Dreaming up books

Wednesday November 24, 2010 @ 02:53 PM (UTC)

For the second time in recent months, I’ve woken up from a dream that I rapidly realized could be a novel idea. I scrambled out of bed and found my writing notebook and started scribbling notes. This is still a really weird sensation for me — I’m used to dreams where everything Makes Perfect Sense that, upon waking examination, Doesn’t. But these have a few plot threads which do make sense, and a bunch of images or characters I find really compelling. In this dream, I had the advantage of seeing it as an unfolding fiction while I was in it, and having a spectator along (my mom, I think?) to whom I had to explain world elements.

I have no good explanation for this, and I’m almost ashamed to talk about it publicly. I know it’s my own brain, and I put all the stuff into that subconscious soup that’s now bubbling to the surface, but it feels too easy. It’s like cheating. It’s like a gift.

On the other hand, maybe it’s less of a gift and more of a nag. Maybe my self-conscious wants me to write faster, and won’t stop putting the spurs to me until I pick up the pace….


Alice Walker said the characters in A Color Purple literally showed up and told her the story. Leaving aside that AW is a skochie wackadoo, I endorse that.

Hmm. Oddly, I would classify dreams differently from the “characters talk to me” thing, which is pretty common among writers, esp. literary ones. But I guess you’re right, that’s sort of hairsplitting.

I’ll choose to see it as a gift and as the fruit of exercise. You’ve been writing for a long time, and your brain is getting better at it – a sort of muscle memory thing. Just as when I exercise I can lift things more easily and climb stairs without even thinking about getting winded, when you think about the craft of writing it spills effortlessly into your sleep.

Thanks, Emily, that’s a nice way of thinking about it! I had also entertained the notion that the fantasy side of my brain is chafing under writing long-form science fiction, and wants to magic its way out and have some fun :)

You are very emotional and rich ability.But having a good rest is very helpful for you

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