10 October 2016

Dream A Little Scene


DREAM A LITTLE SCENE

by Jan Grape


The other night I had an awesome dream. Bill Crider was in it with me. Yes, the Dad of the three VBKs (very bad kittens) if you don't follow Bill, then why not? Anyway, this dream involved Bill and me and this blonde lady. So in the dream Bill and I were touring the US together with our Edgar-winning best-selling Books. (Okay, if you are going to dream, dream big, right?) In this dream we were going from East Coast to West Coast with stops in Houston TX at Murder By The Book and including The Poisoned Pen in Scotsdale AZ for book signing events.

This blonde would show up at every bookstore where we were signing. She bought Bill's book and mine, too in TX. Then she showed up in Austin when we signed at Book People. She wanted our signatures only; not personalized. The blonde wouldn't speak other than to say, "Signature only please." She wouldn't talk to either of us, although both Bill and I tried to engage her in conversation.

The blonde showed up in Dallas and in Scotsdale AZ and in LA and then San Francisco. She wouldn't get into our signing line but waited until we had signed books for the store's stock, she'd make her purchase. It began to get a bit creepy. Was she stalking Bill or me? What on earth did she want? Did she have murder on her mind and not the kind you read about but the kind a person actually did.  We talked to police who called in the FBI. Our publisher even discussed hiring a body-guard. We did another couple of signings and she was there each time. But she'd leave before the FBI agent or our body-guard could talk to her. When we walked into the bookstore in Portland OR we gave a huge sigh of relief because we didn't see her. But that was short lived because she came out from one of the back corners of the store just as we were signing the last books for the store's stock.

Our body guard was right behind her. This time he had her by the arm. He spoke to her for about 10 minutes. After that she left. Bill and I finished signing and the guy came up with a silly smile on his face. "The blonde wasn't stalking you. She just wanted to by an autographed book in each store where you had personally appeared."

That's when I woke up. Okay it was a silly little dream but it did stay with me and I soon found myself thinking of different story lines and in what way could I built up suspense? What if I did this ? And what about this after that? Could I come up with enough of a plot to make a short story out of the dream? Doubtful.

Which gave me the idea to write this blog. Have any of you ever written a story or a book based on a dream? I don't think I have but I am sure that I have gone to bed thinking about a scene I was having a problen with and dreamed up a solution to the problem. Years ago I asked Joe Landsdale how he came up with one of his book's strange characters. He said, my wife makes some really greasy popcorn for me. I eat that, go to bed and dream strange
books. Works for Joe.

Have any of you done that? I really would like to read your comments.




14 comments:

O'Neil De Noux said...

Yes, I've written a couple short stories inspired by dreams. I also wrote an historical saga inspired by a dream - USS RELENTLESS. The original dream was short and memorable. I daydreamed about it after and sometimes I would dream in my sleep about the ship and the characters. Nice inspirations.

Art Taylor said...

Fun story, Jan! And yes, I've written stories inspired by dreams. In one case, I woke up, went and wrote the entire thing down, and then came back and barely changed any of the *substance* of it in revision (though changed much of the writing, of course). It appeared in Needle a few years back: "The White Rose of Memphis."

janice law said...

I don't dream solutions or stories but I often wake up knowing the next scene or the next chapter.

B.K. Stevens said...

The crucial element in my first published story ("True Detective," 1988) came from a dream. It wasn't a plot idea, just a snippet of conversation between two police detectives, but it gave me a clear sense of their characters and of the relationship between them. I wrote twelve stories about those characters, all published in AHMM, all with titles beginning with "True"; I finally ended the series in 2014 with a story called "True Enough." I've had several dreams that suggested plot possibilities, and I've jotted them down as soon as I got up, but so far none of those ideas has gone anywhere. And I often dream about characters in stories or novels I'm working on, but they're seldom doing anything worth reporting.

Eve Fisher said...

Love the post. And yes, I've written stories based on dreams. One was "Dark Hollow", kind of a horror/thriller set in the woods; and I'm working on one right now that was sparked by a dream, tentatively called "Time is a Beast".

Barb Goffman said...

The plot of my story "Christmas Surprise" (about about snarky elf who hates Christmas) came to me in a dream. I fleshed the story out when I wrote it, but all the important plot elements were in the dream. The story appeared in my collection, Don't Get Mad, Get Even.

Jan Grape said...

Nice to read about, O'Neil, By the way, I'm reading THE BIG SHOW. One of the free books I got at Bouchercon in NOLA. I'm enjoying it but even more because Susan Cooper and I rode a trolley to the Garden District and saw many of the streets and houses you mention in the book. Makes the story more fun for me. I do like Jodie and LaSalle a lot.

Jan Grape said...

That's cool. I've waken from a dream, wrote furiously in my tablet but when I got up the next morning...it all was gibberish.

Jan Grape said...

I've done that too, Janice.

Jan Grape said...

A TRUE story, if I ever heard one, Bonnie.

Jan Grape said...

Now that's intriguing, Eve. And another of those "woo-woo" things that my dream and blog writing just came up as you were working on your dream story.

Jan Grape said...

Barb, it's way cool that almost your whole story came from a dream. And I love that story title.

Bill Crider said...

I've never written a story inspired by a dream. I know you dreamed your blog post because I've never been on a book tour, either.

Leigh Lundin said...

Jan, I often dream solutions. I may have dreamt plot elements, but not entire stories.