Dreaming a Scene

The only time I’ve ever used dreams in my writing (that I’m aware of) has been for poems, and those were assigned. The basic idea was to transcribe the dream, not interpret or manipulate, and see what happens. Results varied.

Last night was weird though.

So I’m exhausted, right? (I blame being pregnant.) I go to bed and it’s all snug and warm. Then the dream starts coming and it’s odd because it’s the scene that I want to write for the American Icon competition. And I’m in two places: at my desk with a legal pad and a pen, physically writing the scene and in the bar where the scene takes place. Like I’m watching it through the paper and pen.

The thought keeps running through my head that I’ve procrastinated too long, everything is going to suck…but the scene is good. And it’s come to me whole…with only one question of continuity because there’s something I want to happen that I may have to let go. I only have two minutes after all–that’s about two-three pages depending on how dense I make the prose.

When I woke up I felt ready and raring to go. Has anyone else had an experience like this? Where you realized the dream was your work and you knew what happened next? It’s pretty trippy. Goodness knows if it’ll work, but I think I’m gonna try to do what I remember.

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jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Yeah. Sometimes. Sleep is good for you.Someday, I’m going to write the story of the Demon of Air. I dreamed this dream which sent me awake with a jerk and a start, about this demon fellow with a huge fuck-off sword. Couple days later, I dreamed the sequel: a scenerio where this Van Helsing type guy and his daughter are chasing the demon. Wake up in a sweat after that one too. There were a few more sequels, one involving a red and feral version of the already scary demon guy. There’s not a real cohesive plot-line yet…. But hey, gave me the collywobbles.Bayban

  2. That’s how I got the idea for HM. Although I didn’t see myself writing. I was Shannon, Sloan’s 12 year old daughter. But I did know within the dream that this was a story that I’d be writing.It is trippy, but you have to go with it when it’s handed to you.

  3. Like you, my only dream-writing has been poetry assignments. I’m quite fond of one of the poems that came out of it though, it has zombie sheep in it.

  4. I’ve never done this while dreaming, but I have done it at other odd moments. The most odd, that I can remember, was when I was in the middle of a conversation with someone. It just hit me what came next in the story. I just stopped talking to this person and started writing in my head. Thank goodness I was talking to someone who already knew how strange I am.

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