#amwriting Oddity: Dream Character Development

This’ll be short. It’s now Monday (happy 4th of July everyone. Go Americaaaaa), and I wrote this on Friday, but since I had a post scheduled for Friday, I scheduled this for Monday. While the thoughts are fresh.

Yesterday I wrote 4k words on my book, starting around 9pm, after a day of lamenting the death of my motivation for this book. I was mostly joking about the “death of motivation,” because for some reason I randomly get a rush of adrenaline-esque motivation to write, and I just write. Not that I wait around for it; I spent a lot of time researching, writing on needed work (homework), etc., with intent to write.

Anyway. I capped off the “solo” portion of my book last night–meaning the first three-fourths of the book was about two people living solo, and the last fourth is a wide community of people they must interact with–I spent a lot of time thinking about a new community, and characters that need a voice. I have the former tattoo artist, the twin tv watchers, the farmers and carpenters and car mechanics and whatnot, all these people that I’m trying to force flesh onto. It’s a lot of work.

Queue the reason for the title of this post: the backbone of so much of my work comes from my dreaming. Either plot, or setting, or conflict, quite often my best ideas come from when I wake up and realize, Oh Shit, This could work.

I dreamed a character, fully formed, fully fleshed, with a history, a background, a story, a life, a career, everything. She was so far from anything I had been considering as a character: hospital caretaker/assistant (not a nurse), I met her when I had to go to the hospital for some such reason. She had short auburn hair, cut in bangs, with a birthmark on the right side of her hairline, strange scarring down the left side of her body in two parallel and broken lines, red indentions like pucker marks, perhaps shrapnel? Narrow shoulders, flatter nose, full lips, really tanned body, petite, random scars elsewhere on her body in the same fashion as the shrapnel, muscled stomach. She was quiet but firm, affirmative and clear in her goals and intentions, charismatic in her quietness.

The reason I know all of this is she took care of me at the hospital, helped me into bed, then took her clothes off and demanded I look at her. And by “demanded,” she implored with her eyes and didn’t ask. The environment felt sexual, even though we never touched, but the end result was not; “look at all of me.” In the dream, she asked to be in the book. I woke with an old name I used once in a fantasy novel fifteen years ago in my mind.


I woke with a virulent nauseated feeling, and an exhaustion that went to my bones. Yet in an instant both washed away like water, and I realized I actually spoke her name.

Strange. Creepy. As if a ghost came and spoke to me. Gave me her blessing to use her memory for good. And her image is firm in my mind, clear as if I had met her yesterday. My subconscious makes the best character sheets evar.



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