Monday, August 4, 2014

I Have Been Dreaming

Good Morning. As I clicked the "schedule" for this post, I saw that I only have TWO weeks left to vacation, instead of THREE! OMG, where does the time go. And, as I watched the morning news, the weather lady said Tropical Storm Bertha will be on our doorstep within the next couple of days. I do not want to tell Monster that she may not get in any beach time until later in the week.

45 ft. down -- at the Coast Guard Station
Point Judith, Rhode Island

Anyway, I have been dreaming. During the night, as it were, not day - of which I am generally most fond. My dreams at night have been mind-blowing to say the least. I have not had such "real" dreams in a very long time. You know, the kind where you do NOT want to wake up from. The kind you wish you could live in forever. The kind, when you do finally wake up you roll over once more to see if you can get back into it, but to no avail, and then you feel like crying because the life you had in your dream was sooo muchhhhh betterrrrr than the one you are currently living in.

Yeah, those kind of dreams.

The first dream was in answer to a question I had asked myself before trying to sleep. I had just finished reading a book (contemporary romance) where the male protagonist was hot. Soooo hot. I liked the book very much, I liked the writing very much, I liked the male character (and the female MC, but this is not about her). Anyway, as I drifted off to sleep that night, I asked myself the questions -- Why can't I write a character like him? What is the secret? How do I get my writing to THAT place?

Ellis -- love him
So, I slept. And in my dream I was with my character Ellis Smith, Marquess of Haverlane from THE LADY'S FATE. Yeah, I know kind of wacked, but go with me. This book was the first novel in the series that I had published. It is, however, not the FIRST book in the series it is in actuality, the THIRD.

However, it has always been my best seller. Even when I have published other novels THE LADY'S FATE has always managed to outsell anything else. And I have always wondered why.

In my dream that night, the answer finally came to me. I was in love with Ellis when I wrote the book. Totally, irrevocably smitten. I had his image so clearly in my mind during every single scene that I wrote, I couldn't help it.
(Mind you, I had only ever seen the actor from this picture once, in a British drama about a zillion years ago, and even though he's quite famous now, I still can't tell you his name.) He's always been Ellis to me.

I also loved Violet as I wrote it, not in that way, but as a writer who's dug deep from the recesses of her own memory and imprinted her feelings onto the page through her character. (wow, that was kind of deep for me.) Anyway, as I was BEING Violet, and falling IN LOVE with Ellis as I was WRITING, I guess it made an impression on the pages. Hence, the obvious outselling other of my novels.

When I awoke from this rather bizarre dream, and as the answer clicked into place, that made me think about my other stories -- why they sell, or don't, and how I felt about the characters as I wrote each of them. Was I in love with them as well? I can honestly say, yes. And no, some not so much.

However, what's really weird, is -- each of the leading male characters from my other novels is based on a man I have known and loved at some point during my life. In each of the stories, each of them has the flaw that broke us up in real life to one extent or another. (I'm a writer who draws from her experiences) EXCEPT FOR ELLIS. He is totally and without reservation, completely made up.

Mind blowing isn't it? Well, maybe not to you, but it certainly was to me.

Perhaps I need to go on vacation more often? Or just eat pistachio ice cream before going to bed.

Tell me -- Do you ever dream about your characters? Do they speak to you? Give you the answers to questions you didn't even know you wanted? Or do they generally leave you alone?

Anne Gallagher (c) 1014


Maria Zannini said...

Dreams sometimes give me answers and sometime even plots to my stories, but I don't think I've ever dreamed about my characters--that I remember.

But your observation was very astute. The trick for many writers is being able to write down in words what we feel deep inside.

Hope Bertha doesn't spoil your vacation.

J.B. Chicoine said...

I kind of fall in love with all my characters, but I don't think I dream about them--too bad!

I do hope you get plenty more beach time in before vacation is over!

Anne Gallagher said...

Maria -- The dream was quite surreal and when I woke up, I was like "What was that?" But then as I examined it, it all made sense. (I used to do a lot of dream analysis).

Yes, writing down what we feel is soooo very hard.

Bridget -- I've dreamt about my characters before but not quite like this. This was very different.

As for Bertha -- we're watching the low pressure system an hoping it does what the meteorologist says it's going to do.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I think it's unavoidable to insert the physical characteristics of those we've known into our make believe characters on the page. Then after a while you feel like you known THEM better than the real people in your life! I haven't dreamed about them but they take unexpected turns in the story and do things you'd rather they didn't. I think you've had a pretty darn LONG vacation!! I'm getting away for three days next week, all I can muster.

Bish Denham said...

Isn't wonderful to have those kinds of dreams? They can be so inspiring and informative. I've definitely had answers come to me in dreams. I also think it's important to love your characters, even you're bad guys.

Bertha passed over the Virgin Islands and dumped some much needed rain. Here's hoping she doesn't get any stronger.

Shelley Sly said...

I'm a big dreamer. I dream vividly almost every night and wake up remembering a good portion of it. Sometimes I've dreamed about my characters, but it hasn't helped me with my stories so far.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I don't think i've ever dreamed about one of my stories once i've commited it to be a story, if that makes sense. I have had dreams that i later turned into stories, though.

Also, i love pistachio ice cream

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I never dream about my characters though I often fall asleep thinking about them. Sounds like it would be helpful if I did.


I'm not sleeping enough to dream anymore, since losing my husband eight months ago.
BUT I have to say, we write what we write. I believe we can learn many things about our craft, but we have inside us a way of telling our stories that nobody else has. A unique individuality that we bring to the page that isn't available to anyone else. So as your gift grows remember not to change into someone else. Hugs, Barb
PS sorry I haven't been around in a while.

Anne Gallagher said...

Yvonne -- It's true I suppose for any writer, to take some part of someone we know or even ourselves and insert it into the character. And yes, this vacation is I think, way too long. Time to go home.

Bish -- This dream was VERY interesting, in that I was thinking about "business" before sleeping and I expected a "businesslike" answer. What I ended up with was so unexpected. Bertha is supposed to pass 320 miles east of us. However we will get riptides and waves.

Shelley -- I used to dream a lot and well, but then for some reason I stopped. Now it's only once in a while. Maybe it has to do with the ocean. I don't know.

Sarah -- Yeah, that's the weird thing. I DAYdream about plot holes and character arcs, but never have I had a "real" dream about a character. Weird. I can't find pistachio down in NC. Ben & Jerry's every once in a while but that's it. I've eaten a whole gallon already.

Susan -- Maybe as you're falling asleep, you work out all the problems you have with them so your subconcious mind doesn't need to dream about them. Which would be a good thing.

Barb --Thank you for stopping by. I've missed you. And I think your comment is spot on. We are all individual and cannot create a story like anyone else.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've always had vivid dreams, and except for the occasional nightmare, am quite entertained by them. I can't say that any of my characters have ever populated my dreams, though, doggone it. That would be way cool.

I hope Bertha doesn't mess up your vacation. said...

A dream inspired my first novel, but I never dreamed of my Jalal again.

I know what you mean about the writing reflecting your love for your characters. But then, I think the writing is always best when the author was emotionally invested in the story. It would be nice to know my readers feel the same emotions I felt.

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- I think my dreaming is because I'm at the beach. I used to have dreams like this all the time. Now I live in the mountains, not so much.

Bertha has moved off, but the waves are amazing.

Linda -- That book, The Lady's Fate, was the book of my heart. I was a newbie and didn't know the rules, I poured my soul into it as well as my love for Violet and Ellis. I don't think I've been able to capture that magic quite the same way again.


Yes, my characters do speak to me. I found when I was writing Vada Faith, I fell in love with her husband John and then when she did stupid things to him I didn't like her! Weird. I got right into character in that story.
I tend to do that when I'm writing. I can't say I dream about the characters except when I'm doing the actual writing. Ellis sounds exciting!
Take care. Barb

Carol Kilgore said...

I've only dreamed of my characters before I wrote them. I've never dreamed of one after.

I hope Bertha passed far enough to your east not to interfere with your vacation.