1. BrightEye
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    BrightEye Member

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    using dreams for writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BrightEye, May 26, 2008.

    I have noticed that my dream life is the most creative area in my life. Often people tell me to turn them into stories, but I think that dreams are so private, who else would be interested? Would they indeed make sense to anyone else? What purpose would they serve if turned into stories?

    That said, I'm reading a book at the moment that's just that, a sequence of dreams or dream states. The main argument of the book is that we have nothing left but the private - all ideologies having failed - and that the dream is the most private of the private.

    I guess my 'problem' is audience, on the one hand, and relevance, on the other. Anyone ever use dream material for writing, and to what extent?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think this is a great idea! I keep a dream journal in which I write just as soon as I get up before the dreams fade away. It has been an awesome source for me.
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I don't think dreams are fully-developed stories as such. I prefer to use them for ideas and inspiration, usually for characters and settings.
    Also, 99.9% of dreams make no logical sense, so if you were to write a story based on a dream, it would be advisable to change a few things.
     
  4. Cpn. Anon
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    Cpn. Anon Member

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    Most dreams wouldn't make for good stories, because (at least in mine) there isn't really a plot, it's just a jumble of incoherent things. Although i can see how they can be a base for dreams, look at In Watermelon Sugar by Brautigan, there's something very dreamlike about that. Also, i can see how dreams can conjure emotion, which you can put into your writing, or may in fact inspire you to write something.
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I use dreams frequently in my writing, but have to agree with the previous posts that they usually don't make good stories in and of themselves. Dreams are just usually so chaotic that a good deal of work would be needed to turn them into typical stories with a beginning, middle, and end.

    Plus there's the concern you mention about how private they are. Many dreams make sense only to the person dreaming them. I notice that, even though I keep a detailed dream journal, I only rarely read other people's dreams, because they often go something like:

    "I dreamt I went to the store with Linda, and when we were there I found Doug dead on the floor, I was so shocked! Then I saw Barry on TV and he was doing a news report from Winchester..."

    ...meaning, many people, when writing down their dreams, fail to take into account that most readers will have no clue who any of these people or where any of these places are, nor the significance they have for the dreamer. It comes out sounding like a private diary entry, of meaning only to the person writing it.

    A possible solution for this problem is to focus more on the general ideas of dreams, rather than the specifics; "archetypal" dreams are the ones many people find more interesting as they can relate to them more easily. By this I mean the typical dreams that many people have--dreams that aren't as personal or private. A few such themes are being able to fly, being naked in public, losing your teeth, being chased, etc. Lots of people dream these things.

    Another idea is to just use pieces of dreams--the more interesting, general pieces, rather than the personal ones like in my example above--for example, an interesting landscape/location unique to the dream, an unusual character not from waking life, etc.--and build a story up from those.
     
  6. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    That's cool, iv'e never had a dream journal. Probably because I have the same short-term memory loss as that blue fish in Finding Nemo, but that sounds interesting and fun.

    As far as turning dreams into books, that's a big YES! Why, well because Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight trilogy also got her idea from a dream and that book was a bestseller.

    If you feel like you want to deep down inside your gut. Do it. Good luck! :D
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the first screenplay i wrote [sons of adam] was dreamt!... i woke at 4am with the opening scenes of a sci-fi future/space epic novel [i thought] vivid in my mind... wrote them down on the pad i always kept next to me on the bed, went back to sleep and put myself back in the dream, to find out what happened next... woke at 6am with practically the whole storyline ready to be jotted down...

    i filled in the gaps, added whatever 'came' to me in my waking state and when i was done, realized it wasn't a novel, but a movie!... 10 days later, i had completed my first-ever script... 122 pages that only needed a bit of polishing...

    my dreams are almost always 'stories' that are so interesting i hate to wake up... they're next to never so 'private' i couldn't write them as stories or movies or whatever...
     
  8. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Thats a truly amazing story, if ideas ever came to me that vivid like a movie..well i'd make a movie duh! :D
     
  9. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I had a dream the other night that is inspriring me to try another novel.

    My fifth. None of the others are done yet.

    Curse you, dreams!
     
  10. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    That's pretty much lucid dreaming, Emily. :) Unfortunately, I haven't managed to master that yet. I kind of like the spontaneity of dreams. I find that very uplifting.
     
  11. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    For an interesting take on the subject, check out the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World. Part of the film explores the possible consequences of the ability to record dreams and watch them while you are awake (I always thought that could be cool...)

    I have had plenty of unusual dreams, and some of them (or rather the imagery in them) has definitely found its way into my writing in one form or another. Only one has ever inspired an independent story based solely on a dream, though.
     
  12. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The dream-state described by mammamaia begins after the birth of your 4th child. By the time you reach the 7th kid, like our dear mentor mamma, sleeping is about the only place you can find any peace and quiet for creativity! LOL!

    For me, dreams are not stories, they are "scenes" which may or may not evolve.
     
  13. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Evolve in which sense? You mean by writing them down they evolve, or your dream is simply continued off were you left (woke up :p). Iv'e actually never had a dream "continue", unless it's the same one repititively. Odd thing dreaming is..
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the one i dreamt, that i wrote as a screenplay would cost way too much for me to produce, so to 'make a movie' was out of the question... and since i swore off doing anything for money, just before my agent made a sale, it will never come to that... but it sure would've been a lulu!...

    cute and funny, salty-dog, but not exactly true in my case... while having and raising that mob, i had little time for sleep and was too tired to pay attention to any dreams, if i had 'em... it wasn't till after all but 2 were grown and gone [actually, my 2 youngest and i were the ones who were 'gone'], that i took the leap off that cliff into being a serious writer... at which time i started being able to pay attention to the nifty dreams i was having... and have still... and i could often 'put myself back into' one at will, rare as that seems to be...
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Both, A-B. In some instances, my dreams expand on their own, although I have no control over this phenomenon. I am more interested in the potential of expanding a dream-scene into a story line if it has sufficient potential. The problem is most of my dreams are nothing more than high energy snapshots of some kind of action. There's no plot, no compelling characters...just action, like fighting my way out of a combat situation, or confronting a burglar but not being able to shoot him because he's standing in front of the door where I know my five year old daughter is hiding. Thrilling scenes but no story.
     
  16. BrightEye
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    BrightEye Member

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    I've seen the film, yes. The book I mentioned in my first post is a little like that, too. But the book as a whole makes a political statement, which is absent in the Wenders film. I guess my problem lies somewhere there.

    I guess I'm interested in dreams in relation to life writing. They chart the territory of a soul, and I wonder whether that would make interesting reading material.
     
  17. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I think that part of the problem is that dreams are an incredibly personal thing at times, and what is endlessly fascinating to the dreamer isn't often as intriguing to others - weird as it was, I doubt anyone would be interested in my dream about Ribena cordial... :redface:

    That being said, dreams are often wholly visual, full of symbolism, and the imagery related in an almost poetic way. Perhaps if you approach it in that manner - I suppose in a visceral sense - using themes that are common to all and easily recognisable allegories, that will strike a chord with the average reader and could certainly be interesting reading.

    (If that even makes sense :))
     

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