On Writing: Dreaming Up a Story

Every now and then I have a dream that I can piece together into a decent story, given some time and elbow grease. The other day I didn't sleep well, and woke up twice in the middle of vivid dreams. In the first one, I was with a small group of people at an interstate rest stop when a tornado came by, just brushing the edge of the building. Everyone else hid intelligently in the basement (even though rest stops I've been in don't have basements) while I stood by the window, getting a pretty decent video of the twister as it spun by.

I've had these kind of storm chasing dreams before. The difference in this case is that I actually got some video; usually my camera breaks or goes dead, or something comes between me and the funnel, or otherwise I don't get a shot. Not really an idea to wrap a story around.

Not that I haven't turned storm chasing into stories before.

The second one was one of those dreams that was both vivid and had something of a plot. I woke up from it and lay there, wide awake and staring at the ceiling as my mind filled the blanks in. Then I ran downstairs to the laptop, and slammed out a story idea of about five hundred words complete with characters, setting, plot, and complications. Plus, our dog would be in it.

"Who? Me?"

Thank goodness I have a wife who understands writers.

Here's the thing: Although set in modern times, the story would be a supernatural fantasy. Just what I need ... another genre! That would be, what ... my sixth?

But the idea stuck with me so much that I was tempted to bypass other projects and go right to work on it. The only problem is, I was about halfway through the first draft of a Storm Chaser prequel, which I bragged about doing a year ago ... and I'd already put that aside to work on a new novel that I'm now editing, Fire On Mist Creek.

So ... it goes on my "to do" list, along with ideas for maybe two dozen more stories. Actually, a "to write" list. It has a ways to go before it outnumbers my "to read" list, but it's heading that way.

As most nights are.


  1. Priorities!

    I rarely remember much of dreaming, though I'm quite aware that I dream extensively through the night.

    A few nights back I dreamed that I was wearing a tuxedo.

    With the bow tie.

    I don't know how to tie a bow tie.

    How it got on me is beyond me.

    1. You'd better look behind you, in case a scary clown tied that bow tie!

  2. My dreams are always monotonous and annoying, which is probably why alifelong inability to sleep has its bonuses.

    1. I wish I could go without sleep and still be healthy; I'd get a lot more done.

  3. It's official, Mark. You have a bad case of the writer's disease. There is no cure. Keep writing.