Kimberly Dean on Dreaming and Writing
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 12 2008
Author Web site: www.kimberlydean.com
What She Wants at Midnight: The man of Devon Bradshaw’s dreams is exactly that—in her dreams. For months, Cael Oneiros has watched Devon while she sleeps. As a Dream Wreaker, it’s his job to bestow dreams on sleeping humans, yet with Devon, he wants more. When she casts a love spell, he gets it. But Devon’s magic didn’t come with a warning label, and soon their illicit romance has consequences nobody expected.
Dream a Little Dream
It’s always interesting what you run across when you’re doing research for a story. For my Dream Wreaker series, which kicks off with What She Wants at Midnight, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject of dreaming. It’s been fascinating to learn about the sleep stages, what happens during REM, and what dreams might mean. Yet one article I kept, but didn’t use (“Science Paying Attention to Not Paying Attention” by Malcolm Ritter, Associated Press, March 19, 2007, https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17690541/),
regarded daydreams or mind wandering.
It made me wonder if writers’ thought processes are different from those of “normal” people.
According to research results, on average people are not thinking about what they are doing thirty to forty percent of the time. Unfortunately for us writers, this includes people who are reading, although to a lesser percentage. The human brain just seems hard-wired to wander. Most often, the mind slips to everyday things such as “to do” lists. Fantasies are the next most common, with worries coming in third. In this way, the human mind seems to devote time to problem solving or planning for the future.
As a writer, what do you think about when your mind goes on a little side trip? Some writers may tend to fall into the fantasy category to develop new story ideas. Personally, that requires concentrated thought for me. My wandering thoughts are like everyone else’s . . . I go to my “to do” list. Yet this is where I wonder if creative types differ. My “to do” list includes my writing. Most often, my wandering thoughts go to the mechanics of writing, such as how can I best get my point across? How can I give a hint without giving away the final storyline twist? What’s the perfect sentence to hook a reader at the end of a chapter or how can I segue from one scene to the next? The answer often comes to me in these little flashes of random thought.
I’ll get words. A sentence will pop into my head or a crystal-clear, concise idea will appear. For instance, in What She Wants at Midnight, my editor asked me to add an epilogue that showed where the characters ended up. I consciously chose a direction, but it just wouldn’t come together. I was doing something totally unrelated when a new thought hit me. Why not concentrate on a secondary character? I did, and that approach worked out much better.
So how do your daydreams work? Do you get more than grocery lists and carpooling schedules? Does anyone see pictures? How long do these little blips last? Or do your wandering thoughts never include your works in progress? Tell me, everyone, just how do we do this thing we do?