Dreaming Fiction

The night before last I  dreamed–or is it dreamt– that I had written the perfect novel. Actually, the dream was about the parts and the process of my novel coming together — the outline, the plot, characterization, the  dialog. And there was a good balance between showing and telling. Even the title was perfect. 

Though I was aware that I was dreaming, I was so excited that at last I was finally out of the rut I’d written myself into. I kept telling myself that I needed to remember all this so I could write it down when I woke up. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember any of the details except my heroine’s face.  But I  did remember the feeling of excitement that my novel had finally come together and the sense of accomplishment  that it was finally finished. 

 I started thinking about the role that dreams have played in my writing. There was a time in my life when I had strange dreams.  I tried to turn  several of these into short stories of the speculative fiction type. Note that I used the word “tried”.  My attempts to do this were not successful. The dreams were much more interesting–to me–than the short stories. 

Has  anyone been able to dream fiction successfully?

Claude Mary


10 thoughts on “Dreaming Fiction

  1. I’m not sure if ‘successful’ translates to sold for me, but I will dream a scene that has worked. I love my weird dreams, even the scary ones.
    If nothing else, they are quite entertaining to DH in the morning.

  2. What is it with us the freakin’ dreams??? I have the most bizarre, disjointed dreams you can imagine — often about huge houses: that we’ve bought a house, and as I walk through, I think I’ve seen everything, then I open a door I hadn’t noticed before, and there’s a whole other freakin’ house on the other side. Once I dreamed that my oldest sister moved into a new house, and we drove through the front door, got out and went into the living room. She said, “Let me show you the rest of the house,” and we got in the car and drove down these two-lane streets that served as hallways to each room.

    Odd because she’s not a creative type . . . when I told her about the dream, she was, like, “OMG, I have those dreams all the time!”

    I can’t recall ever dreaming anything that worked for me, Claude Mary, but I have heard Sharon Sala say in the past that she dreams a LOT of her stuff.

  3. Hey, we’re writers! There’s no such thing as a weird dream for us! I have had dreams about my late husband – very ordinary dreams of us talking about ordinary things like laundry. They are very comforting to me.

    I too have dreamed scenes that have worked in my novels. That’s why I find pictures of my characters so I will have a face for them in case I dream about them. Then I know which book they are from!

    I kept having the same dream about a house at the edge of a cliff in Dunwich England. I am in a carriage going up this tree-lined foggy driveway, That is the opening of my second novel.

    Then again, if I eat the wrong thing I have some of the strangest dreams. Especially the one about showing up for an exam for a class I have never attended.

  4. My first book was written entirely from a dream. I always dream deeply and heavily. I have very vivid dreams, too. Many times I wake up thinking the dream was real life and it will take me all day to pull myself out of it. 🙂

  5. I’m impressed that your first book was written from a dream. Did you have to make major changes to make the dream fit the book? I tried this with a speculative fiction short story taken from a dream I had. To make it appeal to others I had to change parts of the dream and when I did the story didn’t seem to work. I never finished the story although I did look at it a few months ago to see if I could do something with it.

    Claude Mary

  6. I had to make MAJOR changes, actually. But I still had the same basic plot idea. I’m only on my second story, so my first one was re-written to the point of death. I think one day I will go back to it. I love my first H/H to much to give up on them completely, but for now, I needed to move on.
    But I have dreamed some scenes of my current WIP.

  7. Claude Mary,
    I had looked at a beautifully done black and white photo of the tree-lined drive a few days before I had the dream. I wanted to write something to incorporate what I felt when I looked at the photo. After the dream I knew what the story had to be!

  8. I have a feeling that my current novel will end up being a piece of conceptual art–I’ll keep it in a large ring binder in my book shelf and it will be labeled ‘First Novel’. I’m ready to go one to the next.

    I’ve looked at paintings, photographs, drawings and have felt there was a story. Usually this happens with photos or artwork with roads or sometimes with people but I’ve never pursued the feeling. I think this might be a good rutbreaking exercise for me. I’m going to try it.

    Claude Mary

  9. A few times, I’ve had dreams that awaken me with promise, but the next morning, when I read the notes I wrote down, they don’t make sense. Otherwise, my dreams follow my life. If things are going well, I don’t dream. But if life sucks, I dream weird. But nothing anyone would pay to read.

  10. If I don’t dream at all then something is usually very worng with me and I don’t feel rested. I need to have at least a sense of having had a dream or I don’t feel like myself.

    Claude Mary

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