how much do dreams effect what we write?

Friday night I had a dream that pretty much involved someone saying that they would protect me with their life (I didn’t believe him) and then Muslims getting mad across the country and a huge civil war breaking out in America. Actually, it was planned, but whatever it was, we had to flee for our lives because of a war on American soil.

So I began to think about one of the stories I have stored up in my head to write later. The basic idea of the story is a series of conversations between a mother and a daughter. The daughter’s in college and joined some kind of militia. She keeps saying that she will fight for freedom when it comes to it. If she needs to, she will fight. The question of the story though is where do we draw the line about fighting? And will you really fight if it comes to it?

At the end of the story, the country is basically collapse and the mom, who has always been the levelheaded one throughout this whole story, trying to put a check on the daughter’s enthusiasm, is the one who goes home from one of the conversations, takes out her shotgun, and drives to the militia camps that are actively fighting against the tyranny, while the daughter is the one questioning if it is time to fight.

Now, I’ll admit that dream on Friday scared me a little when I woke up. (Now, mind you, in the dream I have to chose between fleeing with my hamsters or my birds (I don’t have birds), so that might have been a bit traumatic. :) ) I honestly don’t know how much I would like to fight in a war. I felt cold and dead and scared at the prospect of having to at least flee and that I had to consider if I am actually willing to fight. But I’m also thinking that I have my next story to write, because I think it might be rather interesting, if I do it correctly. (I should model it slightly after Hilter’s Germany. THat could be very interesting.)

This would not be the first story I wrote in part of a dream. I actually wrote all of Giant’s Wife because of a dream. And if I hadn’t sworn off love stories, I would have written another story based off of a dream about a banished prince and a cursed country. (I apparently dream a lot about love stories.)

Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve written many stories off of my dreams. I found a story recently about someone defending their home against aliens. It actually was along the lines of the story  I mentioned up there, except that I dreamed it years ago.

So I’m wondering how true it is that our subconscious will work on stories while we’re asleep. It only seems to work well for me when I’ve slept for a long time, until 10 or 11 or so in the morning. But some of the ideas are quite interesting but oftentimes I can’t seem to remember enough of the details to write a story off of it. So perhaps it is better just to let them go.

Still, I do like the idea behind Giant’s Wife, even if it needs help. And the one that I mentioned previously isn’t as much of an idea for a story as much as a reinforcement for the story I already thought of. I must admit, however, that I do seem to get the best plotting in when I’m in that half awake, half asleep kind of phase, if I can remember any of it. So I suppose the question does come back to: how much does our dreams effect what we write?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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