I don’t know about you, but when I dream, I have some places that show up in my dreams over and over. Some are real (or the dream version of real) locations. Others are unique to dreamland.
When I was a teenager, I had several dreams where I was in an underwater cavern or grotto (and could breathe underwater, in case anyone was concerned!). That’s really all that happened in most of them; I swam around in the grotto and explored what it looked like.
A few times, the grotto would connect with other places and there would be bad guys or scary things to deal with. But my favourite times were the peaceful exploring ones. One time, while awake, I even drew what the grotto was like, including the shape of the pool above and the trees around it.
What if a water being of some kind lived in a grotto like that? I wondered. It had no connection to any other bodies of water, so how did they get there? Would they like it there?
The grotto was too small for more than one human-sized being to live there, too. Would they get lonely?
With these questions in mind, I wrote a short story, initially about a mermaid who wanted to get out of her grotto. But I couldn’t get the ending quite right, so I shelved it.
I came back to the story from time to time.
One day, it was because I’d found the drawing of the grotto and all those dreams came vividly back to me. Another, it was because I was sure I’d figured out a fix for the ending. Another, because I’d dreamt I was underwater again and it brought back the longing to fulfill the promise the story had made: the answer to my questions.
Earlier this year, I found myself determined to finish this story. In the years since I’d first written it, I’d not only discovered it took place in a much larger world than I’d anticipated, I’d lived a lot more life, and I’d grown as a writer.
These were the missing ingredients, it turns out. Not only did I fix the end, but I reworked several sections in the middle that had bothered me, made changes so it fit the larger world, and caught stray typos along the way (they’re like dust bunnies, I swear. They hide in all the places you forget to look until, suddenly, you see them).
And, in the process, the core question of the story became clear:
If you could end a lifetime of loneliness by becoming someone else, would you?
Plunged Ashore will be out Sept 10th (yes, next week!), and it will be available through Amazon, Kobo, and my website.
Keep an eye out for the links when it releases (and maybe some cool stuff between now and then)!