Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dream your novel

"In the summer of the year 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm house. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effect of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in 'Purchas's Pilgrimage:' 'Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto: and thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall.' The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two or three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a man, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to the room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast."

"Like the ideas for some of my other novels, [the idea for Misery] came to me in a dream. In fact, it happened when I was on Concord, flying over here, to Brown's. I fell asleep on the plane, and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. His skin, the writer's skin. I said to myself, 'I have to write this story.' Of course, the plot changed quite a bit in the telling. But I wrote the first forty or fifty pages right on the landing here, between the ground floor and the first floor of the hotel."

"Another time, when I got road-blocked in my novel It, I had a dream about leeches inside discarded refrigerators. I immediately woke up and thought, 'That is where this is supposed to go.' Dreams are just another part of life. To me, it's like seeing something on the street you can use in your fiction. You take it and plug it right in. Writers are scavengers by nature."

-- Stephen King

"I woke up from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. Though I had a million things to do, I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple's story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write — something I hadn't done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering. But I didn't want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters "he" and "she." From that point on, not one day passed that I did not write something. "

- Stephenie Meyer

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Bad dreams can be good for you

Dream journals for writing inspiration and ideas

Keeping a dream journal

Your dream journal

Famous dreams and the creative works they inspired

1 comment:

Helena said...

The great thing about dreams (and really honest daydreaming)is that the subconscious can free itself up and start telling its own stories.

So far I've never used a dream as the starting point in a plot, but since I'm a champion daydreamer I can still get my ideas for stories. Trouble is, I can sometimes daydream reality away. Hence one of my favorite short stories and favorite old movies is Walter Mitty.