I usually dream about nothing. Or, more accurately, I don’t remember my dreams. But the times I can hold onto the memory of them, they are so hard to understand that I can’t figure out what was even going on.
When I can remember a dream, it’s usually only for a few minutes after I wake up, and only if I start telling someone about it immediately. I bolt upright, turn to my husband and say, “I had the weirdest dream,” and sometimes he listens. Though, sometimes it’s four in the morning, and then he groans.
If I can hold onto the idea of it, I almost always want to make it a book. Then after thinking on it, I realize how none of it actually makes sense. I’m flying, or I’m falling, or I’m giving birth to kittens (really). The romantic ones are especially nonsensical. I just don’t think I would ever break up with Ryan Stiles in front of a knitting club. Who would break up with Ryan Stiles? I mean, height, shoes, funny… trifecta!
But, no matter how hard it is, I always try to make something real out of the crazy in my head. Want to know why? I felt something during that dream, and I want to recreate that feeling. There was a frustrating romance, or a horrifying revelation, or something. It was a feeling so strong that it woke me from my slumber. It was so powerful that I had to take notice, and while I was unconscious just wasn’t enough.
When I’m awake, I run through the day doing things I’m supposed to. Responsibilities and tasks. There are fun times with the people around me, things that make my day brighter, and those are the times when I’m feeling something. Even if it’s small, even if it’s just a blip of a moment, it still matters. Feeling something matters.
Emotion is what I like to write. I want to capture those feelings I have in my dreams (and in real life) and convey them in words. There isn’t anything like reading a paragraph, or a line, and knowing, without a doubt, exactly how a character feels. Or actually feeling those emotions along with the character as they happen. Crying with them, laughing with them, and generally experiencing something real with them.
So, even though they are hard to understand logistically, and it’s impossible to make them plot worthy, dreams can still help inspire emotions you want to convey in your writing. At least, that’s how it’s working for me.