How to Write a Book from a Dream. Part 1

Dreams offer a unique realm of the mind that allows for images and situations to be created and observed. Throughout time many have looked at dreams as messages from the past, present, future, or even loved ones. Society has always seemed to have a desire to share their dreams, whether it be through writing, oral, or pictured descriptions. Even Stephen King has a novel titled “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” that shares short stories that flow and simulate dreams so that the reader wonders if they are even awake. I’m guessing, that if you’re reading this, then you had a dream that inspired the desire or possibility of sharing it with those around you. So let’s get into it.

Now there are many ways to write a book from a dream, so I do not promise a sure-fire way for you to write your novel. In this post, I will offer up some ideas that should help you, whether experienced or not, in writing a book off of a dream that you don’t want to forget. In my mind, these are the best dreams for writing. It seems to be the mind telling you that your subconscious mind knows the entire story, but your conscious mind wants to know it as well. Let’s venture through the steps to get your story from the back of your mind to the page.


It seems so simple, but some of the grandest ideas have died away because people don’t write them down.I know I’ve fallen victim to that as well. So, I always encourage people to write down their ideas, even if it is just one sentence because that will help solidify what they already know, and it will help them work with the design later. Studies over the years have shown that handwriting something down helps with the retention of information. I found a lot of research on note-taking for classes and the difference between handwritten and typed notes, but I didn’t have any luck on finding studies on writing down ideas for later use. So, you might have to take my word on this one. It works for me, and I hope it can work for you too. 

Step 2: OPEN IT UP

This may not seem as clear as the first step, but it’s a big factor on how easy the rest of the information will come for you. Do not fall for the illusion that it will flow from you like a thunderous waterfall the first time you open up the dream into more than just that one or two sentences. So how do you create the tale? Look at what information your brain already gave you as hard facts. The Characters in your dreams may have looked like someone you know, but that doesn’t mean they acted in the same way. Your brain can’t create the new faces of strangers without seeing them first, so it throws on the faces of people you’ve seen before. The characters will give you the basis for the story. Are they scared, looking to you as the main character to help save them? Do you look upon each other as equals? Are they superior to you and offer you guidance to move through necessary tasks. Each character is the offering a different root of the story to you. You may not be able to follow the root all the way to it’s head at first, but that tip of the root is thirsty, and you can find the water to bring the nutrients to the trunk of the story.

The big question I ask myself when in the mentality of character development is how did they get to this point in their life. I like to think that this is the information that the subconscious mind already has in store, but you can’t access it without the correct RFIs, or Requests For Information. An RFI can be answered in multiple ways such as research, meditation, or free writing. Each individual will find what works for them, and if you don’t know try all three. Your source of research for information can come from any source when you work with fiction. It doesn’t matter if it came from a wikipedia page, because you give the information authority as the author. You just have to be sure to follow your own rules as you write your story, which I will cover in a future post. I add meditation in the sense of thinking through your characters and how you understand the personality traits of those around you. You know the stories of your friends and the key moments that shaped their personality. Key moments aren’t the same for everyone and will change based on their timeline. If you’re writing a sci-fi novel in the future, they are going to complain and be shaped by different stressors than that of someone in the Wild West. And in regards to free writing, it’s simply just sitting down and writing, getting your ideas on the page. There is no write or wrong here. You don’t need to free write for an hour if the character comes to you in a few minutes. If you worry that the character is underdeveloped, don’t be, you just barely gave birth to them. They need the time to grow and develop just as you still do in your life. Use that knowledge to build your own characters.

In my first attempts of writing a novel I found that I liked to create the origin stories of the characters before I began to write the main novel. It gave me the context I needed in order to create genuine interactions of the characters and how they might react to certain situations. Now, this was 13-year-old me, and I approach my writing process in a completely different manner, but I think it’s important to note how people grow as writers. So try to write out the stories of the characters you have seen or feel like should be there in your dream.

I’ve decided to turn this into a series as I realized that I had more information to share than I thought I did. So if you have any notes on character creation, or the use of dreams to write a story, please share them in the comments section. Also, feel free to comment on what you liked and didn’t like about this entry. Check me out on Twitter @kwillmyers or on Facebook @myersfiction for more information or writing.

An LGR post.

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