You know what?
Something really interesting just occurred to me.
(Yes, I do realize that roughly 75% of all my conversations start this way. No, that’s not the interesting thing.)
So, I’m currently working on the first draft of Paper Valentine, and when I woke up this morning, I had the startling realization that I’ve never dreamed about the story.
Typically, I’m a big dreamer (when I’m not busy being a huge insomniac). I have vivid, complex dreams every night, and I tend to remember them. I like them.
When I was finishing up The Space Between, I was dreaming about it all the time—almost every night. I dreamed that I was sitting at my desk, frantically writing it, and I dreamed that I was walking around in its shiny made-up world, checking out the set design and asking the characters who they were and what they wanted.
I went through the same thing when I was writing The Replacement—a lot of nights chained to a dream-desk or wandering vaguely around the House of Mayhem, looking at all the cool stuff.
Anyway, this occurred to me, and my inner-monologue immediately kicked in with its neurotic stream of chatter, mostly in the vein of: But I dreamed about my other books! If I don’t dream about Paper Valentine, does that mean I don’t love it as much as the other ones? I mean, I think I love it, it feels like I love it, but what if I’m wrong? I want to love my books! Why don’t I love this one enough to dream about it?
And then I said, “Shut up, neurotic inner monologue!”
(Just so we’re clear, I do not typically tell people to shut up. I think it’s rude. However, I tell my interior monologue to shut up all the time, because let’s be honest—she often needs to hear it.)
Now, here we come to the interesting part:
The dreams I had about my other books? The bright, vivid ones, that totally robbed me of restful sleep and also made me so unwaveringly sure that I loved those books?
I realized just now that I dreamed those dreams while I was revising. They were all dreams about problem-solving, refining, measuring the existing space for furniture and carpeting. (Metaphorically speaking. The House of Mayhem has no carpet.) They were not dreams that happened while I was busy inventing.
And that is really excellent, in a clear-cut, science-y way, because I love that I’ve discovered a pattern in myself. (Often, I am chaos theory on wheels. I am the butterfly effect. I am ill-defined. I am endless extrapolation.)
I love that I’ve accidentally defined a parameter and that my personal writing process has just become a little bit more demystified.
But not too demystified. Because of this realization, the process is now simultaneously less and more mysterious. Which is the hallmark of a thing that may in fact be unsolvable.
Which is good, because believe me—there is nothing I love more than a good unsolvable.
Do you dream about your stories? Do you remember your dreams? If you usually dream about your stories, and then you don’t, do you have to slap your inner-monologue in the face and tell it to get ahold of itself?
(That last one might just be me.)