Dreams- Have They Influenced Your Writing?

Today’s topic is about how dreams have effected some people’s writing.  If you have never had dreams that influenced something you wrote, that is okay, say so.  It just gives us a gauge of who has or hasn’t.  On the other hand, if you have used your dreams to create a story, tell us about it.

Did a dream form the basis for your story or just a scene?  Did it help you visualize the setting?  Were you able to draw characters from it?  Were these one-time dreams or did they come back over and over?  These are all questions I would like you to attempt answering.

Many writers have reported using their dreams for their work.  It would be interesting to know how many of you fall into this category.  Please leave comments and let us know!

For the readers out there, do you find it interesting that authors have dreams that influence their work?  Did you ever have a time when you were tempted to write out a dream you had?  What was the dream?  Your comments are welcome as well.


~ by Suzie on May 29, 2011.

28 Responses to “Dreams- Have They Influenced Your Writing?”

  1. Mine all started with a dream – couldn’t remember what it was about but it left me feeling really sad for 2 days after, so to shake it I “downloaded” onto paper something that fit the emotion. Then it got a bit longer and a bit longer…and 200k words later I’ve ended up writing an epic dark fantasy series. No idea how that happened…

    If you’re interested, blog about that original beginning (cut in the edits, alas) is here, whereas if you’d like to see the new and improved beginning, you can view the free sample at my Smashwords page.
    Which do you prefer?

    • Wow, that is impressive that a dream could inspire you to write so much, especially since you can’t recall what it was about. I have had dreams that felt very emotional, though, so can see why you wanted to put that on paper in your own interpretive way.

      I will check out your original just to see what you have. Sounds interesting!

    • That is honestly amazing! LOl, I wish something that neat could happen to me 🙂 I have the craziest dreams and they could all be wonderful stories, but I kind of lack the writting talent a little bit. I think if I could just get it down on paper of what the story is supposed to feel like and what I want to happen then I could pass it on to someone that is a better writter than me 🙂 And here recently I think I have found the connection to the person to do that for me. Hopefully it works out.

  2. I’ve had a handful of one-time dreams I thought I could turn into a story; only about half of them ever made it onto the page, though. For the dreams I did write about, I had a character, a scene, and a “feeling” of what the bigger plot was. Maybe that sense gave me the flexibility to write it. They’re all short stories; one might border on novella length. Oh, they’re also all pure fantasy: dragons and flying ships and evil sorcerer queens.

    I’ve had other dreams that were practically lined out completely with plot, characters, and action sequences. These usually come when I’ve taken a sleep aid. Seriously, Benadryl is like dreams on steroids for me. I plan on posting a slightly more detailed, though still short-short, of these unpenned “dreamisodes” later on my blog.

    I never dream about the novels I’m working on. If I did, I don’t know whether it would help or throw me off track.

    Maybe one day a group of us indie writers will compile an anthology of stories composed from dreams.

    • Angela, I rarely have “fantasy” dreams except that I can fly in some of mine (without aid of anything). You need to share your more fantastical dreams with me, lol.

      Sleep aids never made me dream, though I only used them a couple times during long international flights. I have heard of authors getting that much detail out of their dreams, but yours are most impressive. When I get through some of my TBR list, I’m definitely going to have to check out your books.

  3. My Warriors Dragon Series, came to me as a dream, all in segments. The ending actually came first and I put it to paper. I may have at that point influenced my dreams, I’m not sure, but the series formed in a backwards fashion from there. I am working on book 3 currently and not in any rush to finish it. I am getting it in segments as well, in a half-dream half-sleep fashion. I feel the beginning is still out there waiting for me to visualize it. I just have to feel the scene to be pulled into it.

    I hope you enjoy the ride!
    “The Warriors Dragon,” Book 1, The Gift
    by R. C. Drake

    • Rhonda, I will be looking forward to your books. Now that I know they were influenced by dreams, it will make them even more interesting. Funny how the ending came first for you, lol.

  4. I remember when I was just about to send the first book in my mystery/fantasy series to the printer, I was awakened by a voice. (no, it wasn’t like that. I know what you’re thinking.;-) The voice said, “My real name isn’t Chase Dagger.” This is the main character in my shapeshifter series and this one sentence changed everything. I had elluded to my character’s shady past in the book but never once thought to make him so shadowy that he wasn’t using his real name. I re-wrote the ending and as the reader learns throughout the five books so far in the series — even Dagger doesn’t know his real name.

  5. Yes! Since I basically have full Technicolor, Surroundsound dreams, I’m more inclined to write a movie screenplay. Alas, trying to barge into Hollywood got me nohere, so I started writing novels and short stories. Right now, I just had the most vivid dream of a kidnapped small girl. It provided me with everything: setting, the entire plot and characters… all I only need to suply are the names and a satisfying finale and I’m set! Of course, at 6 K words I’m still unsure on what it will turn out to be in terms of lenght. But if it ends in a full fledged novel I’ll keep you posted.

    • I have some vivid dreams, but not like yours! That is amazing. I’m amazed at how much detail your dream gave you for a book. That is certainly helpful and sounds like it will be interesting.

      It’s funny you mention it being a girl kidnapped. I recently watched a movie about sextrafficing and it influenced one of my dreams. In it, two people tried to take me, I beat up the woman and ran to a nearby pawnshop. The owner pulled his gun and scared off my would-be pursuers. The next day I told my husband I want to buy a gun and he freaked out, lol. I shoot particularly well so he this actually makes him less hot on the idea. Yet it would make me feel safer. He thinks I am paranoid, but I just think it would help me sleep better. That dream was particularly vivid. The kidnappers had managed to shoot a needle in me with drugs and it was lucky I got away since my dream managed to produce the drowsiness of the drug.

  6. Actually most of my ideas come straight from dreams. The YA fantasy book I’m releasing in December was not my dream, but a very distinct visual part of it was from a dream my co-author had. Two of my current WIP have been dreams. I think its kind of cool to have such vivid dreams and on top of that to be able to recall them with such detail! Makes sleep a little more fun. 😀

  7. I can’t say that dreams have effected any particular story, but I can say a dream-like event in my life may well have influenced my career.

    I was taking my first creative writing course. My college professor was an older woman who was constantly glancing my way in class, almost as though I was an oddity to be categorized and explained. She once asked me to read a portion of a story aloud but then rather than critiquing my segment as she had with the other students, she fell silent. Another day, she asked the class to write a story within the duration of the class. I finished mine and received the highest grade in the class. She then said, “We know you can create a free-flowing narrative, but I’m betting you’ll have a tougher time with structured non-fiction.” She assigned a standard “problem, argument, summary” format. I found it fairly straightforward excercise so wrote both a factual essay about the “problems with” nuclear power and a spoof about the “advantages of” nuclear power. Of course, children that glow in the dark thereby saving energy, and children with muliple extra limbs for harvesting the garden were positive points. Needless to say, I had hurdled another of her challenges. We were about halfway through the semester when she asked us to write a true essay about our past. This is more or less what I wrote…

    From the time I was an infant, I remember being frightened of noises at night. I can’t explain why but I always felt that my family would one day be in danger. There were six children in my family back then, and I was barely seven when it happened. I heard a constant loud tapping on one of the second floor windows. It was really late at night, and I instantly knew this was the moment I had always feared. I sat bolt upright in bed and tried to pinpoint the sound. It was coming from one of my sister’s rooms on the other side of the second floor. Someone was trying to get in our house. I had to let my dad know!

    I was so frightened that my tiny body was nearly frozen with fear, but I somehow forced myself to peer out my bedroom door. I could hear someone, maybe several someones, moving around. The strangers were already inside.

    And they were between me and the stairs to the first floor!

    Not knowing what else to do, I crept along the backside of the wall to my older sister’s room. Sharon was sprawled across the bed with blood covering her chest. They had slit her throat.

    Gasping for breath, but not daring to scream, I forced myself to keep breathing. Some how, some way, I had to get my three other brothers and sisters to safety. I could hear pounding coming from the next room. Fear clamped around my chest, I crept to my brother Ralph’s room…and had all I could do not to faint. He was dead. Blood covered his pillow. His head was gone.

    Not much more than a zombie now, I knew they were all gone, and probably my parents, too. There were a couple of loud thumps, but I no longer cared. I went to the next three bedrooms and confirmed what I already knew. Each and every one of my siblings was dead. Brutally killed in the middle of the night, right in our own home! I didn’t know why I hadn’t been slaughtered yet, but I knew it wasn’t fair. How could it have happened. Why us!

    I ran to my room, but not from fear…I was beyond that. I ran because my head and my heart couldn’t take any more. The intruders had already killed everyone, taken everything from me. My most raw, darkest fear had come true. I crawled under the covers and rocked back and forth. At first, the noises I made were just gutteral reactions to pain…

    At this point, just moments after I had turned my handwritten essay in, my professor looked up from her desk. “Is this true?” Her lips were quivering. “Did this really happened to you?”

    I nodded…

    I made those gutteral sounds for maybe an hour, maybe longer. But then I began to pray. I hadn’t been a religious kid, not really, but I had nothing left to do. My world was shattered. My entire family was dead. I prayed and I prayed. I prayed for it to be a dream, for God to somehow come down to Earth and make things okay again. I prayed to not be scared anymore, but most importantly I prayed for the lives of the people I loved. I had never realized how much I loved and needed each and every one of them until that moment. From the deepest most sincere core of myself, I prayed for things to go back to the way they were.

    Two or more hours must have passed. The intruders had come and gone, and somehow they had missed me. For some reason, fate and those murdering thugs had left me to suffer through this terrible ordeal…alone. Finally, drained, a husk of a person, I pulled my covers away from my head and prepared to relive the nightmare all over again.

    Like the walking dead, I trudged out into the hallway and heard banging. I looked and could see a tree limb tapping loudly against the glass. Not an intruder?

    Holding my breath, I moved cautiously into my older sister’s room. I stared and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The red ribbon from one of her stuffed animals was stretched across her throat. I hadn’t seen blood at all! Her chest rose and fell in steady breaths. I hurried to my brother’s room and found not a headless boy, but my brother with a pillow over his head and a red tee shirt draped partway across that same pillow. And from room to room I went to find unlikely but logical reasons for each and every one of my violent visions.

    My family was and remains alive and well.

    And my professor? She finished reading that essay then stood in front of the entire class and said, “I want you all to hear something. This is the way we should all hope to write someday. And for the rest of this semester, this young man can do anything he wants. He has a perfect grade in my class.”

    To this day, I could be hooked to a lie-detector machine and couldn’t tell you truthfully that event NEVER happened. Was it an answered prayer or just a waking dream?

    Logic says one thing, but….

    • Wow, Tim, you gave me chills. That is a powerful story. Thanks for sharing it. I can see why your professor let you free write after that!

    • Wow, that was a truely amazing read there Tim! My favorite types of books are horror novels and thirller/mysteries. Just out of curiosity, have you ever published a book (might be a stupid question) 🙂 But if so please give me some of the names of your books because I love your writting style. Thanks again for the great read and hope to read more from you!

      • Hi Kerra,

        I am Tim’s older sister, just fyi he promised the family not to use our names in his true story writing. I am glad you enjoy his writing, I do too:) Tim actually has 2 books out, the first is The Santa Shop http://www.amazon.com/Santa-Shop-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B003LBRITQ , this book was actually being considered by Hallmark Studios for a movie, during the negotiations they had him slightly rewrite the last 3 chapters and add an extra chapter on the end (two years later) that is the Hollywood Ending http://www.amazon.com/Santa-Hollywood-Ending-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B004YR19A0 . Unfortunately, towards the end of those negotiations, someone decided they needed a female protagonist and they dropped The Santa Shop project. I have been told there is a new outfit looking at it for a movie at this point but I am unclear on where they are in that process. His other book is From My Cold Young Fingers http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Young-Fingers-under-heaven-ebook/dp/B003V8BJ6C , this is an advance reading copy, he is currently in the middle of edits for the final version it should be out next month. It will be called “Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers”. Tim put his 2 books under the book give away section here. I know the Santa Shop sounds like it is just a Christmas story but it is really a year round conspiracy and great reading anytime! Thanks again for your interest in his writing:)

        • Good morning, Sis. I can imagine it wouldn’t be fun to wake up having been identified as “dead.” Email me if you enjoyed this morning’s hail storm (we’re about two hours apart here in Maine for those of you wondering :-). Sorry, Susan. Didn’t mean to turn this into a family chat.

        • Thank you! I have added them to my kindle wish list 🙂 And I will also check out the give-aways that he has posted and I am going to try to win them because I am a little strapped on money right now and would love to get them!

          Thanks again!

      • Good morning, Susan, Kerra. It’s always nice to know an emotional moment/message was successfully shared. Now if only I could do it without giving myself the same chills and a few tears 🙂

        Kerra: My novels “The Santa Shop” (when a wife and son are killed in a terrible fire, a man seeks suicide to assuage his guilt) and “From My Cold Young Fingers” (a boy murdered in the 1940s tells his story from a place called Under-Heaven while also watching his surving sister back on Earth) are available in paperback and ebook everwhere. The most affordable physical copies can be found at http://www.focushousepublishing.com.

        Wow. Just as I was typing those words I heard a godawful racket coming from outside. I went out onto my porch to witness the worst hail storm I’ve ever personally seen. It’s seventy degrees here in Southern Maine and chunks of ice were just beating down like millions of nickels on my cars, roofs, and yard. Wierd. Thankfully, Fat Duck was still on the porch in his pen. Original Duck was nowhere to be seen, so hopefully he found a tree to hide under.

        Back to books…I have several new novel releases in the next few months. They include:

        “Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers,” the final version of “Cold Young Fingers”
        “Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End,” the first book in a series for young adults to adults (a young boy learns he isn’t human when his father disappears and magical creatures seek to kill him; werewolves, ghosts, and trolls are in his difficult future, as is maybe the largest problem of all: he’s turning into a dragon).
        “Ancestor,” a 1600’s killing spree and the burning of a North Massachusetts witch, turns into a modern nightmare for the only surviving descendant of the killer who wants to live again.

        Thanks again to both of you for the kind comments.

        • Thanks for the links, if I don’t win the book give-aways that you posted on here, then I will most likely go for the cheapest copy because I don’t have a job to afford my serious book addiction 🙂 Thanks again and I truely did enjoy that short story!


        • Wow Tim. That was a great story. I just got one of your free books, and can’t wait to read it now!!

  8. Ever since I was a little kid I have always had very vivid dreams and often very weird ones. Going through every emotion possible while asleep and my dreams come to me as a movie. Surprisingly I can remember very specific details about my dreams, and not really sure why. My parents use to say that me having those crazy dreams was either from me taking drugs (which I didn’t do) or from the crazy Stephen King books that I read all the time. And the funny thing is, is that I have had dreams like this as long as I can remember and I didn’t start reading Stephen King until I was 16, so I know that that is not it or at least not fully. I have dreams like this every night and I usually write them down when I wake up. I used to go to school every day and tell my friends about my dreams that I would have and they always told me that they were great and that they wished they could have dreams like that. Well I never actually thought about making any of my dreams a novel before until I had this one specific dream that I knew would be a great hit if I could get it onto paper. So, I currently have 8 chapters already written, but I don’t know if it is going to get further than that because I have lost the confidence that I am a good writer. Seems crazy, but I don’t think I have he knack for it. So, since then if I have a dream that I think could be made into a wonderful novel, or be part of a short stories series, I write them down. Hopefully someday others will enjoy reading my dreams as my friends enjoyed me telling them to them at school. Well just to put out there that if you ever come across a book with the title The Two Mysterious Cats and the Adventure of Kimberly Hill, that would be my book 🙂 Seeing how when I do come out with it I will most likely go by a fake name 🙂

    • Kerra, don’t lose faith in your writing. I’m finding as I get older that it gets easier. I’m growing more motivated to try myself. Maybe the more you read and write, the better it gets? I don’t know, but keep all your stuff written down now, then when the time is right you will still have everything waiting and ready to be completed. That is what I do anyway!

      • Thank you 🙂 I will try not to let it go, but I think I am just having a hard time with it right now. I will keep them all though and when and if I do eventually get in the groove of it, I will have a handful of stories to choose from, lol.

        Thanks again!

  9. Wow, Tim’s story is everything you billed it as, Suzie. Shook me to the core. Partly because I can identify. Without giving away too much personal detail, when I was about 3 years old, my mom had a very bad accident, the aftermath of which I witnessed (suffice to say, lots of blood and exposed bone was involved). Ever since then, unsurprisingly, my dreams were filled with disturbing imagery, but rarely the outright visceral gore you would expect. More like a David Lynch movie: disquieting and odd and chilling. An atmosphere of bleak hopelessness. I even shared some nightmares with my mother a few years later, and didn’t actually find out she had the same dreams until recently, via a chance comment.

    Anyway, I have turned a few into stories, but they’re difficult, as they’re impressionistic. In one story I have never published, an older but still very beautiful Japanese-American woman stands in the golden dust motes of a Midwestern barn while a dog lies in the long driveway of the property, his ear twitching, the woman sad and somehow stately and alluring, knowing something of my own sadness which suddenly doubles me up in grief as she looks at me, a terrible secret in her eyes, the story I knew I had come to hear, yet was afraid of…

    There. I posted. Redeemed? 🙂

  10. Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff! Plase check my free ipad 2 blog, hope you will find interesting information about free ipad 2 there!

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