Dreaming Stories

I never used to dream, much.

I can think of maybe two recurring nightmares that I had as a child that I can recall with any amount of clarity; On occasion I have a stress-dream, usually involving having to go onstage to dance and not having any hairpins. (It’s an odd quirk of mine that I never dream of forgetting choreography, just of having no bobby pins).

For the most part, however, my nights are dark and dreamless.

But not always.

In which I dream stories

On very, very rare occasions, I dream stories.

I don’t mean “have a very strange dream which might contain seeds of story”, though I’ve had some of those too. I mean “Vivid dreams with (mostly) logical progressions, clearly defined characters who are not me, and actual actions and dialogue that can be recalled later and written down”.

Often I wake up from the dream and scribble, only to realize that I lost something nebulous in the process. The dream-world always seems somehow richer than the words on the page. That’s not something limited to dreams, though; it’s a truth of writing. You’ll never capture on the page exactly what’s in your head — but that’s okay, because it lets your reader embellish your words with what’s in their head.

These story-dreams have been coming more frequently, of late, and I wonder if there’s a reason or if it’s simply a quirk. Last week I had a dream that appeared to be historical fiction – no magic – though possibly secondary-world historical fiction?? Though at that point it’s really fantasy with no magic?? Genres are confusing. The protagonist was a dancer and ballet-teacher.

Then, last night, I had a dream about a soul-stealing sylph vising a magical carnival and having her fortune told. Also there was a Queen (though what she was queen of, I wasn’t exactly certain). And an elf. And candles. (This one started out a little less coherent, and then developed a plot as it went along).

So yes. Weird?

In which I let them percolate

I’ve got a lot of projects in the wings right now (…that’s a ballet metaphor. Wow, I’m so obsessed.), and not everything that I dream is ready to become a story. Plus, everything involving ballet is on hold for the next forever, until I figure out how to translate something so physical and so ephemeral into words. (Not sure that I have much confidence in my ability to do so).

So…for now they get chucked into the Soup Pot of Ideas to mix and simmer and maybe show up again some day, in some form…

In which I look for confirmation that I’m only a little bit weird, not a lot weird

Gosh, the human brain is an amazing(ly strange) beast, isn’t it? Anyone else dream stories?

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