Forget dreaming in black and white or in color, I dream in characters. Lately, my dreams are pervaded with facial details, snippets of dialogue, and deep motivations. As soon as I slip into REM sleep I enter my novel world. I look through the eyes of my protagonist and absorb everything from her perspective. Talk about a trip!
And I can only profess to love this recent phenomenon. Why? Because it helps me write in deep POV for my MC. It reminds me of a woman looking in a mirror with a reflection of a woman looking in a mirror and a reflection behind that woman of a woman looking in a mirror. All the same woman, of course.
I’m a strong believer that to write a character well, you must extract their traits, their fears, and their strengths from somewhere inside yourself. This is not to say your characters are merely a reflection of you, but rather they are a creative glimpse of an aspect of who you are. I’m also not saying you must live through everything your characters will endure. That would be absurd. But what I am getting at is it certainly helps if you’re able to identify and flesh out the emotion, impetus, and reasons behind why they act the way they do—why they make the decisions they do.
Back to dreamland. This is why I smile when I wake from a character dream. I’ve been given a gift. I’ve tunneled into their world only to help me make their world more believable. And the beauty of this occurrence is that I’m not ignorant of the fact I’m changing, I’m healing, and I’m releasing some part of myself while I dream. I’m giving it up to my character—to come alive on the page.
I dream. I release. I embrace the character this extension of me has become.
I capture it in a story redolent with plot twists, conflict, and resolve. I wake up wrapped in that fragrance. The memory of dreaming reflected in the process of leading story to life.
Why do you think my dreams are a safe place for my characters to establish themselves? And have your characters found your dreams a place to grow?
*Keli Gwyn wrote some wonderful posts about dreams last week
*photo by flickr
*photo by flickr