Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with an incredible idea or roll over after a dream and say to yourself — that’s a keeper; it’ll make a great story? When that happens do you jot it down immediately or assume that it’ll come back to you in the morning?
For years I’ve kept a pad and pen by my bed and, on occasion, I’ve scribbled a sweet line, unexpected plot twist or a snippet of dialog before going back to dreamland. I’ve also scribbled a few extraordinary words only to discover in the morning that I haven’t the faintest idea why I thought the idea was good. Or, even worse, I can’t read my own handwriting. LOL…
Sometimes dreams have inspired my fiction. I’ve gleaned images, snatches of dialog and even full stories from the overactive storytellers in my unconscious. Being a bit stressed out has led to a few over-the-top nightmares in recent weeks. One night I was pursued by a scary religious cult and the next I was framed for murder. These were seriously bad dreams that left me exhausted and a bit paranoid in the morning. When I told friends, the plots came out like funny stories, but they were NOT funny in hours after I woke up. I wondered, for a brief moment, if I should try those two on as inspirations for my next novel length project. It didn’t take long for me to reject them both.
The question becomes whether to WRITE NOW or hold off and see what gains enough traction to carry a story (or novel). I think our brains need to stew some ideas for extended periods of time, stirring them around and around, until we can see them clearly or appreciate their full potential. Maybe my unconscious is cooking up a storm? Or maybe I just need to jot stuff down and forget about it?