that was fully illustrated. In color.

I don’t know how, but it was somehow both–full narration and panels at the same time.

I kid you not, even my dream brain was like, “No. This would never happen,” so the art in those panels was clearly not great.

But even with that, I just woke up. I didn’t jump awake like this was a nightmare–I just opened my eyes, blinked, and chuckled as I said, “Seriously?” to myself.

Because it was the kind of beautiful tome you’d see in the Cloisters or some other museum, published here in America, in bulk. There were so many copies on her table–of this book covered with actual gold.

It was cartoon-levels of ridiculous; seriously, I just started rewatching The Simpsons and I feel like it’s Homer-daydream levels of silly.

The moment I woke up, I was immediately disconnected from the jealousy in that dream, because I would never want one of my books published like that. The gold cover, the wavy text block, and then the horrible art inside is the exact opposite of what I’d want. I will admit that the idea of a bunch of high quality illustrations conveying all of the narration for an entire novel sounds amazing even though I don’t understand how that would work (wouldn’t it need to be, like, 14,000 pages?). But if there was any part of that dream that I’d actually want, it’s the signing–although not in a maintenance hangar in a desert town.

I dunno. This one was just all-the-way weird and I had to share it. If for no other reason than to just give everyone a peek into a weird, dream reality where publishers apparently don’t give a single fuck about publishing costs.

Seriously, in that world, every copy of Memory is a 13×11 tome with art by Yoshitaka Amano on every single page. And the cover has a silver mask that you can pull off and wear. Because why not?

~~~

That’s it for me. If you’re new here, I’m an aspiring Fantasy writer who posts here every Sunday / Monday. I tend to write about whatever I want, so posts range from talk about my writing progress to talk about the weird fucking dreams I have sometimes. If you’d like to join me on this journey, you can give me a Follow via the button on the left-side bar (on PC) or the top-right drop-down menu (on mobile). Likes are also always appreciated because they help me gauge what content people like on here.

No matter what you do though, thank you for reading. Take care, stay safe, and enjoy this last Halloween before literally everyone is Robert Pattinson Batman. Bye!

Dream Diary #2 – A Remnant of Sith Hatred

In the lore of the dream, I’d been a member of the Rebellion.

Or, really, whatever faction stood in the Rebellion’s place; my dream took place far in the future of the Star Wars universe, and, although technology doesn’t seem to advance in a galaxy far, far away, there were drastic differences in tech in my future. Machines were more organic, which was strange, parts of them made of muscle, other parts — terminals for example — mapped to bioform towers that expanded and contracted as needed.

The Force, as we’ve seen it, also wasn’t a thing anymore. No one talked about Jedi or Sith. There were just . . . normal people and Force-users, everywhere, a distinction that was strangely lacking in gravity. I was a Force-user, for example, but no one cared, because it wasn’t super unique. I hadn’t been trained on a distant planet and didn’t wear fancy robes. I was just a guy who could mind-trick people into not seeing him — into looking past him or not noticing he was there, even when they looked right at him.

In that future universe, I was a former Rebel gone rogue–a strange way to think of it, but accurate. Because the Republic had maintained its victory at Endor for thousands of years, and now the “Empire” were the ones with old, broken down technology, trying to bring down the established government.

It was never specified in my dream, but I think I was part of a Republic infiltration group meant to stop an Imperial plot to capture a planet with a new weapon. However, at some point during that operation, I was left for dead, which fueled my hatred for my old friends.

It’s the emotion that centered the dream for me — the element that made it relatable (and writable) for me. I’ve felt something similar in my waking life — in varying degrees, of course. I don’t always hate the friends I lose contact with, but with some of them, my anger is unrepentant. In my dream, it still burned hot enough that I understood why I switched sides, even though the Empire was evil. I genuinely hated my former friends, although it was tinged with a Star Wars-appropriate amount of doubt, tempered with real-life reflection.

Anyway, I don’t know what the Empire’s new weapon was — what it looked like and what it did were totally glossed over. I knew it was a space craft (because doomsday weapons always are in the Star Wars universe), but that was all I knew about it.

Which, of course, means that this dream was terrible fanfiction because I wasn’t a Marty Sue; I wasn’t an important character in the space opera I was living — had no part in making, defending, or wielding that weapon.

Really, all I did for the majority of the dream was sneak around the weird, tech-flesh bases of the Republic, hacking terminals, avoiding patrols. There was one point when I let the mind-trick stealth powers fly and just walked through a Republic base, in full Imperial gear. Of course, it’s me though, so a character with power can never have absolute power, even in my dreams; guards with the express intent of spotting intruders could see me regardless, so the moment I got back outside, into a cavern full of Republic Stormtroopers, I was back to running between shadows.

At some point, I ran into another Force-wielding Imperial operative on the same mission, which triggered a remnant of Sith hatred. As if there could be only one apprentice, I made a spiteful competition out of getting to a key terminal first. I beat the other operative, but this weird moment added to what I learned from the dream, which I’ll get to in a second.

Let me just say that, at some point, I did get to stand inside of the Empire’s new weapon — on the bridge, with other Imperial agents. We’d captured an official of the Republic who didn’t know what the weapon was supposed to do, and I got to watch him go from rebellious to terrified as he had the base’s capabilities laid out for him.

“Wait . . . You’re not saying this weapon can,” swallow, “do this right now?”

No one answered him, and one of his worried, frantic glances fell on me. I held it and smiled at him. “Yes. It can . . . This planet is now under Imperial control.”

Dreams aren’t always in first person for me, but that moment was. And man was delivering that line awesome.

~~~

Now, I’m a writer who loves legacy stories. The idea of a universe advancing in time and changing significantly is really interesting to me. Because, no matter what a legacy story is trying to achieve, it will fail if it’s too different . . . but it’ll be boring if it’s not different enough.

Batman: Beyond is an example of a legacy story that’s different, but not different enough. I’d put it somewhere on the low end of the Legacy Spectrum of Success because, while good, it’s very reluctant to abandon Bruce Wayne. And, as I see it, the golden question for any legacy story will always be “What do we do with the old cast?”

The Alloy of Law is a better example, because it leaves behind the Mistborn trilogy’s cast, making them a rare, sometimes vague, often playful reference in that world’s history. However, the world is a little too different for me — because it goes in hard with a Wild West aesthetic . . . which feels different in a bad way. The original trilogy’s setting was hyper-unique, with a world covered in black ash, and terrifying Inquisitors, giant metal spikes in place of their eyes. I still absolutely love Brandon Sanderson, but I never thought cowboys would be the future of the Mistborn world, and that change still feels strange to me.

The Legend of Korra is a much better example of a successful legacy story because it shovels almost everything out the window . . .  while still feeling the same. The protagonists are all different, the world has changed a bunch, even the tone is more mature. Some members of the original cast make appearances, but most of them have passed, off camera, which is only natural. Even so, the fine details are still the same; people still Bend the elements, and the world outside of the new, advanced Republic City is still very much as it was.

Those examples have always made me wonder how far a legacy story can be pushed before it stops being a legacy story. Prometheus is a kind of legacy-prequel that tests those waters by having almost no bearing on the Alien series.

With this dream, I think I tested those same waters, even though I didn’t realize it.

The used future feel of Star Wars is still there, only now its the classically clean and sterile Imperial ships that are old and dirty.

The sense of rebellion is still there, only now strangely backwards, with the evil Empire struggling to gain ground that the Republic only barely notices is there.

Force-users are still around, but they’re less remarkable, which balances somewhere between Darth Vader being real . . . and Darth Vader being looked down on as a practitioner of bullshit space magic by the one Imperial officer in A New Hope.

Particularly interesting to me, the old Sith ways are still there — but only because of perspective. The fact that my protagonist hated other Force-users who worked with the Empire was possibly only relevant to my character; the other operatives might be buddies, for all I know. But I hated them regardless, and the audience was locked onto that perspective, which made that hate an oddly effective throwback for the Sith, even though I wasn’t Sith — I was just a Force-user on the Empire’s side. It felt like a great way to hearken to a bit of series lore without actually using it.

Overall though, the question is . . . do I think this dream would make a good Star Wars legacy story?

The answer: Oh God, no. Are you kidding? Look, I enjoyed this dream, but it’s way, way too different. And weird. Freaking flesh-tech? Are you kidding me? That would never work in the Star Wars universe. That idea alone took the dream into Bad Legacy Story Town. Star Wars is all about fun (at least, at the moment, it’s still mostly about enjoying yourself [man did I hate Rogue One, btw]), not about hating everyone. And definitely not about following the story of a man fully invested in helping take down a peaceful galactic government. I mean, to a degree, it’s off-putting for me that I even had that dream.

But still, it taught me something about writing.

And delivering that “Imperial control” line was pretty sweet.

~~~

Thanks for reading, guys. It feels like I haven’t written in ages. I have been able to sleep on a normal schedule again though, so I can’t really complain. I hope everyone’s April has been going well though — that the words have come easily.

For anyone new to the site, my name is Louis Santiago, and I’m a fantasy writer based in the Bronx. My short story, “Aixa the Hexcaster,” was published last year in Mirror Dance Fantasy. However, I’m still very much learning about the writing process–still trying to figure it out, which means posting here every week, even though I make absolutely no money from it. So, if you like what you read here and feel up to getting updates by email – a new post from me delivered right to your inbox – then please hit the Follow button at the bottom of this page. Because, even though all I get from this site is emotional support, that support means the world to me.

Regardless though, thank you just for dropping by. And, as always, write well.