Dream It – Write It: The Inspiration of Dreams by Teri Harman, @Teri Harman
I am a vivid dreamer. The romping of my subconscious is quite extensive and often twisted. And I love it. For a writer, dreams are a powerful source of inspiration.
Many famous writers have written books inspired by their dreams: Steven King’s Misery, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and, of course, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.
The writing of BLOOD MOON began with a dream, a strange image on the outskirts of consciousness that stuck with me. The image was a dirty, scarred hand reaching out a broken window. This evolved into one of the critical scenes for my characters Willa and Simon.
My own dreaming also inspired Willa’s magical ability to see real events in her dreams – it’s her witch gift. And a few of her dreams in the book are based on my own.
It’s not just nighttime dreams that can help inspire writing. Daydreaming is also a powerful tool. My literary fiction book, A PAINTED LIFE, is the result of a random mind-wandering. An image came to me: a girl in a painting, alive. From that one flash a whole book evolved.
HOW DREAMS HELP WRITERS
1. Inspire scenes, characters or even a whole book.
2. Help expand the imagination.
3. Encourage broader thinking – looking at things differently.
4. Offer a push out of writer’s block.
5. Encourage unique, fresh writing (show the reader something she’s never seen before).
HOW TO USE YOUR DREAMS
Don’t let a strange image or powerful sequence from a dream or daydream be forgotten. Keep a small notebook, journal or note on your phone and add to it when something sticks with you. It may not help with a current work in progress, but you never know what you’ll need in the future. I have a note in my Evernote devoted to images from dreams.
If a dream is particularly powerful, sit down and write it into a short story. Limit yourself to 1000-2000 words, but get the details out while they are fresh. It’s a great writing exercise and could inspire more writing.
DO YOU USE YOUR DREAMS IN YOUR WRITING? If so, what other tips and advice can you give us?
Thanks for reading! Teri
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