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Six o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream

by on September 8, 2013

Now before eyebrows start reaching for the stars (sorry to any- particularly my friend afe smith – who couldn’t get that song out of their head after last week’s epistle) I will start by reassuring anyone who is curious that I was NOT in any way, and have NEVER at any time been interested in kissing Valentino. By a crystal-blue Italian stream or not. Now, Sophia Loren or Joanna Lumley and an Italian stream, well how fast can I get to the Rubicon? In my dreams, obviously. I digress.

This week I’m musing about our dreams. You see I get a lot of plot lines and characters appearing in my dreams. In fact after I’d started writing this I heard that more money was winging its way in my direction after one of my dreams scored second place in a Flash Fiction prize run by an enterprising new publisher, Grimbold Books. And that was the 500 word version. The full 1500 word story, written in half an hour after waking up, is quite disturbing.

My ex, amongst other habits that are not germane to this issue, employed a dreamcatcher. When we parted my dreams slowly started filtering back into my head and by and large I’m quite grateful for this. My dreams have solved plotting issues: have given me some new and quite wonderful characters : have generated whole short stories, two of which have subsequently turned into books and another is awaiting the same treatment : have given me now two prize winning pieces of Flash Fiction. I do not speculate on where the dreams come from in case by analysing them they cease to arrive. Nor are they regular. In fact they treat timetables and deadlines with the same distain as our beloved railway companies. Perhaps I should be grateful that, unlike the buses, they rarely arrive in a convoy.
Like our traffic police, they also have a habit of arriving unannounced and when least wanted, so my bed now also has a large notepad, a Dictaphone recorder and my moleskine. And several pencils. Just as well it contains no one beside me, there wouldn’t be any room on those occasions I try and stimulate suitable dreams (shut up, Caro!) by adding my ringbinder with all the notes on the current WIP to the pile.

Anyway, I am coming to a conviction that some of my best work actually takes place when I’m asleep. (Look, if you are going to keep heckling me like that, I’ll shut up.) perhaps that’s when all my conscious inhibitions and suppressors have faded, and the little voice saying – Oh come on, you aren’t really going to crack that joke – you’ll never get away with that without being lynched – is temporarily silenced. In fact I could consider sleeping as a primary writing function now that I come to think of it. How perfect is that? I can now argue that my working week contains considerably more hours than previously planned. Writing the fantasy, indeed…

Now if you’ll excuse me, the deadline for Have Frog Will Travel (The Banned Underground #6) is getting closer. So I’m going back to bed.


to sleep perchance to dream. The Rubicon. Knowing my luck, I’m more likely to get Caesar and ten thousand hairy, sweaty and ill tempered legionaries than Sophia Loren, but there’s always hope


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  1. Mwah ha haha ha harrgh! I find that my dreams are far too strange to use in books but I do often wake up to discover that my subconscious has been working furiously while I was asleep and has come up with a viable solution. I have periods (well obviously, because I’m a girl) but what I meant was I have periods of time when I can’t write for love nor money and have to let my brain reset. It’s why I know I can’t write to a deadline, or at least, not at the moment. There’s just too much other stuff that I’m expected to do instead. Sigh.

    That’s what happens when you choose a job that doesn’t pay.



    • Do you remember the bit in Pratchett’s ‘Moving Pictures’ where Dibbler goes into the studio in the morning, with the film script written on the sheets and even the frame of the bed?

  2. I’d forgotten that but yes I definitely do a lot of my best work at night a few seconds after I’ve turned the light out, and had to turn it on again.



  3. Who in their right mind has a dream catcher? Either they don’t work, in which case they’re rubbish, or they do work in which case why would you want to stop dreaming?

    So apart from that, yes, dreams have given me two or three scenes for the next book, and they are suitably disturbing I’m afraid. So dream on.

    Oh, and the inner pedant insists that it was only about four thousand sweaty legionaries, Legio XIII Gemina which was probably not at full strength šŸ˜‰

    • You’ve made me drag out ‘de bello civilis’, Jim.

      And you are probably right, although that document is depressing vague on the subject even glossing over the Rubicon moment. As it was illegal. Typical politician, eh?

      • From memory I’m not sure where the details of the legion come from, might be Suetonius or Plutarch, but yes, it was illegal for the politician to give the order and it was illegal for the men to obey it, so the minute they crossed, Alea iacta est

      • The legion is confirmed by Caesar in his memoirs, and also in Suetonius and plutonious.

        Oh, and Wikipedia…

      • I checked with wikipedia first, then when it did give a legion’s name I followed it up šŸ™‚

      • ‘The thirteenth legion were with caesar at ravenna. The other legions had been summoned from Gaul, but had not yet arrived.’ DE bello civilis’.

        Nothing like a it of source material..

      • Christian Meier starts his biography of Caesar with a description and discussion of the crossing of the Rubicon, as one of the salient events in his career, rather than trying to fit it in to the Chronological account. (Actually it’s a good read as biography goes.Even better for being picked up for Ā£2 in a charity shop šŸ˜‰ )

  4. Gah. I’m going to have to boycott your posts in future if you keep doing this to me.

    By the way, dreamcatchers are meant to trap nightmares in the web but let good dreams through the hole in the centre … not that I bought one as a teenager or anything … and not that it’s still hanging up in my house … ahem.

    • Sorry about that. But at least Price is an acceptable song to have stuck in your head. If I tell you I have a couple of his on my ipod, will you keep it to yourself?

      It’s the nightmares that provide the best stories though.

    • And congrats to afe on winning the Kristell Ink Feline Flash Fiction competition.

      Next week’s blog title will have to be fiendish now!

  5. Lol, yes, dreams can really be quite freaky but wonderfully inspiring for the strange and bizarre! HUGE congrats to you Will and to AFE on the competition, that’s truly fantastic matey! I entered the comp too, and although I didn’t win any lovely prizes like you guys, they’re going to include my story along with yours in the printed book, so that’s great! šŸ˜€

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