Monday, December 22, 2008

I Have Dreamed a Dream

© Karen Wiesner 2008 all rights reserved


"In dreaming, the clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d I cried to dream again.”
from “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare

A strangling had just occurred in the park. The victim? A dancer from the local scandaleux strip joint. When the local small town lieutenant, who’s longing just to go home to his new wife, goes to the nightclub to investigate, he encounters the radical personalities of the other dancers: one far-too-young-and-innocent; another older, vengeful and jaded; and a blond bombshell with unfathomable depths. What happened next took the lieutenant through a wild chase to hunt down, and capture, a killer.

When I woke from this intense dream, I immediately started writing. My pen flew over the paper as I wrote down everything I saw in my dream-movie. When it finally faded out, leaving heaviness in my chest, I’d filled pages with in-depth notes. I put the notes into my plot cupboard where I expected it to fade from my imagination quickly. Little did I realize that it was the beginning of what would eventually open a whole new writing adventure to me. Later, Christine Spindler (who wrote an award-winning mystery series and happened to live in Auenwald, Germany), a friend from a mutual publisher, and I started talking about writing a mystery novel together. My first thought was the dream I’d had about the small town detective tracking a killer in a strip joint while missing his wife. I told Christine about this idea gathering dust in my cupboard, and she told me about an idea she had about a mystery involving twin sisters.

When she sent me the notes she had on her story, I knew this was something that was meant to be. Without a break, I spent the rest of that day combining the best elements from both of our ideas, and DEGREES OF SEPARATION—a full-blown whodunit mystery—was born. Soon two authors who had never met in person were brainstorming non-stop from our ends of the world. In under two months, we’d completed the novel, which was so much like the dream I’d had I couldn’t doubt that destiny had brought us together. We both accepted that we wouldn’t want this to be a single book. We’d become enchanted with Pete Shasta and Danny Vincent, investigators for the fictional Falcon’s Bend Police Department, and together we plan to visit often the “small, sleepy Wisconsin town that owns more taverns than churches but fills both on the appropriate days. A place where nothing seems to happen...except the occasional murder.”

Since then, dreams have been a huge part of my fiction writing, in many instances for the Falcon’s Bend Series. “Blind Revenge” (FALCON’S BEND CASE FILES, VOLUME I) began just as I was about to drop off to sleep one night. In my mind, I saw a woman walking down a hall. I saw a man ahead of her. The woman kept walking past him, then she looked back at the door, and he was looking at her, too. The woman went outside, got in her convertible, and a second later the passenger door opened and the man got in. At that moment, my subconscious mind turned creepy. Suddenly this woman was blindly kissing her stranger as if it was the end of the world. I knew that, for her, it was the end of the world when she said the witch was coming for her eyes.

“Fixated” (also in FBCF, VOLUME I) was based on a dream I had about a woman who was being stalked by someone. “Retribution” (which will be in FALCON’S BEND CASE FILES, VOLUME II) is based on a dream I had about a scantily clad woman temporarily inhabiting a property and lurking in the backyard. When I woke, I was in a Falcon’s Bend mindset, and quickly worked this dream into the idea that the subdivision Lieutenants Pete Shasta and Danny Vincent live in becomes home to a very hot young mama…and their wives Lisa and Melody aren’t too happy about all the men in the neighborhood moonlighting as Peeping Toms. But it isn’t until the woman disappears, leaving her two children alone, that Lisa realizes crime is firmly afoot.

Anyway, I think using dreams to craft fiction is brilliant. Is it a little...well, disturbing? Sometimes it is, but writers can always make lemonade out of lemons.
* * *
Special offer to Murder by 4 visitors! Purchase a download of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER for only $4.99 and receive ROMANTIC NOTIONS free!
Visit http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/2for1.html to receive this special offer.

Anyone who participates (leaves a comment) about Karen's article is eligible for a giveaway of the winner's choice of a trade paperback of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER or ROMANTIC NOTIONS. Winner will be chosen and contacted December 23, 2009. Winner must b able to provide a valid name and mailing address. Overseas winners are welcome!
* * *
Karen Wiesner is an accomplished author with 55 books published in the past 10 years, which have been nominated for and/or won 75 awards, and 20 more titles under contract. Karen’s books cover such genres as women’s fiction, romance, mystery/police procedural/cozy, suspense, paranormal, futuristic, gothic, inspirational, thriller, horror and action/adventure. She also writes children’s books, poetry, and writing reference titles such as her bestseller, First Draft in 30 Days, available from Writer’s Digest Books. Karen’s second release from Writer’s Digest Books is From First Draft to Finished Novel -- A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story.

30 comments:

ddurance said...

I've never put much stock in dreams, mine are not usually memorable or understandable. It's kind of like a painting by Picasso. LOL
I'm glad that someone can use their dreams for good. I'm not that familiar with The Fifteenth Letter or Romantic Notions, but I've seen a lot lately about Woodcutter's Grim and it looks amazing.

Deidre

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks, Deidre. My dreams aren't always clear either, but I find if I write down the intriguing bits as soon as I wake up (before they float away), I can usually craft something out of them later. It takes a lot of work to turn a dream into a novel or a novella.

My Woodcutter's Grim Series is romantic horror and I plan to write another collection soon. Find out more here:
www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction6.html.

Thanks for participating. : )

Karen
www.karenwiesner.com; Karen's Quill, KarensQuill-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, subscribe for a chance to win Karen's books every month!

Kim Smith said...

Hey Karen! Thanks for joining MB4 today... I love this aspect of the writing life, and honestly, wish it happened to me more often. Usually my best dreams are the ones between real sleep and wakefulness on a Saturday morning because I am allowed to sleep late and can be lazy. For some reason, just knowing that I do NOT have to jump out of bed and begin a day lends itself to great plot ideas! Oh and of course, the shower time too. Wonder why that is??

Anonymous said...

Check out a new interview with Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler here:

http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/newsletters/ (December 2008)
Direct link:
http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/newsletters/dec08.pdf

Karen Wiesner said...

Kim,

I've referred to this time between wakefulness and sleep as the twilight where our minds are at their most fertile. But anytime we're actually alone for a few minutes in peace...lol, what better time to brainstorm? : )

Karen

s.w. vaughn said...

How very cool! I don't think I've ever dreamed a plot, but I've had dreams about my existing characters (rather freaky ones, at that).

I'm especially intrigued about your co-author arrangement. The internet really is amazing, to allow us to connect with people we never would have otherwise met - and to write a book with someone you've never met? Awesome!

Karin said...

I read excerpts of your books during a Christmas Contest and found them very interesting - expecially the Incognito Series. After reading your blog I am even more intrigued. Sometimes it's hard to tell what is real and what is a dream!

Karen Wiesner said...

S.W., My dreams don't come to me as plot. There's just something intriguing that haunts me even after I wake up. What I write down is often disjointed and unusual. It isn't until I set it aside for a period of time, then come back to it later, that I find something that can work as a plot in that dream fragment. It's really worth writing down dreams-pieces because you never know what you can turn it into later. : )

Karen
www.karenwiesner.com; Karen's Quill, KarensQuill-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, subscribe for a chance to win Karen's books every month!

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks, Karin. You can find out more information about my Incognito Series here:
http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction7.html

and

http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction7a.html

Karen
What is Dee Lloyd (Dame Aquamarine) up to? Find out at www.JewelsoftheQuill.com. Join us in December for our annual Christmas Giveaway Galore, and monthly book giveaways!

Swimming Kangaroo said...

I frequently dream that I am writing what is happening in my dreams as it is happening and I will make plot changes or shift locales accordingly. Alas, I seldom remember the dreams for long enough after I wake up to do anything about them.

Swimming Kangaroo Books is pleased to welcome Karen and Chris to our group of authors and extend our congratulations to them on the release of The Fifteenth Letter and Romantic Notions.

Dindy Robinson
Publisher
www.swimmingkangaroo.com

LuAnn said...

I don't typically dream a lot, but when I do, they tend to be rather bizarre and unusual. Maybe I need to keep a log!

Every Day Bloggers said...

Great post, Karen. And freaky because I wrote about a dream in yesterday's post. That happens to me all the time: I link with total strangers over some creative issue. Best of luck with your new book. It's on my wish list.

Merry Christmas!
--
joylene

Christine Spindler said...

Hi,

I'm Christine, Karen's writing partner. I hope she and I will be able to meet in person one day. Now that's a dream that might really come true :-)
Cheers
Christine

Karen Wiesner said...

I saw your post, Joylene. How timely. : )

Everyone, please check out my amazing mystery co-partner's websites here:
http://www.christinespindler.com and her German website http://www.christinespindler.de

Internet makes this partnership possible. Sometimes it's hard to forget we're so far away from each other. : )

Also, please welcome Dindy Robinson, publisher of the Falcon's Bend Series. This series has had quite a few bumps, but we're thrilled with Swimming Kangaroo Books www.swimmingkangaroo.com

Karen
Only $9 each if you buy 3 paperbacks! Visit http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/specialorderform.html!

Karen Wiesner said...

Dindy wrote: I frequently dream that I am writing what is happening in my dreams as it is happening and I will make plot changes or shift locales accordingly. Alas, I seldom remember the dreams for long enough after I wake up to do anything about them.

I thought I was the only person who wrote what I was dreaming while I was dreaming it. Guess I'm not as strange as I always thought.

I don't often remember my dreams, but when I do and they're intriguing, I write it down as fast as I can because the threads drift away so quickly.

Karen
Looking for giveaways! I've got a dozen just in time for the holidays: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/giveaways.html

Karen Wiesner said...

Don't forget:

Swimming Kangaroo Books, the publisher of the Falcon's Bend Series, is offering a special deal to visitors to the Murder by 4 blog: Purchase a download of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER and receive ROMANTIC NOTIONS free! Visit http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/2for1.html to qualifty for this special offer.

Additionally, anyone who participates (leaves a comment) about my article is eligible for a giveaway of the winner's choice of a trade paperback of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER or ROMANTIC NOTIONS. Winner will be chosen and contacted tomorrow, December 23, 2009. Winner must be able to provide a valid name and mailing address. Overseas winners are welcome!

Karen
THE FIFTEENTH LETTER and ROMANTIC NOTIONS, Books 3 and 4 of the Falcon's Bend Series, available now, www.falconsbend.com

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Karen, how cool that we both posted about dreams on Sunday and Monday on MB4!

Last year I woke with strong memories of a vibrant dream. It haunted me. It amused me. And I couldn't stop thinking about it.

It was the kind of dream I often experience when I've been able to sleep in. Usually these just-before-I-wake dreams are vivid and wild, full of color. Whoever claims men don't dream in color hasn't met me. I always dream in color!

This dream fell into that category, and it featured a bird I've named, "Ruby." I've looked her up on the net, and it appears she is a ringtailed parakeet. But she's an impossible color - a beautiful combination of rose and tangerine. A flaming orange mixture with soft feathers who snuggles into your neck and is most affectionate. Doesn't she sound cool?

I've never owned a bird, mind you. Never knew anyone who had a pet bird. My life's always been full of horses, dogs, and cats. Oh, and kids. Lots of animals and kids. But for some reason, my mind clamped onto this bird image and featured her in such a strong way that she's the star of my thirteenth book, entitled "The Aviary."

Good luck with your book - it sounds wonderful!

Karen Wiesner said...

I love dream stories like this, Aaron. How amazing the way these things come to us. And this is just one of the many ways writers get ideas.

Karen
Men and women who live in the shadows... Award-winning romantic suspense, 5 star reviewed Incognito Series, Books 1-7 now available, www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction7.html

donnas said...

Great article. What an awesome way to come up with an idea and be able to remember it and turn it into a full story.

I love mysteries and Degrees of Seperation sounds great. Cant wait to locate a copy.

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks, Donna. : )

Karen
THE FIFTEENTH LETTER and ROMANTIC NOTIONS, Books 3 and 4 of the Falcon's Bend Series, available now, www.falconsbend.com

GladysMP said...

I just finished listening to the songs that came in the email to me and having a good laugh. 'Gotta leave now and do some last minute shopping. Merry Christmas to anyone reading this! And good luck with selling the new book! It sounds great!

pattycake said...

Unfortunately I don't dream often--wish I did dream as sometimes dreams do come true. Perhaps I'm missing some nice adventure, or nice man coming into my life, by not remembering a dream.

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks, GladysMP.

LOL, pattycake.

Thanks for dropping by today.

I'll choose a winner for the trade paperback first thing tomorrow morning and send a message to the winner privately (if possible) as well as here in the comments section. Please remember that I need a valid name and address so my publisher can get the book out to you ASAP. The winner will have his or her choice between a trade paperback of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER or ROMANTIC NOTIONS.

Karen
Perfect Cadence, Book 1 of the Kaleidoscope Series available now in CHRISTMAS WISHES, A Jewels of the Quill Christmas Anthology, http://www.JewelsoftheQuill.com

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Karen,

Great discussion. I'm just getting home, but had wanted to join in since I saw the notice last night.

I do believe in the power of dreams. And I like the name you gave for the lucid state as the Twilight. I have to keep a pen and notebook next to my bed. If I have to get up and out of bed to find them or I have to walk to the other room where my computer is, the dream is gone. I thought about keeping an old tape recorder next to the bed because sometimes, the very act of writing lifts the haze. If I could just press record and mumble, I might be able to capture more.

The back story behind Degrees of Separation is so uncanny (and probably wouldn't have been possible without high tech help) that I will have to get it.

Thanks for your blog today. I had slacked off from recording my dreams, but am now going to start again.

Julie

Julie Robinson said...

Hey Kim, I recognize you from other loops and just wanted to say that your comment about coming up with great ideas seem to happen in the shower to me as well. Also with driving on the interstate. Kind of scary if you think that day lucid dreaming happens when the mind relaxes and is free to roam! Julie

kaisquared said...

I don't always remember my dreams. I sometimes wish that I could change the world with my dreams, like in The Lathe of Heaven, but a lot of times I am glad I cannot.

megalon22 said...

Have been reading all the interesting comments about dreams. I generally cannot recall my dreams. Although, on occasion, I have some really vivid ones that I do remember - these ones seem to happen when I stay in bed longer than I should! Like Julie R. posted, some of my best ideas come to me in the shower when I relax.

Karen Wiesner said...

The winner of a trade paperback of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER is Deidre Durance. Congratulations, Deidre. And thanks to everyone who participated!

Purchase a download of THE FIFTEENTH LETTER and receive ROMANTIC NOTIONS free! Visit http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/2for1.html to qualifty for this special offer.

Karen
THE FIFTEENTH LETTER and ROMANTIC NOTIONS, Books 3 and 4 of the Falcon's Bend Series, available now, www.falconsbend.com

Marta Stephens said...

Karen thanks so much for joining us here at MB4. Best wishes with your book!

Marilyn said...

Karen is one of the brightest women I've had the pleasure of meeting in person and following on the Internet.

As for dreams, mine are often on the nutty or nightmarish side, not anything I could ever put into a book.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com