In your dreams (or mine anyway)
This has never happened to me before. As I slept the other night, I dreamed of an inconsistency in the manuscript I’ve written (so far) of Larger than Life. I didn’t dream up the inconsistency; it was an actual one in the story that hadn’t occurred to me, and the fact of it entered my dream.
Here’s what it is: At one point I have my protagonist reflect that he works hard, pays his bills, sets a little money aside, and helps his parents with their bills. Such a good son! But later in the story I have an observation that he could consider moving out of his apartment and buying a house because his parents would help him with the down payment. So in one case, his parents are poor and need his help and in the other they are well off enough to be able to stake him down payment money. Obviously that would need to be addressed lest the reader find it inconsistent.
But what amazes me is that this realization came to me in a dream! I’ve heard accounts of people who have solved problems in their dreams, or at least who have woken with a solution, presumably having solved it in their sleep. Until the other night, however, such a thing had never happened to me.
As for the inconsistency, I’m going to drop the bit about him helping his parents with their bills. It’s a nice quality to give to an overall likeable character, but there is more challenge to him, to get off fence where his life is currently stuck, in his having the ability to buy a house. Basically, he can’t avoid that kind of challenge/responsibility by claiming he can’t afford it.
I continue to surprise myself with the ideas I have for this novel that I’d decided to set aside for now. The story keeps pushing to the front of my brain. I think I’m going to have to write the whole thing somehow just to get some peace from it.
Speaking of which, in a couple of hours I intend to rest my head on my pillow, perchance to dream. Maybe some other plot revelation will come to me.
Update 2/7/11: It’s happened again. I woke from my sleep early this morning with a sudden realization about the name of one of my characters in my WIP. I had given the character the name I had because of its anagrammatic possibilities, but his name turned out to have an even deeper substance, one that ties even better with the plot. It was sitting there for me to realize for a long time. Granted, I might have reached this realization during my time conscious, but I didn’t. Sleep almost seems like another tool for the writerly toolbox.
Update 3/6/11: Happened again. This time just a “clever” name for a shop in town where my characters are staying, but it presented itself, and somehow in my dreaming I knew it would be good for the novel. And the name survived the perilous transition from sleeping to waking, so added it will be.