200 years into the future, medical science has progressed to the point where dreams are no longer necessary for healthy human brain activity. Sleep cycles have been reduced to three or four hours a night, with no perceivable adverse effect. For the nostalgic, however, the escape of dreams is something that can be achieved -- for a price. The ultra-rich may purchase "dream furloughs" -- periods of intense REM sleep that may last between twenty-four hours and six months -- that give them an opportunity to act out their wildest, deepest fantasies and desires, all without fear of consequences. When they awaken, they return to their normal lives.
The Dreamers are looked after by Cogzants: members of the working class who, themselves, have no hope of ever dreaming. Dreams are big business and it is the responsibility of the Cogzants to safeguard the minds and bodies of their Dreamers while they slumber. For Elliot, a young Cogzant working in the heart of the metropolis, things are not so simple. He has fallen in love with his Dreamer and has found a way to share her dreams. As their subconscious relationship deepens, Elliot discovers that his actions may have far-reaching consequences beyond the world of the dream. In a desperate race to evade capture and save the woman he loves, Elliot will plunge into the heart of a nightmare that could change the very definition of human consciousness.
So, there it is. My novel idea. This is what I will be working on for the next few months, until the writing start date in November. I'm really excited about this. I've already started to assemble a cast list in my head (Cillian Murphy is an early frontrunner for the role of Elliot) and I'm having a great deal of fun looking into the history of dream research. The (tentative) title comes from the Zhuangzi, a Taoist work from the 8th century:
'Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.'
Because if I'm not hitting you over the head with symbolism, I'm not doing my job as an author.
I'm not sure where I am going to post updates about my NaNo project. I would post them here, of course, but given LJ's track record lately I'm reluctant to start storing things and then have to deal with the fallout of losing them when the site crashes. I've got my bulletin board and in all likelihood I'll probably just throw everything onto a flash drive and make sure that I know where that flash drive is at all times.
Whew. It feels really good getting that synopsis up there. That might have been the hardest part of the process so far.