Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Dreams of Writing


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The Bible discusses several ways that God communicated His will to human beings. To some, He spoke directly. To others, He provided visions. Others heard only a voice. But to some, He communicated through dreams in the night.

Many people describe the experience of holding their first published books in their hands as being like a dream come true. Or they will say, "I've dreamed of this moment." But I wonder, how many people can recall an actual dream depicting -- or predicting -- such a situation? Have any of you authors had such an experience?

In a previous post I described having a dream of a situation that became a scene in my novel, Latter-day Cipher. I know of another circumstance in which a dream became a novel, too. Carole Whang Schutter (who had never written a novel) describes a dream she had of a little girl, dressed in 19th century prairie dress, all alone. She began to wonder what episode of U.S. history would have corresponded to that image, and discovered the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. That let to her writing the book, September Dawn.

I'm wondering -- is that an experience that other authors have had?

Questions, I have questions.

Dreams, I have them too. Do you?

14 comments:

Nichole Osborn said...

I have had one dream that I felt was interesting enough to be in a story. Most I really can't remember, but this one was so vivid and so strange that when I woke up, I not only told my kids('cause I knew they would appreciate it) but I wrote it down.
It has become a scene in my first fantasy story.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

I haven't had the experience of dreaming a scene or character, although I'd love to. But I did have an extremely vivid dream just before I sold my first book. I dreamed there was a beautiful lake with green rolling hills and tall trees and the road curved around the bend. I walked along and found a hidden town that filled with elation. It's hard to describe, but I felt that maybe God was trying to tell me that my dream was about to come true. The feeling was so real that I marveled at it all day. I felt strongly that God had spoken to me.

Janet said...

No, I never have. It would be an interesting exercise though, to find out what it was about a particularly riveting dream that captured me and seeing if it could be used in a story.

Nicole said...

I've had dreams where I know God was speaking to me but not for the purpose of a story. Author Kristen Heitzmann has dreamed several of her stories, knowing the dreams were supposed to translate into those stories.

Kathleen Popa said...

My dreams can be rather surreal. If I wrote them into novels, my fiction might resemble Neil Gaiman's Mirrormask. Hmmm...

Lynnette Bonner said...

I have one novel that I'm still working on that started because of a very vivid dream.

I woke up and I knew there was a story in that dream. The book is still in process, so we'll see what comes of it. :)

Lori Benton said...

Very strange that this post should be today's. I had my first sleep-walking episode last night. I remember vividly what I was dreaming about, and what I was actually doing when I woke up (crouched on the floor in my bedroom with my fingers under the bottom edge of the door, trying to pry it open and escape). I seriously want to put that in a book!

Kathleen Popa said...

Lori, you seriously should put that in a book!

Interesting to see what comes of all these dreams.

Latayne C Scott said...

What interesting responses! You are a lively group!

A follow-up question-- Do you know any (good) Christian novels where a dream plays a role in the plot -- and it's still believable?

Nicole said...

The antagonist in The Rook has an absolutely horrible dream--if it doesn't totally creep you out, nothing will.

Bonnie said...

I dream all night long most nights (yes, I'm sleepy) and many of my dreams have wended their way into my stories - either the content, a character, or the "feeling" of the dream.

But, I'm a daydreamer - it's one of my most cherished strengths. And my day dreams have fed my stories for years. And continue to.

I've had a couple of visions too, that happened during prayer times. Those were personal and writing related, but weren't story related.

Most shockingly (aw, forget about it! You people don't shock so easy. It's one of the many things I love about all of you!), I have recently had characters show up. Fully formed, 3D characters that, it seems, have been walking around in limbo looking for an author. Some of them startled me. One actually sent chills down my spine, and she will appear in my third novel - which we hope will be out 2011.

LOVE hearing about your dreams. I think sometimes God can talk to us more easily if we are unconscious and less likely to talk back!

Latayne C. Scott said...

Bonnie, I love you. Very, very much. Sometimes you scare me.

Sharon K. Souza said...

Latayne, Ted Dekker's triology begins with a dream in Black. Those are some of the best books ever.

Becky Tidberg said...

I'm too embarrassed to admit that a lot of my plots have come from dreams. A scene or even a feeling with certain characters present that come together and becomes a novel.

Not thinking that the one I had the other night where I was a camp counselor and the Sprouse twins were in my cabin will make to print. I think that was a result of too much Disney channel, not my muse at play.