Authors in Dreamland


by Raymond M. Coulombe

Dreams are weird. There’s no telling what’s going to come back with you from the Land of Nyx. Sometimes we bring back weird images and tales from our journeys to the land of dreams -or the land of nightmares.

A common question for writers is: where do you get your ideas? Well, sometimes we just dream them up. Some writers keep a dream journal by their bed and write down what they remember. Personally, I get up and write on the computer as I can type faster than I can push a pen. Whatever works for you.

There have been times when I’ve woken up with a complete short story. I published one under a pen name as it didn’t even feel like one of mine. How weird is that?

The creative process is a strange and wonderful beast. It lurks in deep dark places of the mind. Our subconscious mind throws up all kinds of odd things during our sleeping state. Some of that stuff is the fabric of which stories are formed. A good writer can take those gifts and run with them.

Usually it’s just a scene or an image. Rarely, it’s whole chapters and stories. More often than not those flashes of inspiration need to be hammered and molded into a coherent tale. Here’s a personal example. The other night I had a vivid dream about two young teenage boys. One was a genius and his best friend was there to help make things happen. In the dream, the genius had figured out how to bypass the alarms and locks of banks. His friend would help him carry all the money out of the banks.

The funny part of the dream is that they accumulated fourteen million dollars but had no good idea how to launder it. Had they gone about spending thousands of dollars someone would have asked questions. At the end of the dream they were trying to launder money with sidewalk bake sales. They’d laundered about three hundred dollars by the end of my dream.

Now the whole story is pretty silly, but the basic bones could work for the right publication. It might be more useful cut up into parts. A writer could just focus on the idea of two kids stumbling their way into high dollar crime. The dream could get an author to think about how would a regular person launder ill gotten gains. Maybe the take away could be about the friendship itself, how a genius and a regular guy could become great friends. There are nuggets of ideas ready to be mined.

Writers can use their dreams and nightmares as tools in their kit. The lazy writer in me is rather fond of using dream ideas. It’s getting work done while asleep. All you have to do is to capture those ideas before the light of day burns them away.

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