The Idea Diary

I’m going to be very honest about this: I have weird dreams.

The first of my highly developed, extremely bizarre dreams was in my freshman or sophomore year of college.  My brain decided to combine the movies Alien, The Abyss, VirusSphere and an episode of The Outer Limits (Manifest Destiny, if anyone’s interested).  It was some bizarre conglomerate where Sigourney Weaver was in charge of a futuristic submarine sent to explore a crashed spacecraft (with a second-in-command alien that looked strangely like Mordin Solus, though I had never been exposed to Mass Effect before), and found it empty.  Then the crew started going batty and dying, and the alien, who had tried to destroy the ship and was locked up, revealed that he was able to commune with the lifeforms.  They were microbes of some sort, but highly intelligent, and they were responsible for the negative effects that were ongoing.  However, the alien race were benevolent, and asked to be destroyed rather than to cause humanity’s downfall.  Between the alien and the humans and the microbes, they caused an overload to the power core, destroying them all and saving humanity.

Now, not all my weird dreams are that vivid.  Some were memorable enough, but there are so very, very many ideas that I’ve lost.  I’ll wake up at 3am from a brilliant idea, only to go back to sleep and lose it.  I started waking up my boyfriend to tell him about them, but we still forgot both.  And sometimes, a little idea isn’t enough to merit starting a project, so I just let it stew in my brain until it disappeared.

But enough was enough, I said, and I started an idea diary.  Every scrap of stupid or genius that comes into my brain goes into my little notebook.  From thought experiments to plot twists to elaborate settings (dreaming up expositions is my thing, apparently- it’s figuring out a plot to go in them that’s hard), I write it all down.

If you’re interested in writing, you should too.

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5 thoughts on “The Idea Diary

  1. (By the by, Hollywood, if you’re reading this, there’s more where that came from 😛 )

  2. Tom Elias says:

    I do this as well. Sadly I rarely have dreams that are kept into waking, but I do religiously jot down all my story ideas.

  3. I’d say most of my notebook’s entries are for ongoing projects, for those occasions when I’m not near my laptop. Then there are ideas for mechanics, like making the table of contents into a poem or leaving every chapter off on a cliff-hanger while having a nice stopping point in the middle of every chapter. Then there are the strange tidbits: settings, characters, points of view…
    I think most of my dreams that I remember are the product of fitful sleep. It ruins me the next day, but it’s ultimately been very rewarding.
    Where do you get most of your ideas?

  4. […] Posts: The Idea Diary interlude 3: Tentative first lines of my new manuscript Friday Tips for Writers Outlining? […]

  5. Every idea I’ve ever had for a novel (including the one I’m currently working on) has stemmed from a random few seconds of a dream.

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