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Dreaming of a Plot

I read one of my favorite writer blogs this morning. Kristen Lamb talked about a writer’s dreams and how they might/might not differ from other people’s. Now, this is a subject that I’ve had on my mind a time or two but from an entirely different angle.

Kristen talked about the types of dreams that she’d been having and the interpretation she placed upon them. I have no argument with anything she had to say. Far from it. There are nights I’d like to know why something so mundane from my early childhood had been dredged up and force fed  to me with enough twists and terror to drop an elephant.

I used to have a recurring dream from my elementary years about a spiral staircase and a door at the top. For some reason, just reaching for that doorknob sent terror racing through my body and screams through my mind. I always woke up sweating, reaching for something invisible, heart pounding and skipping. I hated that dream because I had it several times a week for years.

When I was in my thirties I was talking to a friend of mine who was a shrink and we got on the subject of dreams. I told him about this one and how it had morphed into an even worse version when I hit about 25. He looked at me and said, “Would you really like to be rid of it?”

Color me excited. Of course, I wanted to be rid of it. He and I went to an unused room in the building and he had me re-enter the dream while I was awake. After walking through it, answering his questions as I recited my journey inside the dream, he asked me who it was who kept me from leaving this building filled with stone staircases with only picture windows for a view of the world.

Only one face came to mind and I told him who held the key to this fortress which entrapped me. That’s when he gave me my own key, which I used to escape that prison of a dream.

It was a simple thing really. Nothing complicated, but I’ve never had either the original nor morphed dream since. I have to hand that friend kudos for showing me how to set myself free. Another great thing… it hadn’t cost me a dime.

As a result, I see my dreams differently now. They are stories I can use for my writing. I can fly, explore, discover, go on quests, and much more when in dreamland. I no longer need permission to write them down and make something of them. They are there for my use since they are of my mind’s invention.

I’ve always dreamed in Technicolor — HD, 3D — and surround sound. I’ve had one dream in black and white in my life and it scared me witless. I didn’t find out until much later in life that the studies show that a majority of people dream in black and white.

So for those vivid dreamers out there, these nightly excursions into wild adventures have more purpose than keeping your eyes moving while you sleep. They do solve problems, bring catharsis, help us handle problems, and give writers great storylines for that next book or short story.

I have to applaud Kristen on her choice of topic for her Free-For-All Friday blog posting. It allowed me to dissect last night’s episode and use a glaring spotlight on something that had been a subconscious stewing pot for several weeks now.

If you’ve got the time, pop on over to Kristen’s blog and take a gander. Maybe she’ll spark something for you, too. Her link is: www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

Sleep well tonight. A bientot,


  1. October 18, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Fascinating post, Clauds. Like you, I used to have recurring dreams. They began in my childhood, and ended immediately following my divorce. I don’t know why they began, nor why they ended when they did.

    I’m one who sometimes dreams in color, and sometimes B/W. The thing that is truly perplexing to me is that, when I dream of people/pets who have passed on from this life, the dreams are accompanied by vivid color, texture, and scent.

    Intriguing topic.

    • claudsy
      October 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      Glad you liked it, Marie. Sometimes I wonder why writers bother to think up stories while they’re awake. So many good ones come without effort during sleep, after all.

      Later, girl.


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