Transforming Dreams Into Stories

This article is by Sheila Wisz Ellayn.

It was over thirteen years ago that I went to sleep one night, unaware of the great and terrifying adventure that awaited me. The lights went off, I was feeling good and it seemed like anything extraordinary would take place that night.

It was then that I encountered the most powerful dream in my life.

I visited a splendid castle made of red marble, which stood between peaceful gardens surrounded by dark and sinister woods. The sky was cloudy, and even though the place felt forsaken I soon discovered that the interior of the castle was pleasant and clean.

Two princesses lived in that castle. One of them walked around with her hands always covered in blood. The other would fly over the forest outside or explore subterranean tunnels filled with fire.

I am not going to tell everything that I witnessed in that place. It is enough to tell you that I awakened in my bed scared to the bones. Even to this day I am still shaken by that dream.

Was it a dream? Was it a nightmare? I am not sure exactly what it was, but I am sure of one thing in particular.

Dreams as Inspiration

My adventure at the castle of Princess Catalina convinced me that dreams can be a great source of inspiration for us as Fantasy storytellers. What I dreamed that night was real to me, everything felt very sharp and completely real.

It may sound very strange, but I am sure that a part of me somehow traveled to a different realm.

The idea of transforming that dream into a Fantasy novel has been with me all these years. I know that I can do it, and it would be a hell of a story. It’s only out of the fear and respect that I feel for that place that I have not done so already.

Maybe something similar has happened to you.

Keeping a dreams journal so you can have a written record of your dreams is a great idea. I have done that for many years now, and many of my dreams have the potential to become great Fantasy stories.

Other dreams have assisted me in the creation of certain scenes or parts of a story, during times when I was not very inspired in my waking life.

Dreams can also provide great inspiration to other types of artists.

After all, it was in 1963 that Paul McCartney awakened from a dream and, after hurrying to a piano, played Yesterday for the first time…

Exploring the Dreamscape

Some people might think that I am suggesting to rely on dreams alone for Fantasy writing. That’s not the case. Certainly, not all dreams are going to have the potential to become great stories or to assist with one already in progress.

If you seek dream inspiration, it is important to learn how to explore the world of dreams, and how to better recall the adventures that we experience during our sleep. Some dreams are going to be powerful enough to be remembered easily, but most of the time it’s trickier than that.

My first suggestion is to keep a dreams journal, which is a paper notebook to write your dreams on by hand. It’s a good idea to organize your dreams
by date and year, and to write them with every detail that you can remember.

This helps one to remember more dreams and to recall them with greater clarity. It’s almost like dreams enjoy being written down, and by keeping a journal you are inviting more of them to come to you.

The world of dreams shall give you many surprises, and who knows…

The inspiration for a wonderful story could very well come to you in a dream.

Advice for Dreaming

Dreaming is something that we all do every night, but good dream recall skills are something that not everybody has naturally. Apart from keeping a dreams journal, there are other things that can help you to enjoy a better dreaming life.

It’s helpful to always go to sleep at the same hour, so your body can get used to a proper and stable sleep cycle.

Try to be as relaxed as possible when you go to bed, and think of the concepts that you would like to dream about as you fall asleep. Do not try to force your mind to give you what you want, just allow it to happen naturally.

Also do not be afraid of nightmares, they can be very inspirational as well!

Many people add certain types of food to their diets in order to have more intense and vivid dreams. Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan are of particular importance, so foods like tuna, salmon, pumpkin seeds, soy sauce and cheese are often suggested.

For Further Thought

What dream of yours has been the most powerful or haunting? Do you think that it holds the potential to become a Fantasy story?

Are you interested in exploring the world of dreams in search for inspiration?

In your experience, what elements need to be fleshed out or added in order to transform a dream into a story?

This article was contributed by a featured author whose details are mentioned above. Are you interested in writing for Mythic Scribes? If so, please check out our submission guidelines.

2 Responses to Transforming Dreams Into Stories

  1. That sounds like quite a dream! :-O Also, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who has turned dreams into actual stories. I’ve gotten inspiration for creatures and places from dreams; many have made it into my fantasy stories, even if the end result is rather changed from the original dream.

    Right now I’m working on a series of dieselpunk stories that were inspired by an insanely vivid retro-style sci-fi dream I had years ago. The setting and the character have stayed with me, and I’ve decided that now is the time to turn that vision into actual stories.

    Best of luck to you with turning your dreams into fantasy tales!

    • Hello Grace, and thanks for your comment!

      Yeah, definitely you are not alone. I am sure that many of us Fantasy storytellers (and also writers in other literary genres) have received ideas and inspiration from a dream.

      Like you said, maybe the final work is not exactly like the original dream but the trick works well anyway.

      Some of the greatest scenes in my Fantasy stories have been inspired by something that I did or witnessed in a dream, and even though I have not written an entire dreams story yet I intend to start working on my Catalina novel this year.

      And yes, it was quite a dream. I have never been so scared after a dream, and it felt incredibly real. I am not sure what happened or what caused it, but I think that it was a once in a lifetime experience.

      Best of luck to you as well, Grace! =)

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