In Your Dreams

Listening to: Senses Fail, “Can’t Be Saved”

UPDATE, 4:50 PM: Finished my typing and wrote a little over 300 new words. Ridiculously easy, now that I’m caught up.

100 Words Status: I will be writing 200 words to make up for yesterday. Yes, I’m a bad, bad girl–or at least, a girl who already had 2000 words to transfer from notebook to laptop. So. Yeah.

The Husband informed me last night that he had an interesting dream the night before. It involved the two sisters from my last book, and one of the major settings, the lake. Needless to say, I was fascinated–I never dream about my characters.

This also came up in conversation with an acquaintance earlier this week. After writing for several hours at Denny’s, I was getting ready to leave and remarked to my table-mate that, after such a long stretch of being in her head, my protagonist would probably spend the evening in my head.

I’ve mentioned before how I hear voices, and yeah, it sounds a little crazy, but I think it’s only natural when you spend so much time creating a character*. No, she’s not really “real” to me, but I’ve spent a lot of time with her. I spend a huge chunk of my non-writing time trying to figure out what the hell is going to happen to her, and how she’s going to deal with it–and in my writing time, I’m writing in her voice. With so much time devoted to one imaginary person, they get stuck in your head like a bad 80’s pop song.

Anyhow, when I mentioned this to him, he said, “Oh, so you’re going to dream about her all night?”

Well…no, oddly enough.

I’ll lay awake, thinking about what I’ve written and how I can improve it. I’ll hear bits of dialog from possible future scenes. I’ll consider various plot twists. But I won’t dream about the characters, the book, or pretty much anything writing-related.

And I think I know why. My brain needs a break, dammit. As much as I love my characters and my current WIP, 24/7 is overkill. And my brain knows that. It’s like when you dream about work**, and then you wake up…and you have to go to work. Who enjoys that? Not me.

I’m thrilled, though, that my characters made enough of an impression to show up in someone else’s head while they were sleeping. That might just be a sign that I did something right.

Or maybe he shouldn’t have eaten that pizza. Who knows?


*Note to other writers: Never joke about this with a therapist. Turns out, you probably shouldn’t mention the voices in your head to someone who could have you committed.

**Which I have–when I was still at my old day job, I once dreamt that I was tech writing. That was it. Just…tech writing. No purple unicorns, no visits from people I graduated with and haven’t seen in years. Just…tech writing. Number one sign you need to leave a job: when it’s boring even in your dreams.

2 thoughts on “In Your Dreams

  1. I hear my characters’ voices all the time. Sometimes a whole scene of dialogue will play out in my head. I live for those moments! (But thanks for the tip not to share my “internal eavesdropping” with a psychiatrist…) g*

  2. Erica, when I hadn’t written anything besides poetry and a few short stories in years, and then started a new novel…the day I heard dialogue in my head, was the day I knew I was back. I felt like I was 12 years old, writing my first little book again!

    As much as they may annoy me now, though, there’s no time that I feel more like a writer than when I hear “the voices” (except, of course, when I’m actually writing).

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