Dreaming Awake had its roots at the beginning of my love for roleplaying, in a free-form online RP forum that I hosted in around 1998. Such popularity that it had faded after a year or so, and it transformed into a collaborative fiction project dubbed “The Fanfic,” though it had precious little to do with fanfiction.
My role in that enterprise was the collation of the story – taking each contributor's submitted story fragments and combining them into one coherent whole. A job, needless to say, that I was monumentally bad at.
Having abandoned the project due to a lack of the vast reserves of free time that the Fanfic seemed to require, I was left with a pile of characters and fragments of an idea but very little to stitch them together.
Having failed at producing a work of fiction, I turned to considering making a game. The left-over Fanfic ideas coalesced into a plot for a game that was to be called “Dragon's Claw”. Once I had determined to create a game, however, my inherent tendency to geek out took over. Before I had anything like a sensible story progression worked out, I had character lists and item lists and a magic system and a world map and… everything but the important bit. The storyline languished, accumulating layers of cheesy dialogue as the time passed.
After a while, my dissatisfaction with what the story had become and my failings at producing something that was enjoyable to play took their toll, and I abandoned the project.
A few years later, during the Autumn of 2002, I seemed to regain some creative instinct, and an urge to write. At that time I was spending two hours a day on trains, commuting to a new job much too far from home. Writing seemed a logical thing to do with my new-found spare time, and so I began. I scrapped virtually everything except for the faintest outlines of the story (that there two parallel worlds, the “real” one, and the “imaginary” one), and started to write again, from the beginning.
Starting anew with only a vague idea of where things were going was a new lease of life for the Dreaming Awake saga. And that's where the project is now, slowly but surely being built from the ground up, as a book rather than a game.
The story has become a lot less corny and RPG-like, and turning into a much darker and more psychological one. Rather than the other world simply being a Middle-Earth-ish and rather featureless landscape, it has become something quite special to me. The story is an adventure, but a rather dark one, and one which challenges the reader's assumptions about what is real and what is not.
And that's where it is at the moment. I suspect the story has at last come of age, and now sits in something approximating its final form. All that is required is the time, inspiration and motivation to put pen to paper for the large swathes of Dreaming Awake that still exist only in my head.