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Dreaming It Up

Last night, I fell asleep trying to untangle a seriously knotty plot issue. I often set my brain to work on these issues before bedtime, and every now and then it pays off and I'm awakened by my subconscious at 3 AM with the answer.

Sometimes, it's one of those answers that only seems brilliant at 3 AM. Other times, it's exactly what's needed (including lines of dialogue or fabulously-crafted bits of narrative that I take down and use verbatim.) Last night, my brain's response came in the form of one seriously bizarre, convoluted, and colorful dream where I was simultaneously my story's heroine, myself (as the story's author), and a mysterious third party who was witnessing and directing the twisty action. And getting increasingly frustrated when the characters (who included members of my critique group) refused to stay on script and do what I wanted.

Gee, that's not so different from my everyday writing life.

Still, as I lay in bed this morning, I found there were some intriguing elements in that strange dream, snippets of creativity tossed up from the depths. I'll explore them in the coming days, seining for the best and tossing back all the others to grow into keepers for another night.

How about the rest of you? Do you ever dream about your works in progress? Are you one of those lucky folks who dream the entire plot from start to finish, or is is all just a bunch of churned up gumbo? Do you believe that dreams can help enhance a creative work?


I love to use my dreams to help solve problems. I rarely dream about my WIP or its characters, but if I have a writing problem, I'll frequently dream about something else that will give me a clue to the solution.
Sheila said…
A dream is how I started the WIP I'm working on. Trying to make it a series and I just finished #2. Working on #3. Love dream help.

It's nice to know we're firing on multiple cylinders--sometimes, anyway. :)
Joni Rodgers said…
Not just full-on dream sleep but that drifting stage of pre-sleep. I think relaxing the grasp on daily busyness and mind-bollixing issues clears the way for creative thought. Wish I could do it at will.
Lark Howard said…
I've had many a 4:00am epiphany in a half-conscious state. Scenes play out with dialogue that I even sometimes remember later. Full plots? I wish. Still, it's amazing how creative the mind can be when no one's paying attention.
Suzan Harden said…
Sometimes my subconscious mind is way smarter than the rest of my brain. In fact, she came up with the solution for a sticking point in wip I sat aside back in January.

I'll have to leave out the part about Neil Gaiman belonging to a race of shape-shifting guinea pigs though.
Shape shifting guinea pigs? Neil Gaiman? Sounds like a bestseller to me! LOL.

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