Thursday, May 17, 2012

Approaching Daytime with Nighttime Thoughts

Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography
You’re wrenched from sleep by the nightmare rampaging behind your eyelids, leaving you drenched with sweat and gasping. After all you’ve just run for your life, pursued by a raging lunatic with delusions of godhood.  Why wouldn’t you be looking around to see where she is?

Has this ever happened to you? Don’t feel alone. This past week I’ve been through this scenario at least four times, once with shouted sound effects: mine. I chalk it up to my muse preparing me for a day at the keyboard.

I would welcome the experience if I was engaged in actively writing horror stories. Unfortunately, I’m not. Horror isn’t usually my cup of tea.

Thankfully, these weren’t memories either. I admit to having known a few with major emotional and mental problems, but none who went quite that far. So what it is that I’m supposed to get from this race against nightmare pursuit?

I get a kick-start in my day, first thing in the morning. These types of events almost always occur just before I need to get up in the morning. I don’t recommend them as a visual alarm clock. It’s too hard on the heart.

I also get an imagination that’s wide awake and looking for a place to happen. Just because I don’t write horror doesn’t mean that I can’t use this snatch of dream as an action scene for one of my fantasy stories. They always have to have villains, and those with delusions of godhood make some of the best; especially when you give them normal day jobs and pleasant demeanors.

The latest one gave me the answer to a sticky situation with my main character, the second lead, and several bits related to or involving the villain that I didn’t realize I had until now. That’s quite a bit of work for such a short bit of dream, but I’m grateful for it.

So, if you’re looking to broaden how you approach your daytime writing, look to your nighttime thoughts. They may well hold the key to those influential scenes with hero, villain, backstory, etc. Who knows what kind of gem mine you might find when you go on an active search.

I’m sure you’ve heard all the tips.

·       Keep a small notebook or index cards on the table beside the bed with a reliable pen to write down those bits you remember of dream, or thoughts that flash through your mind while it’s in twilight sleep.

·       Give yourself a moment to orient once you wake, to allow your mind to wander across its nighttime landscape and resolve any issues left tangled before waking.

·       Surprise your body with a full-body stretch; extend your limbs as far as they will go, straightening all the fingers and toes until they feel like they’ll fly off the ends of hands and feet. Get the spine elongated and all the long tendons of the body.  You’ll be grateful afterwards. (BTW, this is an old yoga exercise and practice for waking up the body.)

·       Regardless of what you dream, remember that your mind showed you these scenes for a reason; there were problems needing resolution, aspirations wanting acknowledgement, fears needing attention, ideas needing a place to show themselves off. Pay attention to them. They do have meaning.

Most of all, give them a job in your daily writing. Use them in whatever way you can, and enjoy the fact that you have them. Some people never remember their dreams, not even a snatch of one and they feel deprived.

Now, on a different thought train, I encourage everyone to pop over to Claudsy’s Blog today to see what my guest blogger, Meena Rose, brought to the forefront. She’s had her own little experiment that can be used by anyone, and is especially helpful to those who write in any capacity. You can find it at: 

I also guest blogged at Meena’s blog this morning. Find it at:

Enjoy your day, all. Until later,



  1. Maybe its our writer's imagination as this happens to me all the time. I get a kick out of the sound effects (me screeching in the early morning light) although the rest of the house is not so amused.

    As I am writing about demons right now, my dreams are wild and in color.


  2. Muse and I don't communicate well sometimes. That's when she makes demands for attention with nightmares. At least, that's how I interpret the situation. She does get my attention with the tactic.

    Now, how many books does this make for you, Court. Four? I've lost count. You're production rate is phenomenal, I know.

  3. Interesting, I never use my dreams in my writing. Of course, they need a lot of "processing" :-) They seem very rational while I dream, then they are hilariously inconsistent. Sometimes I should give it a try. Some of them definitely have a good core, yet I forget them very fast. The notebook could be a good idea.

  4. If you're like me, many times my sleep is so deep--and the dreams within--that I don't wake to write them down. I haven't taken the time to program myself to wake long enough to take note and then go back to sleep.

    Snippets of dream can be profound prompts for flash fiction, especially. The feel of the dream and perhaps one image is enough for me to find a poem within.

    Good luck, Mariya, in jotting down those hysterical movies for later use.