dream kid

The Midget on the Bicycle Who Woke Me Up


We were turning out of a side road onto a divided four-lane. What I mistook for a kid on a very small, solid black bicycle rode down the side street’s dividing line, pulled the bicycle in front of our car, jumped off it and parked it in the right-hand lane of the divided highway directly in front of us so we could not pull out, trotted across the four lanes, and disappeared into the trees on the other side.

He was about the height of an eight-year old, slender and quick, and he was wearing a light brown tweed suit and cap from around the 1930’s. High brown socks. Black boots that laced to the ankles.

He moved with the certainty and purpose of an adult, though, and before he disappeared into the woods, he turned and looked over his shoulder at me with an evil grin. He was in his late forties or early fifties. Pale grey eyes, large nose, no visible scars—but I realized he was wearing the cap because he was bald, and he wanted to be mistaken for a child.

I woke up realizing that he was the answer to the question I’d set for my subconscious mind the night before, which was this…

“Show me something from the world I’m currently building.”

He did. Time, place, and first scene, which is NOT set in South Florida, or even in this world.

That had been part of my question—where and when is this series to be set?

Having written this, I’m now going to go work on that world.

UPDATE NOTE – 8/14/17: Post edited to offset dream content and tag added above dream to eliminate confusion. The dream I had gave me the details I needed for the world I’m building for my story, but is not itself a piece of the story.

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37 responses to “The Midget on the Bicycle Who Woke Me Up”

  1. Leighann Avatar

    Interesting! Perhaps he simply wants to ‘blend in’ in his
    environment and you wonder just what he is up to (evil grin).
    What or who is he? I sometimes dream about characters in certain
    situations or sometimes have nightmares that I try to forget! I
    would love to see what you come up with.

  2. Mike C Baker Avatar
    Mike C Baker

    The detail of the boots and the grin snagged my attention — while my grandfather clearly exceeded the size dimensions, he wore boots / high-topped shoes that certainly matched this description, and had a grin that could make anyone wonder “what’s HE up to?”

    Unfortunately or otherwise, the general viewing public does not understand the difference between human midget and human dwarfism quite so well as it might have a couple of generations back. May need to do some education of the reading public as well …

    The detail of the bicycle as ALL black is unusual. Most that are commercially available that I have ever seen in a retail store have some amount of chrome showing as well as (mandatory?) reflectors, etc. The monochrome examples that come to mind have been over-sprayed for memorial or art reasons and appears as installations, seldom as rideable machines.

  3. Francine Avatar

    You threw me at first with the character dressed in 1940’s style clothing and then you threw me down the rabbit hole with his evil grin as he disappeared into the brush on the other side of the highway. I’m hooked and can’t wait (but, obviously, will have to) to read the rest of the story. As for falling in love for years before you meet – Nora Roberts, in her ‘Born in Shame’ has something similar. I await with bated breath (don’t ask what I baited it with) to see what you come up with.

  4. D Morrison Avatar
    D Morrison

    I love glimpses of things that are not always as they seem, and pique my interest to find out just what the devil is going on. I like to read and write stories the same way. Life (and dreams) are rarely what they seem to be at first glance.

  5. melanie Avatar

    Wow! My dreams are much more dreamlike and entertain me that way (I don’t sleep well enough to dream a lot so when i do, I’m happy!). Great to see how you work your own teaching, too. It’s one thing to have the step-by-step and another thing to see the actual bricklaying ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sallie Avatar

    Just cool. I am so glad other people dream in interesting places.

  7. Lucinda Avatar

    Ok, now you have my curiosity whetted. I like the dream sequence you posted, but what really gets my attention and curiosity is: how can two characters who don’t meet until the final book, have not communicated through writing letters or any kind of technology fall in love early in the series. My muse has a few ideas on that, and I hope that gets into your final story.

    I am excited about following your process here, of course. But I feel as though I’ve been seeing a fair amount already in some of your books like the world building series (love it).

    I often get ideas or insights into stories from general conversations. A conversation about spilled coffee has resulted in a rough draft for a story where gravity goes crazy. Thanks for helping me find ways to make nebulous ideas more concrete.

  8. Dianne Avatar

    I have been reduced to squealing fangirldom! I can’t wait to learn more about this character. Is this a good guy, bad guy, good guy forced to do bad things, bad guy who is doing good things … I’m really looking forward to getting to know this new character

  9. Alan Mills Avatar
    Alan Mills

    This is such a cool image, and the stories it implies are all intriguing. I definitely want to know more ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’m excited. And the fact that I THINK I’ve figured out how to write these stories on weekends only so I can still work on getting the Holly’s Writing Classes site out of beta, and getting Longview and then Emerald Sun written at the same time, makes me really happy.

  10. Chris Olson Avatar
    Chris Olson

    Wow,my curiosity is peaked…

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thanks. ๐Ÿ˜€ Mine, too.

  11. Judy French Avatar
    Judy French

    You succeeded in snagging my interest with this intro. I want to know more. I’ve read most everything you’ve written and enjoy your style. I look forward to reading more. Thank you for giving readers like me a chance to see and participate in the process. Your intro may need a little polish but the essence of it is sound and grabs my attention immediately.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Judy. This wasn’t the actual intro. This was the dream I had that gave me a direction for the world.

      I THINK… but cannot yet swear… that the midget is one of the main characters. If he’d been a dwarf, I would have written him as Peter Dinklage, who’s brilliant and one of my all-time favorite actors. (I wrote the financier in Warpaint specifically so that there’d be a part in it for him if it ever became a movie.)

      The character must be a midget, though, because of the plot that’s working its way through my mind now.

  12. Tuff Gartin Avatar

    I love it! I can’t wait to read about this world. The initial creation and fleshing out of a story is my favorite time of the writing process. I get giddy wondering what the Muse will provide next. Goose pimple moments are very common. I have them right now after reading your tale above. The initial thought I had after reading it: an imp trying to disguise himself.

    Good luck with the story!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Muse has now also provided:

      • Process by which a young woman can fall in love with a man she does not meet until the final book that is NOT writing letters or exchanging photographs or using ANY form of technology…
        Two different story universes and how the stories start
    2. This amount of worldbuilding overkill and the speed with which my requests are bringing back answers tells me that my poor Muse is starved to write fiction.

  1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

    Fun stuff! Definitely not the direction my Muse was taking your initial premise. I was thinking something more sinister:) Sounds fascinating. I’m very happy you are getting to write fiction again. It’s been far too long of a jail sentence for your Fiction Muse.

    Worldbuilding overkill…have you already created anything in Minecraft for this story? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Enjoy! I can’t wait to read it. I know it will good.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Oh, it’s totally sinister. I think the midget is the series’ main villain. (If this ever gets made into movies, it’s gonna be a helluva role for someone.)

      This is paranormal suspense, and no matter which version I’ve envisioned, it begins with my protagonist meeting a corpse in awful circumstances.

      1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

        Hmmm. More intrigue. Meeting a corpse under any circumstance would be considered awful to me, so the fact that you specifically declare this meeting to be awful means it must be REALLY awful. Hope that scene stays in the story. I want to read that one.

        As to the movie, Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister in GOT) may be free by then…

        1. Holly Avatar

          Unfortunately he’s clearly an adult male even when seen from behind. Broad shoulders, big hands.

          This character is someone who can convincingly disguise himself as a child. So midget, not dwarf…

          If the damned idea as it exists right now weren’t so compelling, I would try to change it just on that zillion-to-one-chance that movies might someday be made of the series that he could star in.

          Because I think Peter Dinklage, Jeremy Irons, Christopher Walken, and Dwayne Johnson should be in every book I write. (Dwayne Johnson would be the perfect Herog.)

          But this story is crawling around inside my head pushing buttons like crazy, and all of them start from that single, howlingly specific point.

          A midget on a bicycle.

          1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

            I recommend you stick with your compelling idea instead of writing for the zillion-to-one-chance. That is, after all, what you would advise:) (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

            If the movie happens, I’m sure they could make Peter Dinklage look like a kid. Dwayne Johnson…not so much.

  • Toni Murphy Avatar
    Toni Murphy

    I thi;nk it is amazing that you can come up with ideas like this in you sleep. The clear images of the character and the area where you were. I want to be able to clearly see and get the feel of my characters and their surroundings and make them jump out like that in my writing. Kudos Holly!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Have you done my free Flash Fiction class? I teach some of this in that.

  • Anna Avatar

    I am already hooked on the story and this character, but I found the action in the first paragraph difficult to follow because the sentence is so long. You might try replacing “What I mistook for a kid…” with simply “A kid…” (because it is the narrator’s perception of reality, which will shortly be corrected) and breaking up that passage into two (maybe three) sentences. You could break thus: “in front of our car. Then he jumped off it…” That would enable me as reader to follow the action more closely.
    Looking forward to the next!

    1. Holly Avatar

      This wasn’t the fiction. This was me simply describing my dream.

      I’m not yet to the part of writing any of the actual story yet. I’m still putting together the pieces of how it works.

      I THINK I know what the first scene is going to be, but I just had another idea that uses the same material, but goes in an entirely different direction, and I’m going to have to look at both of them and maybe write a couple of different first scenes to see which one I like most…

      Or maybe which one readers would most like to read.

  • Will Avatar

    I’m impressed and interested in seeing where this goes.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thanks. Some days into the process of putting it together, I’m really hooked.

  • Julia Mozingo Avatar

    Holly, I love hearing about your process, and all writers’ processes.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I got hooked on writing process years before I became a writer, when I found Lawrence Block talking about writing in Writer’s Digest.

      When he stopped writing for WD, I stopped reading it. I was there for him. Have all his (non-pseudonymous) fiction AND all his nonfiction. He reduces me to squeeing fangirldom.

      He knows both WHY he writes, and HOW he writes, and seeing him putting both of those on paper allowed me to find my own path into my own fiction.

      And knowing the whys and hows of my own path allowed me to create teachable processes from them, and gave me my second writing career.

      I’ve never met him, or even written to him, and my process is nothing like his…but he is MY writing mentor.

  • Roger Lawrence Avatar
    Roger Lawrence

    I wish I could envisage something like that. I’m currently stuck in a very deep hole and until I climb out my new novel’s going nowhere.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Roger. Define “stuck.” I’m pretty good at helping folks unstick. If you tell me where you’re hanging up, and give me one sentence that tells me about the story you’re writing, I’ll ask you a couple of questions that may help you figure your way past the sticking point.

  • Lizzie Merrill Avatar
    Lizzie Merrill

    It’s amazing what the subconscious mind does. I’d love to see what you do with that snippet.

    1. Holly Avatar

      The more the pieces are coming together for me, the more excited I’m getting. I love every part of my job, but this… the whole process of bringing a bunch of snippets and images and little pieces and parts into one compelling, coherent whole… THIS is the part of writing fiction that makes me need to do it rather than just like to do it.

  • Deb Salisbury Avatar

    What a lot of information in that image! Have fun with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar

      It was a lot of information. I’ve been training my right brain for years to give me specific rather than general details, and to feed them to me when I’m able to use them. So when I tell it the night before that I want some help, that help is frequently what wakes me up.

      The day after I posted this, my right brain showed me the unique means by which two characters who don’t meet until the final book of the series can fall in love in the earlier ones. I’d asked for help on that before I went to sleep, too.

  • david larson Avatar
    david larson

    Things like that are what made me want to become a writer. I see and hear things almost daily that I build a story around.

    1. Holly Avatar

      ๐Ÿ˜€ I know exactly what you mean. The process of being alive is wonderful food for fiction.

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