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Story Dreams

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have you ever woken up and found yourself scrabbling for a pen and paper or your laptop because you must write down the dream you just had—because it’s the perfect idea for your next manuscript?

I’ve always had vivid dreams—most likely because I’m a night person, so my REM cycles come at the end of my sleep rather than the beginning or middle. In fact, the 200,000-word opus I worked on for almost the entire decade of the 1990s started with a dream I had after my best friend made the offhanded comment about us and our friends, “I wonder where we’ll all be in five years.” I also have an Ideas folder on my computer filled with ideas generated from dreams I’ve had over the years. Most tend to be historical/fantasy with strong romantic threads.

I had another one of these types of dreams the other morning, and I’m starting to think Jeff Gerke may be proven correct that one of these years, I’ll be writing for his Marcher Lord Press. Either that, or I may break my own vow to never write medievals (I’m thinking a fantasy setting would be easier—I’m already familiar with worldbuilding and I prefer that to research sometimes).

It’s rare that a full story comes to me, it’s more that I take ideas from the dream I’m having.

This most recent one included a sister with two brothers. The older brother, the heir to the title (kingdom, earldom, whatever), went off to war and was killed in battle. The younger brother always held out hope that the older brother was still alive. When their father dies, a cousin (or someone) comes in to challenge the younger brother for the title. It is only through the support of a mysterious and “dark” knight (maybe another earl or king in disguise?) that the younger brother is able to claim his inheritance. The only recompense this knight asks is the sister’s hand in marriage. Reluctantly, she agrees to marry him. But because the knight feels the younger brother’s rule is still threatened from outsiders, he decides to stay at the keep to provide support and protection (while also allowing the sister to decide when she is ready to have more than a marriage in name only). But when the knight’s life is threatened by someone who manages to evade all castle security and sneak into his room, the sister must choose between a husband who is a virtual stranger to her and someone much, much closer.

Obviously, it’s rather oblique. But that’s okay. Because when I come back to it in a few years, that little bit will spawn all kinds of interesting possibilities. Or not. But by then, I’ll have had a few dozen other story dreams that I can call on when I need ideas for a new proposal or book.

Have any of your stories ever come from dreams?

13 Comments
  1. Leah permalink
    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:22 am

    Wow that sounds like it would make a really good and interesting book Kaye!
    I never thought about write a story from my dreams, but with how many i’ve been having its not a bad idea!:)
    I should try it!maybe….

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    • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:01 pm

      Now that I’ve gone back and re-read it, I’m thinking maybe it could go sci-fi and/or fantasy (kind of in a Star Wars vein)—otherworldly with space travel but still some old-fashioned/medieval-style customs.

      Next time you’re at a bookstore that has those cute little journal books out on the bargain table, buy one and put it next to your bed and try jotting down the ideas from your dreams a few days a week, just to see what you come up with.

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  2. Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:37 am

    If I hadn’t had a very vivid dream about walking through an antebellum mansion, complete with descriptions of the rooms I peeked into, I would have never written that first manuscript. Funny thing is, most of the dream part has been cut, but it was what started the ball rolling.

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    • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:03 pm

      Now that I don’t have as much interaction with people or see and hear as much during the day that stimulates my imagination, it’s harder for me to come up with viable story ideas. So I feel very blessed that I do have vivid dreams—and that I’m able to stay in bed and let them continue so I can get more out of them.

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  3. Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:39 am

    The manuscript I am working on second draft of now all came from a dream and me scrambling to write it down. Practically fell out of bed trying to write it down. That was in November of 1999. Your dream sounds like a great idea.. I know it has completion and a cover coming soon. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. Now I know I am not the only one.. And that I am not crazy! 😉

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    • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:05 pm

      I wish I had time to work on it! But, alas, must finish The Art of Romance ASAP, because I must start on edits on Ransome’s Quest before 12/17. And then I have to get on the ball and get Turnabout Is Fair Play written, because it’s due April 1!

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  4. Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:55 am

    Well that just sounds awesome!

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    • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:08 pm

      When I get back and have a little extra creative time, you’ll have to help me brainstorm it!

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  5. Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:09 pm

    I’ve had a few good ideas from dreams because I dream very vividly. I get a lot of ideas from daydreams too. You idea sounds very interesting.

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    • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:09 pm

      Directed brainstorming is another one of my favorite ways to generate/work out story ideas. God didn’t give us overactive and vivid imaginations and dreams for nothing!

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  6. adrienne permalink
    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 4:43 pm

    I would love to see that become a book. I already want to know what happens.

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  7. Wednesday, November 17, 2010 8:31 pm

    I have a lot of vivid dreams, that come in spurts. Most of the time I don’t remember them though. Which kinda sucks sometimes because I’ve woken up more than once knowing it would make a great book but I can’t remember a thing about it. Side effect of one of my meds, unfortunately. One that I’m not willing to give up.

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