Thursday, February 28, 2013

Does a Written Story Work in a Similar Way as a Dream?

Deutsch: Julie liest einen Brief von St. Preux
Deutsch: Julie liest einen Brief von St. Preux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Julie at Julie Anne Nelson: Young Adult Author brought up a topic about writing that made me wonder if the fiction writing process often works in much the same way as dreaming.  The writer has control of the writing process for the most part, but what about the imagination that puts the stories together?  Are the origins of the story streamed from the subconscious to the conscious mind where the story becomes developed?    How much is the shaping of the stories done somewhere deeper within the mind before being projected onto the page?

       Julie had this to say:
I have been working like a mad writer lately, trying to get through the rough draft of the fourth book in my series before I put the finishing touches on the third.  I like to make sure that I know where this ship is going so that I can add a bit of foreshadowing here and a few hints there.   What I discovered as I blazed through the end yesterday was that I had no idea where this story was going, and I have to say I was shocked at the darkness that is coming for my characters.

      In her post, Julie goes on to describe a difficult real life situation that she has been dealing with and suggests a correlation between that and the direction her story is taking.   She sees her characters plunging into a darkness that is very similar to a struggle a friend of hers has been going through.

       This immediately made me think of the dreaming process.   This post raises some interesting questions about how events happening around us and in our own lives might be reflected in the things we do, say, and write.  This is especially curious in Julie's case of not quite knowing where the story was heading and her life directing the course of the story. I wonder if it is somewhat comparable to dreaming, where the subconscious mind writes the dream story as a symbolic reinterpretation of waking life.  Just a thought.

      Whether writing fiction, telling stories to others, or merely daydreaming, we are creating controlled dream scenarios of a sort.   We build archetypal worlds that represent that which is familiar to us, yet disguised and reimagined for our audience or ourselves.

        The writer is the dreamer and the reader is the reaper of those dreams.

        What do you think about the concept of writing as a form of controlled dreaming?   Have you ever developed a story from a dream that you have had?   Have you ever gotten so lost in a story that you were writing or reading that the experience became dreamlike and essentially a process of the subconscious mind?

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  1. That is really beautiful, Arlee Bird! You really do have a way with words! Yea, I do think that the events that happen in our lives and around us affect and have an effect on our subconscious and conscious mind. Those things touch our inner convictions and character, thus dreaming about an event and waking with thought, visions and ideas to write about is a reasonable likely hood. Calling forth the good the very best in us is also recognizing who we are and the more we call it forth via writing, etc. we become it. Beautiful Lee!

  2. Hi Arlee,
    What a thoughtful post and all about a subject I am most interested in. I have gotten stories from dreams before and I am currently writing a MG fantasy novel about a girl who is a dream-walker. (She time-travels through her lucid dreams.)
    I think dreams and story writing are closely linked. I really feel like I am just the vehicle, and all I have to do is sit in front of the keyboard and the story appears. I make outlines sometimes, but in my current WP I spent so much time dropping clues and hints in the first half of the book, for what--I didn't know. Now in the last half of the book it has been so much fun to see how they are all working out. It's really teaching me to trust in the process. Let go and let it happen!
    I do have other stories of course, that make their presence known in a more traditional manner, but I so much prefer the element of surpise.
    Nice to read you and thanks for stopping by my little nut-tree.
    ~Just Jill

  3. It does not work that way most of the time. I have the story planned, but then again, the characters do seem to do and say things that surprise me...If I let them take the story and run with it, the overall plot changes. Hmmm...

  4. Beautifully put, Lee. I have written three stories that have evolved from a sequence of dreams. During my REM periods, I find myself seated at movie theater, with the story being flashed before my eyes, in its entirety. I would liken this phenomenon, to a revelation from God. What do you think, Lee? Again, a great post. Blessings.

  5. When I write my fantasy series, I love it when I can sit down and brain storm with my sister about what needs to happen next and to make sure that everything I have developed for my 'new' world all make sense and is consistent. It's great when we figure out a part that sounds so cool and I get excited and can't wait to see how my series turns out in the end! I love writing fantasy, there is nothing like it!

  6. Betty -- Thank you so much! I feel flattered by your words and you have grasped what I was trying to convey.

    Jill -- Fantasy is the ideal genre to use dream inspiration. Thank you for visiting.

    Susan -- I'm sure different writers use different approaches, but I can see letting the idea carry the writer off over the course of unwrapping the story.

    Johnny -- I think the message from God concept does happen more than many people would believe. Dreams can tell us many things and often I think the message is very spiritual.

    Lisa -- I think it would be fun bouncing story ideas off of another person. A collaborative effort could have real potential especially when it comes to far out things like fantasy and science fiction.



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The Dreamer