Sunday, October 9, 2011

All in a Dream

Authors frequently get asked where they get all their ideas from? Some people seem to think all they do is 'dream up' their stories. No, most authors go about creating their characters and plots very methodically. For the most part, dreams are too fragmented, too illogical to be of any use. But once in a while, I have a dream that... .

When I was a kid, there were two bouts of illness that produced fever-induced dreams. Both times, the dreams consisted of hearing people roller skating on the floor above, back and forth, and occasionally someone would knock over one of mom's favorite lamps, shattering it. Auditory hallucinations, I believe, because there was no floor above, nobody was roller skating, and none of mom's lamps got broke. That particular dream does not lend itself to being converted into a story.

However, a recent bout of flu that had me sleeping 12 or more hours a day while I fought through it left me with memories of several dreams that were ... interesting. Now, please understand that even these interesting dreams will not transfer, whole cloth, into good stories, but they might provide an idea, a spark, for a good story. A piece of a dream from decades ago provided the idea for the opening scene of a story I wrote way back then. It stayed the opening scene through some rewrites, but eventually, I faced the fact that it really did not fit the culture of the spaceship that was the setting, so the scene was changed beyond recognition. Possibly even yanked and replaced, it changed so much. Still, it provided the inspiration that started the story, which I might not have ever written, without that dream's scene to get me started.

In another sense of 'dream', I was notified a couple days ago, that I placed within the top 100 of my category in the 80th Annual Writer's Digest Contest. So, several cartwheels later, it eventually dawned on me that this gives me something to put in my query letters, in that final paragraph that's supposed to tell the editor/agent something about me and my skills. Yes, it was 86th place in my category, but if that's good enough to be considered a win by Writer's Digest, then it's good enough for me! Now, if I can just get my computer up here on Cloud 9 with me so I can keep on writing...

No comments:

Post a Comment