Thursday, June 10, 2010

On dreams and writing

As the TriMu blog is currently on hiatus, I'm going to steal some of the questions which were asked for our "Mailbag Monday" posts and answer them here. You guys won't object to that, right?

Back in February Heather Y asked: Do you ever dream about your characters after you've written their story?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: (come on, you knew that one was coming.) Not that I remember once I wake up in the morning. Once I start writing a character they seem pretty content to live on the page and in my conscious mind. Characters typically have well defined personalities in my head by the time I start actively writing them, which doesn't tend to meld well with the more random nature of dreams. That said, often when I'm blocked and thinking about the story before I go to bed, I wake up with the answer of how to fix whatever issue I was banging my head against the night before, so something must happen while I'm asleep. But I never remember specifically dreaming about the characters.

That is addressing dreams and characters specifically after I've written their stories. Some characters (or whole plots) first appear to me in my dreams. I wake up with amazing stories or people suddenly behind my eyes and if I dismiss them, the dreams occasionally reoccur. It's like I'm not paying attention to them in my conscious mind, so they are going to come play while I'm asleep. That, or they are saying "hey dummy, you missed us the first time we showed up, so here we are again." But once I start writing these characters down, start fleshing them out, they stop visiting my dreams. (I think there might be a story in that somewhere . . . ) Dreams don't always make the most sense and pieces of dreams slip away very quickly so the characters I find in dreams tend to change drastically by the time they reach the page, but I have at least one short story in particular (and if anyone knows of a publisher looking for a 10k word light-hearted urban fantasy about angels, let me know because this story needs a home) that I woke up with the whole story right there, just waiting to be written down.

I chose this question for today because last night I had one of those story dreams. A very epic dream which left me waking with a whole cluster of people in my head and even a plot to go with them. And when I say epic, I mean epic high fantasy, which, unfortunately, I don't currently write. I've jotted down the most pertinent details of the dream down and I hope to one day (when my writing dance card isn't quite so full) come back to the idea, but for now, I must be content to simply dream about these characters.

So what about you? If you write, do you dream about your characters? Do you dream about other writer's characters? (I do this. No visits from mine, but many many visits from characters I meet in other writer's works.) Do you remember your dreams when you wake?

Happy Thursday everyone! Oh yeah, and before I forget, don't miss checking out my latest post over at the Magic District on Writing the easy part.

Sweet dreams. ^_~


Simon said...

I wrote this one a while ago.
Looking back on it now is almost painful, I spot all the bit I could have done better or changed. If I tried to write it again I hope I would do a much better job on it. It changed a bit when I tried to put it all into words, since I saw in my head first as images.

Marcia Colette said...

I daydream about my characters more than dream about them. As for other characters, not once. I've put myself in their place during certain scenes, but that's about it. I can gaurantee that my situation is always different from the way it turns out in the book.

Naomi said...

I dream about two specific characters every now and then, but I think that's because I've been writing about them for almost ten years on and off, so it seems inevitable that they'd creep into my subconscious!