Sweet dreams, or your worst nightmare?

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

Do dreams/nightmares influence your writing? Do you keep a notebook by your bed to write down ideas?

Don’t get me started about dreams, they’re the whole reason that I’m sitting here, writing this post.

My writing journey began with a dream that wouldn’t go away. I kept having it, night after night.

In it, I was a trader, a carrier of cargo. Like I had been for most of my adult life. Only not on an ocean-going merchant ship, this time I was on a spaceship, moving all sorts of goods around the galaxy.

Now, before we go on, you have to understand that I’m not and never have been keen on writing. I hated English at school. In fact, I was once told that I had no imagination and no ability to string words together. In all my years at sea, I dreaded the idea of writing letters home. I could never think of anything to say, no matter where I went or what I did.

Because of that, I have never been able to see how I was suddenly capable of writing two thousand (or more) words a day. I’m convinced that it’s not my mind that’s making these stories up.

I prefer to think that I’m just tapping into some stream of inspiration, originating from somewhere else. Who knows where, maybe it all comes from the place where they aren’t stories but real events?

Back to the dream. In desperation (see above), I wrote it all down. I couldn’t think of what else to do. I think I hoped that the act of committing it to paper would make it go away and leave me alone. It sort of worked, because that night, I had a different dream. This time I was watching a girl running for her life. Somehow, I knew there was a connection between this scene and my previous dream. So, I wrote that down too.

Pretty soon, I was seeing the dreams when I was awake. As I wrote more I joined them all up to form a story.

The story became my novel Freefall.

If I thought or hoped that there would be no more dreams after I had finished writing Freefall, it turned out that I was wrong.

Freefall was actually the second part of a trilogy.

After that, there was no escape. Soon, I was off again, in a dream, I’d seen a hotel room with a body in the bath, which led me to the planet Reevis and the story of Balcom Industrial, a galaxy-spanning tale of corporate misdeeds which began in Ribbonworld.

Then I dreamt of an office, with steam-powered typewriters and water dripping, which introduced me to the Steampunk World of Norlandia.

And so it went on.

Every piece of fiction I have produced has started as a dream, or a waking vision, viewed on a screen inside my head. I watch what the characters get up to, hear their words and write it all down. I can pause and rewind the action but I can never fast-forward, never get to know the end before it happens.

Then, like in all good novels, there was a twist. One night, in my head, I met Rick. He was a man who had incredibly lifelike dreams. As I followed his tale, I discovered the power of his dreams, saw them affect his reality and watched as he asked the question “can my dreams be real?”

It was a surreal moment that produced the story I enjoyed writing the most, Life and Other Dreams.

As for a notebook, I have hundreds, the thing is, I never need them, whoever is sending me this will not let me forget it.

Until next time.

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10 Responses

  1. Marje

    That is an amazing way to kick start your books Richard. I awaken with ideas often and then a burst of frenetic energy and need to get the idea down. But no dreams at least none I can remember!

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you. It was a shock to my system at the start, even now, it still takes a bit of getting used to.

    • Richard Dee

      I only wish I didn’t see them in real-time. Then I would know what was going to happen.

    • Richard Dee

      Not as weird as dreaming about someone who had weird dreams!!!

  2. Daryl Devore

    amazing. Your dreams helped you get your stories written.

    • Richard Dee

      I would never have written anything, if it hadn’t been for the dream.

  3. P.J. MacLayne

    I’ve had some really vivid dreams follow me into that half-awake stage just before you truly wake up, but they fade in a hurry.

    • Richard Dee

      Mine used to, until that one. Then everything changed. Now they jostle for position with my conscious mind.

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