I believe in dreams. Not just in real life ones, the ones you work to achieve–although I do believe in those. But I also believe in the dreams that come when I’m sleeping.
Every night when I dream, it’s like watching and participating in a movie. I generally recall them when I wake up (and sometimes for months or years afterward), which can sometimes be a blessing or a curse. I don’t talk about them much, because what happens in them freaks the husband out. Suffice it to say, my dreams are not happy joyrides through fields of wildflowers. I don’t consider them nightmares, but I think others beg to differ on that one. (I guess they’re lucky I’ve never told them about the few nightmares I’ve had.)
All right, I’ll admit it. I’m weird. But aren’t we all in our own unique ways?
In any case, in addition to working out life issues in them, they sometimes give me rich, detailed, and complex story ideas. Ideas I would not generally think of during my waking hours. I’m sure a dream therapist would speak to the meaning behind the dreams, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m more interested in the ride. In solving the mystery. In saving whoever is in danger.
Who wouldn’t like being the hero in their own story?
Saturday night, I had a story-worthy dream. In fact, I woke up but decided to go back to sleep because I wanted to find out what happened next. When I got up, I wrote down everything I could remember and saved it in my idea file. Who knows? It could one day turn into a book.
So that’s one of the ways I use my dreams. The other is directed dreams. When I’m struggling with a plot issue and just can’t seem to make headway, I’ll tell myself as I’m going to sleep that I want to dream about a solution to X.
So, here’s my writing tip for the day:
When you get stuck in your writing, try to dream about the scene, and see what your subconscious mind does with it.
It doesn’t always work. But when it does, it is spectacular.