Writers are dreamers. We dream of worlds and characters and try to make them come alive on the page.
We also dream at night. Sometimes I wake up from a vivid dream and think, “I have to make that into a story.” Then I’ll either get up and write it down or think in my sleep haze that I’ll remember it in the morning.
Last night, was one of the latter. I woke up thinking it was the middle of the night, but I had only been in bed an hour. That was disconcerting because the dream time had been much longer. I remember thinking that my nightmare would make an excellent story. Then my eyes closed and I went back to sleep.
This morning when I got up to write my dream down, all I could remember was the line, “Toys don’t play with themselves.” I also remember an image of a clock running both forwards and backswards in time simultaneously.
Needless to say, as terrifying as the dream might have been, the fear didn’t last. Also, I should never eat a Stromboli close to my bed time.
The problems with dreams is that even if you do remember them, they are usually disjointed. I’ve only had one dream that was a decent storyline that I could turn into a story. It involved a man in a lime-green suit who ran a chamber of horrors wax museum where the wax figures were actually real figures encased in wax.
Luckily, I had a pen and paper on the nightstand next to me and wrote down what I remembered when I first woke up. Of course, some of my night writing was chicken scratch that I couldn’t read and some of what I could read didn’t make sense. Enough did that I could turn it into a story.
Once, a few months ago, I recorded what I had dreamed on my phone. I am pretty sure that t is probably recorded pretty close to the way I dreamed it. I am also pretty sure that should I ever have a mental competency hearing, it will be played as evidence that I should be locked it.
Despite not having dreams that come out as fully outlined stories, I still think they are great sources for ideas. I might not get stories from them, but I sometimes get characters or settings. It might just be an image that I remember.
The beauty of dreams is that your subconscious is unlocked from the waking restraints you place on them. When that happens, some unlikely things emerge, which may be just what a writer needs to create a memorable character or scene.
So keep a piece a paper and pen by your bed or use a recording app. Record those dreams that disturb you enough to wake you up. Even if you can’t use them in your writing, you may get a good laugh.
Here are some other posts you might like: