Hatrack River Writers Workshop   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Late night writing

   
Author Topic: Late night writing
pdblake
Member
Member # 9218

 - posted      Profile for pdblake   Email pdblake         Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, if you've read my intro thread you'll see that I brew my own beer and wine. I also grow my own veg and fruit and cook pretty much everything I eat. I also drink the beer and wine I make. I never get what, over here, we call fall over drunk, but I do get a bit wibbly (at the moment I'm drinking home made cider and making less and less sense by the moment).

Now, when wibbly, or when ill(not drunk ill, but ill as in not well), I have really weird dreams which come out as brilliant ideas for stories but, writing for real is a no-no. If I write when drunk I can write for hours but all I get is gibberish. Though, when I finally give in and go to bed, the dreams I have always get written down (providing they make sense), except those involving Kylie Minogue (something's gotta stay inside the head).

So, my question is: do you lot write when drunk, or do you just write down the odd ideas and see if they make sense later, and what odd ideas did you get when drunk?


Please put down any mistycakes to the home made beer

Edit: I just read that back and it made sense. I need another drink

[This message has been edited by pdblake (edited August 29, 2010).]


Posts: 778 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post 
Never gotten drunk so I can't respond to that question but I do dream interesting dreams. I still recall a couple from years ago I would like someday to plug into a story or novel. One was part of a classical fantasy adventure. I have written two stories form dreams. That is parts of the stories were from dreams I woke up before the story was done so I had to make up the rest of it. However most of the time I can't recall enough when I get up to remember why the dream was good story. I wake after the dream and try to think it over half a dozen times or so but that usually doesn't help me to recall it in the morning.

I've dreamed Harry Dresden, Honor Harrington, Star Trek-there's an interesting TOS and Borg dream I still mostly remember-Murder She Wrote and one from a book I was reading but I mixed up the main character with a character from a different book. I mean mixed up, my dream MC had characteristics from both "people".

I have written while falling asleep. And that produces gibberish. If I'm hand writing, I can't figure out whole sentences later. If I'm typing it's usually only one or two phrases I can't figure out.


Posts: 5289 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TrishaH24
Member
Member # 8673

 - posted      Profile for TrishaH24   Email TrishaH24         Edit/Delete Post 
Usually when I'm drunk, I think I'm a genius and that everything I write is gold. Of course on further examination (after several hours of dead-to-the-world sleep), I find that what I have written is generally useless and complete and utter nonsense. Of course it is rare that I get this inebriated, but it has happened.

Now as far as dreaming things that are usable, I can't say that story comes to me that way. However, whenever I'm stuck on something, I'll eventually have a dream and it's like the problem unlocks itself. Of course this doesn't happen every single time, and I can't force this kind of "fix" but it's quite convenient when it does.

I've got to say, though, I'm jealous that you get pieces of story when you sleep. Maybe I should start brewing my own beer...


Posts: 184 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post 
Haven't been drunk since I was twelve, and have avoided drunk / stoned / high ever since. Before my writing career, really, so I don't know what affect it would have on my writing. I'm inclined to think, based on what I've seen others put out, that I might put out some very interesting stuff at first, but eventually, and sooner rather than later, I'd be writing crap.

I mean, crappier than the crap I write right now---sober.


Posts: 8809 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rhaythe
Member
Member # 7857

 - posted      Profile for Rhaythe   Email Rhaythe         Edit/Delete Post 
I woke up at 1:18 yesterday morning with a jolt and disturbed my wife. She rolled over and asked what was wrong. I kind of said, "Umm," for a moment.

She rolled back over. "Well, hurry up and go write your idea down, then." And she went back to sleep. I have a rough outline for Nanowrimo 2010 now.


Posts: 487 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pdblake
Member
Member # 9218

 - posted      Profile for pdblake   Email pdblake         Edit/Delete Post 
We seem to have a consensus that drunk writing is a no-no, whereas weird dreams are good

I must get another writing pad for the bedside table


Posts: 778 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Owasm
Member
Member # 8501

 - posted      Profile for Owasm   Email Owasm         Edit/Delete Post 
I've gotten some good ideas that percolated from my subconscious in the middle of the night. Usually, I just lie there and let them evaporate into the darkness.

In the cold light of dawn, however those ideas somehow aren't quite the next great thing, but generally are workable into some kind of shape or a great trigger for something else.


Posts: 1608 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post 
Oh yeah, weird dreams = good ideas, drunken stoned dreams = less good without putting a lot more work into it.
Posts: 8809 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post 
Paraphrasing Rust Hills (author of one of my favorite writing books to recommend: WRITING IN GENERAL AND THE SHORT STORY IN PARTICULAR): because night dreams come from the subconscious, they are much better story sources than day dreams, which are just wish-fulfillment ideas. So he strongly recommends getting story ideas from your night dreams.

I kept a dream journal for a couple of weeks--wrote down a summary of whatever I was dreaming when I woke up--the instant I woke up (if you don't do that, you'll forget the dream very quickly)--and had to stop because I was too weirded out by what I was dreaming.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited August 31, 2010).]


Posts: 8826 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post 

"I kept a dream journal for a couple of weeks--wrote down a summary of whatever I was dreaming when I woke up--the instant I woke up (if you don't do that, you'll forget the dream very quickly)--and had to stop because I was too weirded out by what I was dreaming.

Kathleen Dalton Woodbury "

I don't need a journal to know I dream weird at times.

I remember enough to know that. But at the same time I also remember enough to know my dreams are usually story ideas. I'm either watching it like a TV show or being a character in it. Sometimes the first part is TV but suddenly I'm in it.

A notepad wouldn't do me any good, I don't have a place to put it on my side of the bed and I'm not sure if I could get myself awake enough to do it.


Posts: 5289 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe it's my Artist blood talking, or the glass of wine I'm sipping on. Drunk has never worked for me, but a glass or two of wine or a beer sometimes relaxes me enough to slow down a thousand thoughts whirling threw my head. Though as an Artist I have drawn some crazy stuff when I've had one to many, some really good, and some just garbage. Writing is tough drunk. I do tend to think up really great ideas sometimes when at home or a bar relaxing having a couple, but just like night dreams you have to somehow get the ideas noted so when you recover you can remember what you were thinking about. Some of my best business advertisements were conceived of while drinking, but the technical skills start to fall to the wayside quickly, while the imagination tends to take off for me. I grew up around environments kind of like what you see on 'Mad Men' where you could drink on the job as long as it didn't hurt your performance.

But no, you can't really get drunk and write effectively. So if you're trying to get 500 words or something done I wouldn't suggest drinking, but if your searching for that new great idea having a drink or two can be a lot like dreaming. It puts you into a relaxed frame of mind that can now drift threw whatever your imagination can conceive of. Which I feel is broader than when your mind is in a guarded mode. I've been up against some serious deadlines before, and a drink will calm me enough to let the ideas flow, plus a small lounge bar for me, somewhere classy, has a vibe that really helps my creative juice's flow, I'll never understand the whole coffee shop thing; it never worked for me.

W.


Posts: 634 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
J
Member
Member # 2197

 - posted      Profile for J   Email J         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
But no, you can't really get drunk and write effectively.

Speak for yourself . . . .


Posts: 683 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post 
Never been drunk before, but I do find myself in a very interesting mental state at about 2 am. Being groggy from sleepiness has interesting side effects...
Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pdblake
Member
Member # 9218

 - posted      Profile for pdblake   Email pdblake         Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe we could get Snapper to set up a drunk writing challenge

Write a story sober then the next night write it again after several large measures of home made cider (which I just happen to have a barrel of)

For purely academic purposes of course

[This message has been edited by pdblake (edited September 01, 2010).]


Posts: 778 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post 
Excess alcohol gives me a headache. Not a hangover per se, though perhaps it's like a hangover without the preceding wobbly bit. Sort of automatic anti-intoxication protection.

I quite like the idea of using those subconscious echoes that linger in our waking moments for story material. To me, the most memorable reference to this was Mary Shelley's 1831 introduction to Frankenstein, in which she writes

quote:
When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images ... vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw - with shut eyes, but acute mental vision - ... the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening curtains and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.
I opened mine in terror. The idea so possessed my mind that a thrill of fear ran through me...
Swift... was the idea that broke in upon me. 'I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.'


Posts: 921 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post 
On dream diaries...I kept one for about a year in the early eighties. Wrote down some scribbled notes immediately on waking...typed them up later.

I learned:

(1) Nearly everything I dreamed related in some way to things I'd been exposed to, usually recently. An enormous number of characters from TV shows and books moved through, often in locations where I knew they never were or couldn't ever be. (People I knew populated the dreams about as frequently.)

(2) This immediacy (if that's the right word) convinced me that one theory about dreams was right---that they don't have any deep and inner meeting unless you want them to.

(3) I'm still haunted by some of the imagery I dreamed then, particularly that which has me doing things sinister and evil and shameful.

(4) Some of the "dream guides" I read at the time said writing one's dreams down would lead to so-called "lucid dreaming"---where you actually exercise some measure of control over what goes on in your dreams. I only managed this once during this period (and once long after).

(5) A scribbled-down note made immediately on waking is often [/i]very[/i] hard to read during the day after.

(6) And, in particular, dreams were a useful source for story ideas.

I had to give it up when I entered the working world---I found I didn't have the time to work on it, and, with some three or four months of notes untyped, I let it go. But the experience remained.


Posts: 8809 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post 
Unfortunately, I rarely remember my dreams because I don't wake up from them. That said, BLOOD WILL TELL did start from a dream I did wake up from and remember.
Posts: 4633 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PB&Jenny
Member
Member # 9200

 - posted      Profile for PB&Jenny   Email PB&Jenny         Edit/Delete Post 
I've never written anything being drunk nor ever had the desire to.

Dreaming has been a rare inspirational source for me as all the dreams I do remember are about things that just happened to me in the previous week. I think my dreamer is broken.


Posts: 365 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pdblake
Member
Member # 9218

 - posted      Profile for pdblake   Email pdblake         Edit/Delete Post 
"I think my dreamer is broken." There's a trigger there
Posts: 778 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post 
I think some people are capable of producing fantastic things while drunk or stoned.

Does that mean it works for everyone? Hardly. In fact, if it's a social drinker/toker, it's very unlikely they will produce anything of value.

Why? They aren't accustomed to the experience. And I don't mean just mentally, but physically too.

Stoners or Alcoholics may be able to harness this sense of coherence only because they're so accustomed to the effects.

Furthermore, I feel the need to say, that being an alcholic or stoner does not immediately make one better. It utilizes what one already has. In effect, they could be the same person without the drugs. Though certainly they'd be writing different things.

If you're drunk and have what you think to be a good idea; don't just go "Oh man I'm drunk." No! Take a few seconds to scratch it down briefly.

Yeah, chances are it'll be crap, but I've learned to never underestimate any idea. Drunk, sleeping, or otherwise.

Just my input.

Edited for fantastic mistakes. >.>

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited September 01, 2010).]


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rhaythe
Member
Member # 7857

 - posted      Profile for Rhaythe   Email Rhaythe         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Dreaming has been a rare inspirational source for me as all the dreams I do remember are about things that just happened to me in the previous week. I think my dreamer is broken.

The only dreams I ever remember are nightmare that are bad enough to wake me up. The last one that I can think of involved my wife dying for an unknown reason. I remember going to sleep in the dream, thinking about how horribly silent the room was. Then, when I woke up, my wife was still gone.

She had gone to her parents' house that weekend. That was a bad morning.


Posts: 487 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post 
They dream fantastic ideas when drunk or stoned...ah, but are they drunk or stoned when they're writing them down? And, if the answer is yes, is the result any good?

I keep in mind some comments in The Beatles Anthology. They might write a song while high, but when it got down to the studio work, if they were stoned, the end result was...well, Ringo Starr made a pungent comment. Also, when that happened, they had to do it all over again. (Of course they were also regularly smoking pot in the studio once they were introduced to it...)


Posts: 8809 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post 
@ J - I stand corrected. It doesn't work for me, but could work for others.

This is one of those subjects that there is no right or wrong answer.

Everyone has different rituals that get the creative juices flowing. I say if whatever you do that gets the story down and written, more power to you, but as for right or wrongs, that is going to be different for everyone. The important thing is--Can you complete the story and will it get published. Everything else is just the history of it's evolution. Sober-Not sober, doesn't matter unless it hinders you from completing the work. Do what you need to do to get the job done, get paid, become famous, then write your biography and get paid again for all these little details.

Cheers! (Raises glass) May we all become famous writers!

W.



Posts: 634 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post 
Some people can get a similar kind of "mental relaxation" to what you describe, walexander, by meditating.

Others get great ideas by brainstorming with friends (we do some of that here, on occasion, and I think it would be cool if we could do more of it here).

Good point, Robert, on the difference in mind states when you get an idea from when you do the writing. Minds are pretty complicated, and I wouldn't be surprised if different parts are involved in different aspects of the creative process.


Posts: 8826 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
They dream fantastic ideas when drunk or stoned...ah, but are they drunk or stoned when they're writing them down? And, if the answer is yes, is the result any good?

I feel anyone can have fantastic and usable ideas while drunk/stoned. Just as likely, terrible and unusable ones. That being said, I feel only the truly accustomed users can actually write well while in such a state.

And again, so I don't have anyone thinking I'm telling everyone to go become a stoner or a drunk: It does not make you any better a writer. It only makes you write in a different manner; perhaps about different things.

This is all of course, my own limited experience.


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post 
@ KDW,

I actually agree - if you have the patience, and have the peaceful surroundings to meditate, it is a wonderful way to let idea's flow.

When I paint I love to have music or TV going, but when I try and write I love it to be quiet, and all I hear is that internal voice, but I know some writers that say they do better with music on. To me this is to distracting, but again it's ironic that when I'm thinking up ideas, I like music and active environments. I know this is different for everyone - that's all I was trying to point out. I don't drink to write or draw - I drink to relax. The fact that sometimes good ideas come about is purely coincidental.

and I don't want to give the wrong idea - I'll have a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail on occasion - but it's not like - OH! I need an Idea--Time to get drunk! Yeeeh HAA! - For some reason that line just reminded me of that Jackie Chan kung fu film Drunken Master where their kung fu style got better as they drank more .

LOL, A new style of writing to be added - Drunken Kung Fu Writing Style. This could be the name of the a new writing challenge after snappers.

Master of the Drunken Kung Fu - Definition: A Persons whose abilities improve as they drink. There's a Trigger in this.

Funny the things you think of when just ranting.

W.


Posts: 634 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post 
When I write, and also when I'm online, I generally have something on in the background, sometimes music but usually the TV in the next room, and usually a cable news channel. But if I'm really into what I'm doing, I don't hear it.

Once I was writing, and when I came up for air I discovered the cable channel was running a story about a horrific airplane crash---and had been for over a half hour. I hadn't noticed.

*****

When I have the dream, and the dream is the idea...the dream is not the writing of the idea, nor is it the pulling-together that makes the idea the story. Often as not, whatever I dreamed up doesn't make it into the story itself.

I had one dream idea, where I saw some people walk across my own point of view, the last one being a character from a TV cartoon sitcom of some years ago. (Also not from the one I did fanfic for.) I got the impression that this one was not the character / person, but an impostor, a plant of some kind.

In my waking state, when I actually did the work, I had to think up a number of things to justify the thought---and also see to it that I wasn't writing about the character from the TV cartoon, but a character of my own. In the end, in the story, this character didn't walk across anybody's point of view, and this "anybody" didn't get any impressions---the character / impostor was the viewpoint character in the end. (What the hell...the story's up at my website. It's called "Plant Girl.")

So it's a lot of hard work turning a dream into an idea, and then into a story...


Posts: 8809 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bemused
Member
Member # 8465

 - posted      Profile for bemused   Email bemused         Edit/Delete Post 
This talk of late night writing and dream inspiration reminded me of an essay Neil Gaiman wrote about the question "Where do you get your ideas?" You can find it here on his website.

He makes an important point that dream logic is not the same as story logic. They unfold in very different ways, which is why you can never really just transcribe a dream and get a good story from it.

That being said, I have definitely found inspiration from dreams (day dreams and night dreams). Often times itís the spark of an idea, or an image or scene and an emotion that lingers after waking that leaves an impression on me and I know there is a story to be told from that.

I think that is in line with what many have said already in the thread, late nights writing drunken or dreaming may prove to be a source for inspiration, but when it becomes time for the writing its best to have your faculties about you (unless you are of the drunken master variety).

*edited to fix link*

[This message has been edited by bemused (edited September 02, 2010).]


Posts: 99 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post 
Ish not reallly a long term solushun, iz it? Jrinkin' ah mean.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited September 02, 2010).]


Posts: 2995 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2