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Sub.Azure
10-20-2013, 06:23 AM
I've been asking all over the place with no luck over the past few months, so I thought I'd try posting here.

If possible, I'd like to have a person read my fantasy story and help me with some things. I'm actually not requesting an in depth evaluation or directional coaching because I'm not making this story into a novel. Here's my situation:

I don't want to alter anything because my story is a long series of dreams that I have experienced. I want my existing content to stay more or less untouched and remain true to my dreams. I believe the story ended, despite the fact that there are questions which went unanswered. I firmly believe that my existing material has enough contextual clues for me to put together a solid theory for the unanswered questions, but I think I might be blind to them as I read. Here's what I'm asking:

Can anyone help me by reading my story and possibly finding these clues that I'm overlooking? To be specific, I basically want someone to discuss what they think may have happened in the ending. That input is all I need. In return, I will read something of yours and help where I can. I don't have experience with providing feedback or evaluations, but I can try. At this point, I don't think I have preferences for specific genres. I just want the fair trade of having the answers that I've waited so long for. As for specific info, I don't really know where to start.

Word count: 136K - 160K+ (depending on your needs)

Genre: Fantasy with Sci-fi elements, I guess? (There's superhuman assassins in it that have special powers.)

Chapters: There are 31 for the moment. Most range between 2K - 8K words each. Few range between 11K - 14K. One is 21K. I have frequent breaks throughout all chapters, unless they're too short for breaks to mean anything.

Problems:

1. This series is incomplete because I have not added every single event into the story yet. If you are willing to share contact info with me, I can remedy any problems with time gaps and missing events quickly (I prefer Skype IMs, but I am open to other outlets).

2. I wrote the dreams out in IM format because I didn't plan on doing anything with the story. I did not use internet slang or unnecessary acronyms for dialogue or narratives. Everything is "properly" written out to a considerable extent. I just used that format for the ease of reading and writing (and editing).

I will provide more specific info if you need it. Thank you for reading.

Cella
10-20-2013, 06:50 AM
Hi Sub.Azure & welcome to AW! :hi:

It sounds like you've got a pretty good idea about what you want in a crit partner and I hope you're successful in finding someone who can give you useful feedback...also, it's nice of you to offer reading for them in return. You might be surprised how often that offer isn't extended. :)

We have a guide here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66315) for new (& old, lol) members to help you get acquainted with the community and how to find your way around. Good luck with your work I hope you stick around the forums.

robjvargas
10-20-2013, 06:59 AM
I don't want to alter anything because my story is a long series of dreams that I have experienced. I want my existing content to stay more or less untouched and remain true to my dreams. I believe the story ended, despite the fact that there are questions which went unanswered. I firmly believe that my existing material has enough contextual clues for me to put together a solid theory for the unanswered questions, but I think I might be blind to them as I read. Here's what I'm asking:

Can anyone help me by reading my story and possibly finding these clues that I'm overlooking? To be specific, I basically want someone to discuss what they think may have happened in the ending. That input is all I need.
Sub.Azure, welcome to the forums, first off. I think it's great that you're investigating your creative side, and it sounds like you've done a lot. So congratulations on getting this far.

I think you've seen this coming: But...

You don't really intend to change anything, you say the content is staying, and you think what you want is already there.

I went to a local conference where a small publisher had a representative talking. He got into a back and forth with a woman who was trying to get her work published. He described the process of going from initial acceptance all the way to publishing and distributing. Each step of the way, she talked about how it was already done, and the publisher wouldn't need to change anything.

He told the woman that she was welcome to submit her work, but that is he was "married to the work," then success was very unlikely.

For me, you're sounding like that woman right now. You don't intend to change anything, but you want someone to look over your work.

To be blunt, why?

If you believe that your work is so done and complete that you're basically closed to changes, what's left to do? What can I possibly add to it?

It's great that you want help and are willing to reach out for it. But (speaking just for myself) I'm not likely to take on a challenge like this if I'm not confident that my help will get serious consideration.

I hope you get that help. But I'm going to turn down the chance to be that help, and I think you deserve to know why.

Sub.Azure
10-20-2013, 08:01 AM
Sub.Azure, welcome to the forums, first off. I think it's great that you're investigating your creative side, and it sounds like you've done a lot. So congratulations on getting this far.

I think you've seen this coming: But...

You don't really intend to change anything, you say the content is staying, and you think what you want is already there.

I went to a local conference where a small pusher had a representative talking. He got into a back and forth with a woman who was trying to get her work published. He described the process of going from initial acceptance all the way to publishing and distributing. Each step of the way, she talked about how it was already done, and the publisher wouldn't need to change anything.

He told the woman that she was welcome to submit her work, but that is he was "married to the work," then success was very unlikely.

For me, you're sounding like that woman right now. You don't intend to change anything, but you want someone to look over your work.

To be blunt, why?

If you believe that your work is so done and complete that you're basically closed to changes, what's left to do? What can I possibly add to it?

It's great that you want help and are willing to reach out for it. But (speaking just for myself) I'm not likely to take on a challenge like this if I'm not confident that my help will get serious consideration.

I hope you get that help. But I'm going to turn down the chance to be that help, and I think you deserve to know why.

Thank you, Cella and robjvargas for the welcome.

I fully understand your point and I am aware that my request is out of place. It's not a very appealing idea or trade, but it's the nature of my agenda. The fact that I don't want quality control or guidance will greatly decrease my chances of getting help. I understand that. No matter how I try to explain my request, it won't make this trade sound any better. Sorry for wasting the readers' time in the OP, but I must keep the request the way it is. I'll attempt to clarify something.

The whole concept of my project is that I "copy/pasted" as many dreams as I could on paper while keeping my writing as true to my dreams/memories as possible. If I were to accept changes, it would defeat the purpose of recording my dreams. Aside from that, I can't actually write a story. Copying my dreams is the best I can do, which is one reasons why I can't ask for an evaluation for improvements. I can only use perspectives to find meanings within events that already happened, rather than actively crafting something from scratch.

So with that, I am only asking people to address the cryptic aspects of the ending within the series of my dreams. I am petty person looking for closure, but I don't think that my eyes/perspectives alone are sufficient. In that particular area of the story, I would find great value in a person's feedback because they're doing what I'm not capable of. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that I'm asking too much of the reader, just so I can get a 15-minute discussion out of them and apply it to my understanding of the ending.

I'm asking people to read the entire story solely for the sake of context. The ending makes many references to events that precede it, so I have no choice but to have any potential reader to start from the beginning. I wish I could ask a short and general question to take away much of the work involved for readers, but unfortunately, my problem is a little more complex than that.

But again, I understand that making someone read 136K+ words just for the sake of helping me theorize about an ending is out of line. I never would have come to this site with my nonsense if my friends were willing to help me solve this problem. But hey, I figured I should try because I'm out of options.

I don't want people to be enticed just because I offered to read and give feedback on their work, so I will add this: I may have been looking around for help for a long time, but it's only because I'm in denial. I keep thinking that the ending is too cryptic. Hey, maybe it isn't. If I can somehow prove that it isn't cryptic, then I can find contentment in giving up on this.

If anyone feels the slightest bit tempted to help me, then keep in mind that I can be content with giving up, just like I can be content with successfully making a theory.

I appreciate the gesture, robjvargas. Like you said, I am aware of the lack of balance, but this is the only option I had left. Thank you all for reading and I apologize if I wasted anyone's time in this thread.

Old Hack
10-20-2013, 12:37 PM
It sounds to me like you are looking for someone who will work with you to help you interpret these dreams.

With all due respect, that's a therapist, not a beta reader.

Cella
10-20-2013, 05:17 PM
So is this something you're wanting to publish?

robjvargas
10-20-2013, 08:03 PM
Thank you, Cella and robjvargas for the welcome.

I fully understand your point and I am aware that my request is out of place. It's not a very appealing idea or trade, but it's the nature of my agenda. The fact that I don't want quality control or guidance will greatly decrease my chances of getting help. I understand that. No matter how I try to explain my request, it won't make this trade sound any better. Sorry for wasting the readers' time in the OP, but I must keep the request the way it is. I'll attempt to clarify something.

...snipped...

I appreciate the gesture, robjvargas. Like you said, I am aware of the lack of balance, but this is the only option I had left. Thank you all for reading and I apologize if I wasted anyone's time in this thread.

I, for one, do not believe that a sincere request for help is ever a waste of time. But people are going to help, or not help, based on how likely they think the help will be successful.

I'm not going to help someone who needs information on Renaissance art because I know next to nothing about it. And so on.

Chase
10-20-2013, 08:09 PM
I apologize if I wasted anyone's time in this thread.

:popcorn: Fascination with the sameness of unique snowflakes is never a waste of time.

However, I can't imagine reading 136,000+ words merely to offer an opinion to someone so unswerving of the work's content, syntax, and style. Surely, the ending is already etched in stone.

Good luck. :)

Sub.Azure
10-20-2013, 08:12 PM
It is not something that I want to publish. I'll try to explain this a bit better.

Over the past four years, I've had a series of dreams. This series of dreams has been a single story with the same characters, setting, and had interconnected issues/events. I never thought that I would get a full story from something as uncontrollable as dreams, but it pretty much happened.

Now that an ending happened and it seems to be complete, I have a general understanding of many things, minus a few. Because these were recurring dreams, I wanted to see if the characters have any connection to me. I wanted to see if the problems they faced have any connection to me. The ending will not let me do that because one of the characters is still a mystery. There should be clues in what I have written so far that reveal a hidden motive behind the mysterious character and connect them with the ending. I feel like the ending could not have happened without that character, but I can't find the proof. If I can prove it, I'd have a much better idea of what kind of character they are and why/how this ending occurred. I've tried for two months and can't seem to find more than three clues and that's not enough.

As for the dreams themselves, watching them was like watching a TV show. I'm not in it. No one that I know is in it. Nothing that I am familiar with is in it, but I still feel as though there is a connection. I wrote everything out in order to find those connections (by myself), but I started thinking that I needed help. Connecting a character to the ending is the only thing that I have left to do. I wanted to have someone help me search for the evidence that connects the character to the ending. Once that was done, I could handle the personal things by myself. So just to reiterate my purpose here:

Would I consider publishing this story? I can't see that happening right now. If I am ever less embarrassed by it in the future, then I won't hesitate to at least post it somewhere for anyone to read. But right now? No, I can't even dream of publishing it, no terrible pun intended. Aside from that, I lack the skills to write this story out in the form of a traditional novel. What's worse is that I had to write most things in the third person perspective, something I don't have experience in. When I get the skill to write the story in the form of a novel and clean up some messes, then sure, I'd publish it.

Old Hack is right. I wanted to see exactly how this particular ending was possible, but that counts as trying to interpret my dreams/story. It's something that a therapist and I can handle, but I thought I'd try this site instead. Since my dreams are still a single story,I thought a writer's perspective would be more helpful. If I can make my story into something that's not crap, then I'll try publishing it. I doubt it overall.

Maybe I should just take a break from the reading and brainstorming. If I take a break, then maybe I'll be able to find the clues by myself later and/or be fully content with the ending. I appreciate all of the input.

Marian Perera
10-20-2013, 09:39 PM
If your dreams are so well-thought-out and connected that everything in them makes sense, characters' motivations are clear and believable, etc. - basically, if you dreamed a long story that makes objective sense to an impartial observer - then I agree a writer on a writers' site might be able to read 136K of this story and offer thoughts on how a character is relevant to the ending. How useful those thoughts would be is another matter, especially since dreams can be interpreted in different ways.

But we only have your word for it that your dreams are this lucid, and you're new to the site. That's a big time investment for what, to me, is a tenuous hope.

And if you, the originator of the dreams, has spent two months and can't figure it out... well. Especially if you're not going to have this published.

Maybe future dreams will present a better solution?

sohalt
10-20-2013, 10:07 PM
Did you consider psychoanalysis? Freud worked a lot with dreams. You might read his The Interpretation of Dreams, see if that might give you some ideas. Current consensus seems to be that Freud is more useful from a literary perspective than from a mental health perspective anyway.

Sub.Azure
10-20-2013, 10:15 PM
If your dreams are so well-thought-out and connected that everything in them makes sense, characters' motivations are clear and believable, etc. - basically, if you dreamed a long story that makes objective sense to an impartial observer - then I agree a writer on a writers' site might be able to read 136K of this story and offer thoughts on how a character is relevant to the ending. How useful those thoughts would be is another matter, especially since dreams can be interpreted in different ways.

But we only have your word for it that your dreams are this lucid, and you're new to the site. That's a big time investment for what, to me, is a tenuous hope.

And if you, the originator of the dreams, has spent two months and can't figure it out... well. Especially if you're not going to have this published.

Maybe future dreams will present a better solution?

A part of this is just me being impatient. It took a little over four years for the dreams to progress this far. For the past few months, they haven't been coming like they used to. Whenever I did get them, they were connected to the ending overall, but not the character I'm looking at.

Because I am confident that my dreams won't touch the ending again, the only thing that I can do is make a theory. I want to make sure that the theory is solid enough to be usable, and validation from a different set of eyes would
be reassuring. I plan to incorporate all thoughts and possibilities into the theory, just so that all bases are covered and nothing is left out. So in that particular area, all thoughts that a reader offers will be put to use, otherwise the theory would be incomplete. In this collaborative effort, the only thing that I am concerned with is finding and analyzing the evidence needed to link a character to the ending. I don't want anyone to do something so complicated as to try and interpret the meaning of my dreams in my stead. To simplify this, basically asking someone to play detective with me and investigate a crime scene to connect a suspect to an event. I ask this because I think I've been immersed in this story for so long, that I'm blind to evidence that's right under my nose.

So would the reader's input on a character's relevance to the ending be useful? Undoubtedly so. How many of their thoughts would I use? All of them.

But like you said, maybe a future dream will happen. I can't deny that possibility.

(I have to leave for work. My next reply will be late.)

chompers
10-20-2013, 11:29 PM
I'm still a bit confused on what it is you are actually asking for. It sounds like you are actually wanting an analysis on what your dreams mean.

You might want to try asking this dream forum:
http://dreammoods.com/dreamforum/

Sub.Azure
10-21-2013, 04:48 AM
Short term goal: Determine the influence that a mysterious character had on the ending in my story.

Long term goal: Find meaning in my dreams.

I would like someone to help me achieve my short term goal. This is a process that involves a search for evidence which can prove that this character triggered the events of the ending. I seem to be overlooking the evidence when I read. My friends apparently cannot do this, so I brought my request to this site.

I will work on the long term goal privately by myself. Any potential reader will not need to worry about this goal. I will check out The Interpretation of Dreams and dreammoods. I appreciate the suggestions.

Again, I'm aware that my request is not really aligned with a beta reader's purpose. I just got restless for answers and felt that I had no choice but to ask over here. I completely understand if/when anyone is not willing to help. It's admittedly grating, but I can always just keep trying on my own. I hope that was clear enough.

Arcana
10-21-2013, 06:18 AM
Did you consider psychoanalysis? Freud worked a lot with dreams. You might read his The Interpretation of Dreams, see if that might give you some ideas. Current consensus seems to be that Freud is more useful from a literary perspective than from a mental health perspective anyway.

And also Jung.

chompers
10-21-2013, 08:21 AM
Hi,

I re-read what you said. And I do believe from what you said, that you should be approaching it from the opposite way. Meaning that you need to figure out the dreams in order to figure out the importance of this character.

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a dream interpreter, or am an expert in the topic. Some of what I've learned was through plain fascination with the topic, while some of it was from research (my current novel deals somewhat with dreams).

Anyways, the reason I think that you need to approach it from your long-term goal first in order to get to your short-term goal is because dreams are symbolic. Right? I think this probably has a large part with why neither you nor your friend was able to find those "evidence." It's hidden within the symbolism.

I've had a few dreams interpreted. It was very interesting, but more because of HOW it was interpreted. Yes, I got an overall meaning of my dream. But how they came to that was that they pretty much went through it line by line, figuring out what each element symbolized and were telling me about myself, and from there, was able to tell me a general overview of what the dream meant and what I needed to do to resolve the dilemma that was presented through the elements.

Two of those dreams were from the same period in my life, but the dreams were completely different in content and mood. One left me upset, the other hopeful. But you know what? Once it got dissected, it turned out they carried the same message.

So I am willing to bet that your dreams actually carry the same message, but you are not picking up on it, and so that is why they are recurring. Of course, this is all conjecture, as I have no idea what your dreams entail. And yes, all characters in your dreams are an extension of you. But these are why I think that you should be approaching this from your long-term goal first.

So I would recommend that you get it analyzed first, in order to understand the character. Start with just a couple of your dreams and see if they are actually trying to tell you the same thing. And it might give you an idea of how the rest of the dreams connect together, or if they are just the same message delivered in a different manner.

Good luck!

Old Hack
10-21-2013, 10:23 AM
I will stick around and lurk for a bit. Once I'm done processing all of the advice to determine my course of action, I'll take my leave.

So you're only going to be here for as long as you need our help, and once you get it you're going to leave.

AbsoluteWrite is a community, first and foremost. Our members not only get help with their own writing, they give help to others too. Give and take, and all that.

If you're only here to help yourself, I doubt very much that you'll find a beta reader here. Beta reading takes effort, time and commitment, especially for a work as long as yours, and most people would prefer to put in that time and effort for someone they're likely to have a ongoing relationship with.

Sub.Azure
10-21-2013, 11:05 AM
Yes, I'm selfish and I never believed that I was a fit in the community. On the other hand, this was not initially one-sided. From the beginning, I did offer to read and help anyone who was interested in trading.

I never believed that I could acquire the talent to write a story, so that alone is enough for me to make this account a temporary thing. I'm not really qualified for much of anything that this site and community is about (as you have just proven), but I came here anyway because desperation is desperation. I offered a fair trade and unexpectedly got help before the trade could actually happen. I assumed that people wouldn't really want to read the story or trust me, and frankly, I think it's better this way. At least people won't have to sift through 136K now, right?

A genuine thanks to all who took the time to share their input. I apologize for disrupting what is clearly a marvelous community and an equally marvelous exchange of services (Not being sarcastic). It's best if I just leave and keep this to myself from now on. You all helped me see that perhaps this is something I can handle after all. I thank you again for the gesture.

Randy Lee
10-21-2013, 10:54 PM
Have you considered the possibility that these dreams may be randomly-generated images that have no meaning whatsoever? Not that I need the answer to that question, but I suspect that you might.

If they are randomly-generated images devoid of meaning, is it worth the time and effort to search them for insight and meaning? I don't need the answer to that question.

The vividness of an image does not always equate to meaningfulness.

Kylabelle
10-22-2013, 12:06 AM
Good luck, Sub.Azure. If in fact your dream series is coherent and tells an intelligible story over that long a period of time, it is certainly hard to characterize that as "randomly generated images", at least to my mind. (No offense meant, Randy Lee, but this was made clear with the originating question, I believe, that the issue is not so much the vividness but the coherence, and the nature of the "ending".)

I'd just like to mention that dream studies have developed quite a lot since Freud. You might find some useful direction in the work of Jeremy Taylor. Google that; he has many books and some of his material, I believe, is free online as well.

robjvargas
10-22-2013, 12:48 AM
All the references to dream interpretations have suddenly connected the dots in my head.

Sub.Azure, maybe that's it. The problem here isn't really a writing problem? These dreams represent a real experience for you, and there is something about them that leads to a conclusion for you. But a conclusion like that is going to be pretty unique to you. I very likely would read those sequences and see something else entirely.

You want someone to help you answer questions that you haven't resolved, but those questions are based on something pretty deep and intimate to you.

I'm sorry you're so frustrated by the responses you've received. But it doesn't sound to me like a writer is the type of person whose help you need.

LAgrunion
10-22-2013, 11:26 AM
Hi Sub.Azure.

I think it's okay that you asked for help here. It's always more difficult to get help when you're not established in the community, but you never know. There are other not-established folks checking out this forum because they need beta readers. And you were fair in offering a trade. So who knows, maybe you'll find someone to swap with.

I'm actually kind of intrigued by your request. I've never seen something like this before in this forum. The word count scares me (I'm too impatient to read long books). But if I had more time, I would consider reading your stuff. Though Iím not confident that I would have anything intelligent to say.

Anyway, I understand your desire to search for meaning. As others have pointed out, writers may not be the best people for dream interpretation. But again, you never know. To help you break through, sometimes all it takes is for one person to offer a new perspective or a fresh idea.

While I can't help now, I just want to offer some encouragement. I wish you the best. And I hope you'll take this writing project further and become more involved here at AW.