Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Dream Forest: My new children's book that was worth the wait


Where do writers come up with ideas for things to write? For me, anything is fair game. I’ve gotten ideas for things to write from my dreams, life experiences, decorations and even other books I was working on.


With my latest children’s book, The Dream Forest, I got the idea for it from a poster. Specifically, a quote on a poster. However, it took several years before that idea turned into a full story.


One day, when I dropped my youngest off at preschool, I saw a poster hanging on the wall that said “The forest belongs to every living thing.” This quote resonated with me so strongly that I felt I had to put that into my writing somehow. It took some time for me to figure out a way to do it!


In fact, it took 11 years.


Meanwhile, I had bits and pieces of an idea of what kind of story it was going to be. I had a main character (although without a name!) and a general idea of what happens in the story. So, with those bits of ideas, I eventually got around to enlisting my young illustrator, Centauri, to draw pictures for this book. At this time, Centauri was 14 years old.


It would be some years until I finally actually wrote the story. In fact, it happened earlier this year. I just sat down one day and the story hit me out of the blue. I hurried to the computer to start typing the words that were running through my mind. I didn’t stop typing until the story was done.


That first draft went through several revisions and then a beta read. Then the day came when I felt it was ready for production.


The only problem was, I didn’t have a title! That’s right; all this time, I hadn’t figured out a title for this story. I had the illustrations and the manuscript, but no title. I realized that I also didn’t have a blurb for this book, which is what I was going to need. So I wrote the blurb and, in doing so, came up with a title for this book. Yay!


The Dream Forest is the title I came up with. Those words from the blurb just seemed to stand out. (The actual blurb on the book does not have those words, however. I rewrote the blurb during production.) That’s what I called the book and that is the book I now have available in print.


It is quite unusual for me to take so long to figure out a story from an idea. My youngest has been out of preschool for years and my young illustrator is now a college student who is selling his very professional artwork. I think the story took so long just because life just got crazy. Or maybe I was meant to write it now and not then. Then, I was an alcoholic. Now, I am sober for over 4 years and I do believe that I am writing better because of it. So, basically, The Dream Forest is my first children’s book since becoming sober. That is significant! Maybe it came at the right time after all.


I really think my writing has improved now and perhaps that is why this story was able to reveal itself to me in all its glory. I had this idea for a project but I didn’t see it to completion at the time. That is what happened with some of my other WIPs; I was meant to finish and submit them years ago but … life just happened and I was a mess. I think the drinking contributed to me being so unorganized and just “touch and go” with everything. I am back to work on all of my books and WIPs now, seeing all of them to completion, and I am doing a lot better now. I am stronger, healthier, and my thinking is clearer. Now I am in a much better position to be a better writer and I am picking up unfinished projects where I left off on them.


I am just glad this is one of those projects that I can now count as “complete” on my list of books. I only hope it is a story young readers will enjoy.     

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