community, Encouragement, Fantasy fiction, Mental Health, Psychology, writing

Dreamings and Muses

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Eventually every writer gets asked: “Where do you get your ideas from?” Most of my writing inspirations are borne of spending too much time on my obsession of the moment (whether it’s Supernatural, Warehouse 13, Neil Gaiman books,Β Lord of the Rings, ballet, Discworld, indie rock, Doctor Who, or Warriors), and the ridiculous amount of research I did while I was bored in high school/college… Or from dreams I had.

Because I think lots about things that interest me, most likely many of my dreams come from what I absorbed that day. (For example, the night after the Grimm season finale, there was much, much dreaming about what will happen next to Adalind and the kids and Nick and Renard and Juliette and Trubel. Yes, I obsess some.)

But when you consider that some of the dreams I have don’t seem to be connected to anything I just watched/read/researched with annoying frequency, the question is raised: “Is this something I can write about?” Sometimes the answer becomes “yes.”

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In the collection of short stories I re-posted last week, there was only one among them that wasn’t inspired by dreams. And interestingly, that lone wolf was based on the concept of “What happens when you’re not sure if you’re dreaming or not?”

Dreams are confusing things. We can’t be sure just how much of what we dream come from our subconscious or external influences. We can’t be sure how much of it may have meaning, or just may be some demented cantaloupes.

Generally, I don’t try to remember my dreams. Most of them are either about Warrior cats or just too bizarre, anyway. But for about 6 months, I’d decided I was going to try dream journalling. Never got around to actually the journalling part… Well, I just channeled some of them into short stories.

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I don’t recommend analyzing your dreams. There may be messages in our dreams, but usually it’s very obvious when that’s the case. And overanalyzing isn’t necessarily the best thing for anybody. (Take it from the former psych major.)

When it comes to writing, though, there’s much to be gained from analyzing. You can get to know your characters better, understand where sub-plots could be useful (or not useful), maybe develop recurring symbols or themes that would help the reader or enhance their experience with your work.

Otherwise, just let your dreams be, well, dreamy.

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7 thoughts on “Dreamings and Muses”

    1. Stephen King used to get a lot of his ideas for his novels from nightmares he had when he was a young man. I’m sure I’m not the first that has gone this route. But a lot of what I dream about, I don’t want to remember.

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  1. I also get inspiration from dreams! Well, sometimes and sort of! It’s a bit odd cos I’m a lucid dreamer, so some of it might just be a good idea I was working on that’s just fermented in the right way, and sometimes it’s something wholly new (although they’re usually snippets that slot into some other idea) I do agree about not over-analysing dreams, although for me I find they can be pretty obvious cos I usually understand what my subconscious is getting at- even if it seems pretty obscure πŸ˜‰

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    1. Yeah, most of my dreams come from pretty evident sources – for example, the TV show I just watched before I went to bed, or the book I just finished reading. Maybe in my head I’m thinking, “I wonder if this character will do that next?”, and so that’s why they’re going that route in the dream…

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      1. Ahh yes that’s true! Yes I do that too πŸ˜‰ but also when I interpret some weirder stuff, it’s always clear what I was feeling aka I had a dream where I was locked in a room and Told to do an exam while papers flew around my head- but then Stephen fry consoled me about it- it was kind of obvious my brain was telling me “don’t worry, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. Plus life is insane” (I realise now I have pretty crazy dreams- especially since I picked the most normal one i could think of)

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