Do you have dreams that provide ideas or plots for stories? If you do, have you written them?
A year ago, I let go of my last administrative duties as a physician. For 25 years I've been a teacher, researcher, Department Chair of multiple hospitals, on state and national committees in my discipline, president of my group, etc. etc. and this occupied nearly all my scheduled work as well as my free time. Either I didn't dream or my dreams were about work.
Now I've stopped and returned to being a simple clinician--and I love (for the most part) no longer having my prior responsibilities.
And this past year I've started having dreams again, vivid and imaginative dreams. I had another last night, one with a rich landscape and characters with distinct personalities that would make a fine young adult fantasy. I typed the outline when I woke and dropped it into my "stories" folder for later development. The folder is getting rather full.
Nu? Is this normal? Does this happen to you as well? And have you translated any dreams into completed stories?
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
[This message has been edited by History (edited March 05, 2011).]
For the longest time I went without dreams or just didn't remember them. About a year ago my dreams became alive once again. Once this happened I would try to target dreams by thinking of various things I wanted to dream about that night. Sometimes it works out just as planned. And as for using dreams to write stories, Yes. Some of my best ideas come from dreams. I keep a book by my night stand just for occasions such as these. It's not just dreams I use, but right before I sleep, in delirium, I discover new more creative ideas.
All the time...not as often as I like, but often enough. Last year I wrote a rough draft of something that came directly from what seemed like one of the best dreams I ever had.
Of course when I translated it into the printed word (on screen, at least), I found details that I don't remember from the dream, but can't say they weren't there in the first place.
Then again, sometimes it's just a jumping-off point. I had this one dream, where characters from a TV show walked across my point of view, and I was convinced one of them was an imposter. Only the "imposter" point survived into the story, everything else about the dream changed---especially the TV show part.
I had a dream the other night, involving striking gladiators, a picket line to cross, a two-headed woman, and an ogre who proceded to tear the two-headed woman in two. Maybe it'll make a story, or maybe it's some psychoanalitic clue to something that's bothering me. Don't know.
Paraphrasing Rust Hills, author of WRITING IN GENERAL AND THE SHORT STORY IN PARTICULAR (which I strongly recommend), who said something on the order of "Daydreams are bad sources for story ideas, but night dreams, which come from the subconscious, are great sources for story ideas."
Some believe that the subconscious is our connection to "the collective unconscious" that Jung, and others interested in the archetypal journey theory, talk about, and stories that come from the subconscious have a greater tendency to resonate with others because of that.
That said, I used to keep a dream journal (wrote down what I could remember of whatever it was I was dreaming when I woke up), but I stopped because what I was writing down just got to be too weird.
I was just worried that the stars are "right" and I was suddenly susceptible to the dream broadcasts of CTHULHU from his sunken Pacific Ocean crypt in dread R'lyeh.
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BLOOD WILL TELL started as a dream. Of course, I had to add and change a number of things to make it work, but that's where the initial idea came from.
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Well the novel I am submitting now, came from a night dream.
I woke up last night at 2 am, with latest flash and curled up before the wood stove. The idea came from my 4 year old zapping me with a wand, and turning me into a cat.
Then this morning we were driving to swim lessons. And the 7 year old was telling me that ice can be a mile thick in Antartica. Well, from there developed my latest story, tonights and tomorrows project.
So, I dont know, I guess I do both, night and day dreams.
I had a dream Thursday night, one of those that won't let you go after you wake. I took the essence of that dream and turned it into a story that is hands down the one closest to my heart that I've written so far. It's my first story that started not from a "nifty idea," but from raw emotion. I also think it's one of my technically strongest stories in terms of tension and story arc, but I wasn't paying any attention to those details when I wrote it, interestingly enough.
(Unfortunately, it didn't hit JJ Adams' editor cookies...he [or perhaps a slush reader] form-rejected it at Lightspeed in exactly twenty-four hours. Upward and onward; it's at Clarkesworld now.)
I definitely hope I'll have more dreams that give rise to stories like this one.
[This message has been edited by Grayson Morris (edited March 05, 2011).]
[This message has been edited by Grayson Morris (edited March 05, 2011).]
"Some believe that the subconscious is our connection to "the collective unconscious" that Jung, and others interested in the archetypal journey theory, talk about, and stories that come from the subconscious have a greater tendency to resonate with others because of that."
I'm glad someone did this topic. I've thought about doing it but didn't want to take the time. I have a bunch to say about dreams and writing. But right now though I'll just say that at times I have more of what I cal adventure dreams, or story plot dreams, and I think they increase when I write less. So my subconscious and my inner muse are working together to make a way for me to express myself.
And that Jung collective consciousness thing might explain some of my stranger dreams.
Usually the only adventure dreams I have are DOOM dreams. I go forth and slaughter hellspawn.
I did once have a dream that wound up as a scene in one of my books. I think it was less a proper dream than just happened to be when that scene churned forth in complete form -- in the middle of the night. (My scenes usually spring from my fevered brow in very nearly final draft.)
I don't remember my dreams, but when I do I write them down because they often develop into story ideas for me.
The first story I posted here on Hatrack for first 13 reviews came from a dream I had. Of course the dream I had was not as exciting, so I took the liberties of embellishing. Author's privilege and all.
Also, when I am working on a project, I sometimes have had vivid dreams about my project that have broken my writer's block.
Some of my dreams would make a good story..well parts of one anyway. I hardly ever finish the adventure. Like I had a dream about an alien invasion. It started in a very small town that seemed to be cut off from communicating with the other communities around them. So two to four people decide to go investigate. They end up in a small town and discover aliens have taken over the world...or at least that part of it. They decided to stay and fight the aliens. end of dream.
And there's one sort of based in Star Wars. What passed for strom troopers were about to invade a city in space. The thing was a huge globe and was run by a royal family. The royal family were trapped in their apartments and a Hans Solo type of character had connected his ship to a window, so they could break the window and escape that way. No, no Chabacca(?) But there was a young teen boy who was for some reason had to make his way through the poor area of the city to get to the rescue ship. I think he was a friend of the owner. Anyway as he tuns down the dark deserted area someone steps out of the shadows. No, it wasn't Darth Vader even though it was close. Kinda short satire of him . I have no idea how he got into me serious dream. Anyway the boy and him talk and the boy convinces him, he's just a lost boy and goes on. End of dream.
Not sure if I ever will do either of these dreams but I would like to do the second some day. A full book, not just about that adventure.
I have had many other dreams I won't go into detail about but one other I was a scene out of an epic fantasy type of adventure. I will just say that it was small group running from a huge army made up of really bad guys. Actually, I never learned why they were running or why the army was chasing them.
Two of my three novels have come from dreams. Not the dream itself, or even the storyline, but the kernel. Dreams are so fleeting. They can vanish like fog under a hot sun, so if you had a good one, write down some notes quickly!
I pratice free association better with my eyes closed. Then again, maybe so do other authors - I posted a quote from Mary Shelley when a similar subject came up on the forum a few months ago.
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Just had a dream last night that would fit--actually two dreams, but that dream won't be listed here.
The first part was kinda long but like most of my longer dreams I can't recall much about the first part. But I think it may have started with Captain Janeway of Star Trek Voyager(there's a reason, other than if I liked or disliked the show, I might be attracted to Voyager) or but probably was someone very much like her. She came back from being lost in space and ended up talking with someone important but as she did she discovered that something was different. The person had a child who was royalty or something close to royalty. The Captain spoke to someone else who had been with her and said something about the timeline being changed somehow and they had to fix it.
I have incredibly vivid dreams, and I've written several short stories based on those dreams.
Whenever I write my dreams, I'm always sure to do one thing, and that's to write with a focus on the emotions and the details, without trying to explain those details. One of my favorite dreams was this one:
It was incredibly emotional, albeit random. The house I grew up in had turned into a sewing mill. There was a girl, like a homeless workhouse girl from London. My father was a horrible taskmaster. All of these things are completely not true in real life, but they were true in the dream, so I TREAT them as true as I write the story of the dream.
I think that, when people recount or write down dreams, they need to take away every instance of "for some reason..." because reason has no place in a dream. No reason to attempt to explain it... just tell it.
In dreams, settings morph and people change into other people. You experience deep emotion over something illogical, but that's because it's not about the logic. The emotion is real, even if it's not justified. That's why I love dreams, the irrational and raw emotion.
I kept a dream diary for a period in the early 1980s...some interesting stuff, but some of the dreams were so disturbing I wonder about myself right down to this day. On the other hand I did find a few kernels of ideas for stories...
Actually, I was trying to work my way to "lucid dreaming," those dreams where you know you're in a dream and can manipulate the dream around you. Only managed it two or three times in my lifetime.
Gave up the diary after I entered the working world and had to be up...no time to write in it...