Thursday, June 13, 2013

I’m No Dreamweaver

by Alan

Do you ever dream about your characters? Or other people’s?

To the best of my recollection, I have never dreamed about my characters. Nor about anyone else’s characters.

Most of the people populating my dreams are real—family members, friends, people I’ve met, people I’ve seen in movies or on TV (the actors, not the characters they play, weirdly).colored spiral

Some people like to analyze dreams, putting a lot of stock in what they mean. I’m not one of those people. I believe that dreams are simply a way for my subconscious to blow off a little steam (or a lot of steam, depending on the dream). I don’t think I’d make a very good subject for a psychology experiment.

That’s not to say that my nighttime slumbering isn’t ever productive. Sometimes I will cadge a bit of dialogue from a dream and try to work it into something I’m writing. Like Tracy described in her post yesterday, I’ll wake up, scribble a few ephemeral snatches of something witty or clever on a piece of paper on my nightstand. In the morning, I’m disappointed when it reads, “Mfxxth Strxtmet. WACHNRVPQ!”

Also, on occasion, I’ll get an idea in the middle of the night. When I was at Sleuthfest last year, I woke up one morning at 4 a.m. with a mostly-fully-formed concept for a thriller with a dynamite premise.

Maybe I should take a nap now. I could use another great idea!


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Wow, after reading the blog posts so far for this week, I'm convinced I'm the only one who dreams about their characters. Many a plot block has been overcome via dreams and a nice hot shower.

Catriona McPherson said...

Thank you, Sue! I was getting a strong sense of "Just me then". I dream about my characters, mixed in with real people, mixed in with other fictional characters - The Big Bang Theory peeps are frequent overnight guests.

Nothing useful, but still nice to see them.

Like when you dream about loved ones who've died. It's always lovely to wake up thinking you've seen them again. (Just me on that?)

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann - I'm with you on the shower (that doesn't sound quite right, does it?).

Catriona - I'm with you on the dead relatives (sounds only marginally better).

Keith Raffel said...

Alan, you only dream about people you know? Scarlett tells me she is heartbroken.

Alan Orloff said...

Keith - No, I dream about REAL people. Sometimes they're famous people I don't know. Sorry to hear about Scarlett, tho... (I hate to disappoint people.)

Robin Spano said...

So you'll dream about your characters only when the movie is made, and then it won't actually be your characters, it will be the actors who play them.

Alan Orloff said...

Yes, Robin. You've got it! And welcome to the blog!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I don't ever dream about my characters. :) And my dreams about real people make no sense at all, either. Certainly nothing to get book ideas from! I'm always amazed by folks who do dream about characters. Maybe we should think about our made up folks before we turn in.

WBKnister said...

I don't "do" drugs, but once or twice a week I use a sedative to help me sleep. As often as not when I do this, I experience dreams I can remember. This is not otherwise the case. But the simple truth is that, other than being momentarily interesting to me on waking, I rarely find much in dreams that I can use as a writer. Sorry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, no Kubla Khan today.