Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DREAM ON - Nancy J. Cohen

Do you dream in Technicolor? Do the characters in your dreams have complete, logical conversations? Does a story unfold in your subconscious mind? Like other authors, I am gifted with an imagination, and this ability continues in my dreams. The other night, I had a dream that would be a perfect scene in the urban fantasy series I’m working on, not for the particular book I’m writing but for one farther along. The problem is getting it down on paper despite daily interruptions. If I don’t scribble down the details right away, I’ll forget the dream sequence, and it’ll evaporate. I’ve recorded many figments of my imagination, vivid tales that could serve as inspiration for new stories. This is where I got the idea for Circle of Light, my first published novel. I had such an awesome dream that I didn’t want it to end, so I wrote the entire story. My dreams seem to be science-fiction oriented rather than suiting my mysteries. Perhaps this is because the Bad Hair Day series featuring hairstylist Marla Shore is more reality-based. Since a writer never knows where her writing career will end up, I write down the intriguing dreams when I have the chance. Do creative people have more vivid dreams? This would make an interesting study, but I suspect we do. Our sleeping brains continue to weave tales, telling whole stories as we sleep. Now if only we had one of those alien devices that could record these sessions. It also seems as though more detailed dreams come to me when I am not on a set writing schedule. Maybe it’s because creativity is unleashed during these times and it needs an outlet. Last night, I dreamt I was choosing shore excursions for an upcoming cruise. My husband and I are leaving soon on a 9 day voyage to the Caribbean. I love cruising, as evidenced by KILLER KNOTS, the ninth book in my mystery series. Marla and her fiancĂ© take a Caribbean cruise with a killer on board. She goes to all the ports I’ve visited. But in my dream, I traveled alone. I was leery of walking around town by myself. What could I salvage from this sequence? The emotion. How does my heroine feel when she winds up alone in a strange village? So dreams can be useful for working out plot problems, inspiring new stories, and lending emotional reactions to situations our heroines might encounter.


Estella said...

I very seldom have dreams I can remember.

Nathalie said...

I never remember my dreams!
I wish I did!

Lily said...

Thanks for this interesting post.

Michele L. said...

Wow! You nailed my dreams almost to a T! I dream in technicolor and almost always remember my dreams. I can still remember one I had as a kid because it scared me so bad. It was about this terrifying monster chasine me. Gosh, I ran and ran while the monster kept trying to catch up with me. Well, just as I thought I was going to make it away the monster touched me and I spiraled down into this hole. Everything went black. When I opened my eyes, everything was red. It was as if I was in Hell. Everything was on fire, smoke was in the air, and there was a stench in the air. It was so terrifying! I finally woke myself up.

When I was young I used to always dream I was flying and could fly to the tops of trees. I used to climb trees as a kid so I wonder if that has something to do with it. I also used to dream about trying to run and couldn't go, my legs felt like dead weights when something was chasing me. There were also dreams where I would wind up in my nightgown in public for some reason and I would be embarassed.

One dream I remember in particular that I had a while back I was at a party and there was this huge food buffet. It was the biggest one I had ever been too! It was in 3 different rooms at a house. I was so excited to try something and was getting all excited putting the food on my plate. Just when I was going to eat it, I woke up! I was so upset! I even actually said to myself, "That was a dream?" My dreams are really vivid sometimes and seem so real!

Oh, I have also dreamed I find money. It usually is a bunch of coins all over the ground. I have been lucky on occasion finding bills while walking outside so maybe this rolls over into my dreams. It sure is funny how some people remember there dreams and others don't.

Something funny my husband said one time while mumbling in his sleep. I tried to listen in to what he was saying and this popped out of his mouth at one point, "We have to have sex to solve the Douglas McArthur situation!" I laughed my head off at that and told him the next day what he said. He laughed too and remembered he had a pretty intense dream.

I loved this subject Nancy! My mom and I love telling each other our dreams. She has some funny ones too!

Michele L.

Unknown said...

I don't dream about my characters. However, as I'm falling asleep scenes always come to me and if I don't turn on the light and write them down, I lose them.

Maureen said...

When someone wakes me up in the middle of the night I'll remember my dreams at that time but forget them by morning.

Wolfy said...

Someone once asked me if I have nice dreams or bad ones, and I said I don't dream. I was told that everyone dreams, so I guess I just should have said I never remember dreaming anything. Which makes me think I don't dream........LOL