as in a dream

Night Writing

I’ve only read one book by Saul BellowHumboldt’s Gift. It was amazing, though, and I have every intention of revisiting his work. I say that to say this: what I’ve seen of his writing is good enough that his advice is well worth listening to.

Especially this advice.

Most of the time, inspiration for a story comes to me at odd times. In the shower, while driving, picking up laundry detergent at Walmart or in the middle of an otherwise unrelated conversation. Every once in a while, it comes in dreams. When that happens, on those precious, rare occasions, I make it a point to write that stuff down. And Saul Bellow is right–anything you get out of bed to write is most likely golden.

When you hand off a story to someone for feedback, you have to do so with a level of flexibility that’s difficult to manage. You’re giving them your baby and they may give it back with limbs missing. Limbs they’ll say it didn’t need, but all you’ll be able to see are the bloody stumps and it hurts, this give and take. But like it or not, if they say something didn’t work for them, it didn’t work for them. You should probably listen to that feedback.

But that doesn’t mean you have to always change it.

Decide what’s sacred for you. If I can hear the echo of Vye‘s voice in a particular plot twist or line of dialogue, I may be willing to rework it, but I’m not ditching it. If I saw it in a dream, you better believe it’s staying in. And if I got out of bed to scribble it on a scrap of paper in the middle of the night–well, suffice it to say, I like my bed. I don’t part ways with it lightly. That shit isn’t changing.

Pick your battles when it comes to feedback, and do so with the understanding that most of the time that will mean making changes. But sometimes, it will mean believing in yourself and holding to the original idea. When it means the second, make no apologies.

Tell your story. After all, no one else can.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

2 Responses to as in a dream

  1. Good advice and I like your analogy. The ending is my favourite though. Believe in yourself.


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