Dreaming a Plotline

As NaNoWriMo approaches, I have been debating whether or not I can take the time away from revising last year’s novel to take on the challenge again this year. I had hoped to be finished with my revision, but a family crisis in August interfered with my progress. Not having completed it, I am not ready to write the second book in that series at this time.

So here I was, without any idea of a book to write, and without much motivation to start something new. Then I had a silly, strange dream. I saw pirates and a superhero, and a small boy who dreams of each and knows there is a connection between something that happened centuries before his birth and a city that would not be built for centuries more. The dream seemed strange, disconnected. But when I started thinking about the what ifs of history, it grew into a feasible plot.

This is the second year in a row that I have dreamed the inspiration for a novel. Last year’s piece, Phantom Queen, was inspired by a dream in which I was hiding in a park, trying to shoot a faerie, and became cursed by a banshee. It was so bizarre, I had to look into Irish myths. As I researched the legends, I also developed a very strong, stubbornly honest protagonist and a mysterious antagonist.

What I have learned from these experiences is that if we pay attention to the unusual in our dreams, we can catch a glimpse of the stories our Muses want us to tell. Our subconscious mind speaks in metaphors and images, so sometimes they are not literally the plots or characters that are perfect for us. But they can certainly be a starting point for discovering the novels within us.

Have you dreamed a character or a plot? Do you keep a dream journal? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Writing

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