Monday, August 11, 2014
Mining your Dreams for Writing (2)
"Thanks to my dreams [and NaNoWriMo], November is one of my favorite and most amusing times," says novelist Shirley Letcher. Following up on last Monday's post, here's installment two of her guest blog on how to use dreams as a writing tool:
Mining Your Dreams for Writing
by Shirley Letcher
Dream diaries are a great source of material for any writer. Once you begin a dream diary, you will notice amusing things about your dreams. People often dream in puns or word play. A bottle of perfume (scent) might represent the word ‘sent.’ Sometimes I dream I am trapped in a shower stall. When I have that dream, I know I am ‘stalling’ about something. In another dream, an inebriated gander — hopping on one foot and singing off-key — let me know I was acting like a ‘silly goose.’
Meaning is sometimes obscured by transpositions. In one inscrutable dream I didn’t understand why an old friend and her husband appeared until I realized that the husband’s name was the same as my father. When I re-examined the dream action in terms of my father, the meaning became clear. These subliminal touches are magic when I am writing a scene in a novel or story.
There is another way I use dreams to enhance my writing and my life. This simple technique doesn’t always work, but often it is very successful. Before going to sleep, I think about a question that I want answered, or a situation that I need help with. The next few days I ‘mine’ my dreams for meaning. Using this method, I have found lost things, found creative solutions to problems and had satisfactory answers to questions. Sometimes, I don’t even have to ‘program’ my dreams. When I am involved with interpretations, my subconscious seems to jump on the bandwagon and send me all kinds of good information. Once I had a horrific nightmare about a fire in my basement. On waking, I discovered a frayed wire dangerously close to a pile of dirty rags. My subconscious must have seen the incipient problem and used a nightmare to call it to my attention.
When I am immersed in writing a novel, such as in November when I participate in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) challenge, my dreams pitch in and help. I have had my characters appear in my dreams and inform me that the scene I’d written didn’t work for them. I’ve had them scold me for making them do something they ‘wouldn’t do.’ I had solutions to a sticky situation handed to me in colorful detail. On one occasion, a flamboyant character appeared and insisted on being written in. Thanks to my dreams, November is one of my favorite and most amusing times.
In conclusion, I urge you to explore the wonders of your dreams. Not only will it enhance your writing, it will add richness to your life.
Books I recommend:
Dream Power and The Dream Game by Dr. Ann Faraday, PhD
Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis Palumbo