One of my favorite bloggers Jennifer Hubbard did a post today on character's dreams. I thought I would follow that up with a post on our dreams. The author's dreams.
I'm sure you've all heard the story about how Stephenie Meyer got the idea for Twilight from a dream. From what she's said, she dreamed one scene and that very same day began writing the book. I'm not saying that she's my favorite author, but I don't think anyone would disagree with me if I said that that approach was successful for her, right?
I find that if I'm going to use a dream as the basis for one of my ideas, it requires a little more work than just copying my dream down.
The first problem I have with this is that I usually only remember a scene or two from my dreams and the rest is a complete blur. Sometimes I'll have one crystal clear image but I'll have no idea what was going on in the rest of my dream. So my first step is always to figure out what exactly is going on in this dream and why this scene is so important.
Another thing is realizing that the scene might not fit with the storyline that I've set up exactly. Keeping up the Sun, my WIP, was based off of a dream. I remember two scenes from the dream. The first scene was when this girl was in a car and she didn't know how to drive and the guy in the seat next to her had to explain to her how to drive. That was fine and all, except that when I started writing the manuscript, I found out that the MC was only 14 and therefore couldn't drive. So that needed to be worked out for a while, but I found a way to make it work.
Finally, sometimes this scene turns out to be not so important after all. The scene mentioned above was actually one of the last scenes that I wrote in the first draft. I had actually forgotten about the scene that the whole novel had been based off of. If I went back now and took the scene out, it probably wouldn't affect the novel all that much. It certainly adds to the suspense, but it's not a necessary scene.
So my opinion on taking ideas from dreams? Do it. But when you do get an idea from a dream, don't immediately run to your notebook or your computer and start writing. Give the idea some time and figure out what's happening in the scene.
Now, you tell me... have you ever taken an idea from a dream? How did it work out?