Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weird Dreams and Details that Define Our Characters

I've had some kind of bug today, and spent the morning having the weirdest dreams. I kept dreaming that people I knew were walking in to my room and talking to me. All this despite knowing  very well that I was home alone. A bit freaky.

One person that walked in was my husband. He sat in a chair near my bed like he used to do, although we no longer have furniture there. I remember the chair, and also the crunch of crackers he ate as he talked to me. At one point I tried to wake up, and everything paused. But when I slipped back in the dream, there my husband sat, talk, talk, crunch, crunch.

My husband eats crackers that way in real life, too.

Then my mom. She was outside, intending to walk into my room and help me, but hadn't yet. I heard the calm sound of her voice, saw the purposeful energy of the walk she always has. My mom was on the phone, talking to someone in the voice she developed from years as a therapist--compassionate yet succinct.

Aside from the freak factor, I found it interesting how much certain characteristics define people to the point where these features accompany them even into our dreams.

I've been reading a book where the characterizations are very good, and I know the book will be memorable, in part, simply for that reason.

It has me wanting to make sure that the characters I write have distinct, recognizable characteristics. These don't have to be anything terribly extraordinary. They can be simple and humorous, like an unusual style of eating crackers or defining, like a distinctly energetic walk. Unique details can help make our characters lifelike, and thus memorable, to the reader.

P.S. My daughter has been reading one of my books. Every night she begs for more chapters. It's pretty gratifying, honestly. It makes me wonder if I should pull this one out and finish the revisions I started. (This is draft 15.)


Debra Allen Erfert said...

I usually have very vivid dreams, and I remember most of them if I lay in bed after I wake up and think on them for a bit. I can even pick them apart and figure out why each character was in them or why certain things happen. Dreams are amazing to me. They are also the place I usually get that first idea for a story.

Becca said...

That is so cool! Do you think the way you look at dreams has changed since you became a writer? Similar to how I can't read a book without picking it apart?

Thanks for the comment!

Debra Allen Erfert said...

Isn't that terrible, the way we writers can't read a book without critiquing it, at least in our heads?

I think I do look at dreams differently now than when I was young. I appreciate them more, especially since they've been a source of writing ideas. Nightmares don't frighten me--as much, depending on if my children are caught up in the them. Although I don't know I'm dreaming while in one, even suspecting that it isn't real will wake me up.

Good post, Becca!

Eric Birkin said...

Hahaha "talk talk crunch crunch." He has indeed always been a noisy eater.