The Book of your Dreams

I hear contradictory theories on your dream book. One is to go ahead and write it. The second is not to write it.

So what do you do when you have that one story roiling around inside you, itching to get out? The characters who’ve been knocking around forever, getting in the way, clamoring for attention (“Me! Me! I wanna be in this one!”)?

Somehow you have to get them out of your system.

The book of my dreams isn’t a historical in the usual sense. I’ve stopped and started it about five times. It’s so unlike anything else I’ve written I don’t know how it would fit in with the general direction I seem to be taking. It’s part time-travel (without the characters actually going anywhere), part romance, part I don’t know what. It’s about an archaeologist in England who has a parallel existence in the first century on a site he’s excavating. So does the woman he’s in love with. One very interesting thing I found out at about the third rewrite was that his parallel character is actually the first century female one—interesting, but it didn’t help much. The latest manifestation of it was a change of locale, with the excavation taking place on one of the lost cities of Maryland, the most famous of which is St. Mary’s City—a fascinating sliver of history you can explore, if you’re into serious time-wasting today. Also, this time the hero/heroine time traveled in the sense that they became another person in the seventeenth century. (I actually came up with this when our local RWA chapter invited a NY editor to do a workshop on query letters and we were afraid we wouldn’t have enough. She commented that this book would be very difficult to write. No kidding, but I think it could work.)

And it would take an awesome amount of research. Aaargh.

Question: can you identify “dream books” in your reading? Do you have one you’d like to write? Or, how about the ever-popular hybrid, hero from book A, heroine from book B, plot from book C?

Do tell.


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Pam Rosenthal
16 years ago

Write this one. I’m not kidding. Write other stuff in the meantime, but keep at this one. I mean it.

Cara King
16 years ago

I can’t tell by reading which books were dream books. Or, for that matter, which were easy to write!

Though, of course, if an established author wrote something very different, and not too easy to market (such as when Patricia Veryan wrote her World War Two book) I assume it’s a “book of the heart”.

I’m not sure I have any one dream book. I have one or two there may not be markets for, though! 🙂


Megan Frampton
16 years ago

Oh, man, you’ve stumped me. It sounds naive, but I think all the books I’ve written (all three of them!) are dream books. I really came to love the characters, really felt in the moment when writing them.

Yours sounds ambitious and interesting, Janet.

16 years ago

Write it. The dream book is the one that will get you readers if you sell it.

All my books are dream books now.

In the current climate, I think it’s wiser to take risks.

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Yes, write this one, Janet.

As for me, earlier I might have answered like Megan. All my books were special to me when I was writing them. But I recently dove into a project that has been niggling at me for several years and it feels more important than any of my other ideas. I only hope I can do it justice.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

I agree that all the stories I’ve written have been “dream books” in a way–I wouldn’t have written them if I didn’t believe in them! (Though a couple did turn into “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…”) But I think almost every writer has some story deep in her heart that is, well, special. I have an idea that has been percolating at the back of my mind for quite a while, and won’t leave me alone. But it’s not a romance at all, so I find it intimidating to step out of my “comfort zone,” and I don’t know if I can do it justice. But I’m sure it will leap out one day.

And I agree with Pam, Janet–write that book! I will be first in line to read it. 🙂