Sunday, February 17, 2008

The (writers') Dream Depository.

In my dream I had been called into the offices of my publisher, Faber and Faber, to have a meeting with my editor, Walter Donohue. Walter began the meeting by saying, “This isn’t about your book. I have something to tell you. You don’t know it but you have secretly been recruited into the police ...” He showed me my badge and all the paperwork that went with it. He revealed that he had been working for the police himself for a long time. Indeed, his true role was as a recruiting sergeant--his work as a crime-fiction editor at Faber was really a front, a means of discovering writers who had potential to become detectives in the service of the police. It was then that I noticed he was wearing a jacket with the word “Policeman” on it. I was given a similar jacket to wear. I was also given the folder for my first case and told to get on it. It is perhaps significant that my new occupation was presented to me as a fait accompli--I was not given a choice in the matter.

I was now a policeman.

My dreaming self then telephoned my cousin, who is in real life a police inspector in Manchester, to tell him that I had joined the force. He was incredulous. Wounded by his incredulity, I woke.

Please leave your dreams as a comment.


Anne Brooke said...

That's fab! That is so definitely the start of a book - you must write it!!

And I do have to say that I dreamt the entire first chapters of both "Maloney's Law" and "The Gifting" and had to write the rest of them if only to see what on earth happened next.

Ooh, and I had a Torchwood dream last week, in which Captain Jack suddenly turned into my Goldenford editor - obviously, I see both as charismatic, off-the-wall and completely incomprehensible ...



Unknown said...

Wow, my dreams are nowhere near as interesting, or perhaps I don't remember the good ones. Tell you who might though, Bunny Goodjohn, author of Sticklebacks and Snowglobes, who started keeping a dream diary some time ago. She's a poet too, so I bet her dreams are really something ... her blog's at

Roger Morris said...

Thanks Anne and Kay.

Weird, Anne, that we've both had dreams about our editors!

Kay, thanks for the tip about Bunny.

Anonymous said...

Did your heart sink when your editor called you in? My only ever dream about my publisher was that they'd decided not to publish my book after all, and I found out through reading it in the Bookseller.

Took me a few weeks to get over that one.

Anonymous said...

Last night I dreamt that a novel about India I'd sent a friend to review didn't mention it until page 158.

I went to check the print out to see whether it was true but the novel ends on page 123.

David Isaak said...

A few weeks ago I had a nasty flu with a high fever. My fever dream consisted of reading through the manuscript I've been writing, trying to decide if things were working or not. Some of it seemed to be what I'd really written, but there were also whole new characters and subplots.

Every so often I'd wake up and puzzle over, but I was unable to remember which things I'd really written and which I hadn't. And then I'd fall asleep and start reading pretty much the same stuff again. It was exhausting. Though I can't remember the details of the "new stuff", imagining it in the dream seemed to take as much effort as writing it would have.

I can't remember the "new stuff." I also seem to have messed up my memory of what's in the actual book...

Dr Ian Hocking said...

First dream:

I'm living a rich and fulfilling life as the somewhat grumpy but likeable patrician head of a country estate. One day, my young daughter arrives holding the hand of a grotesquely robot/human who is made out of artificial limbs. Somehow I know that she wants to kill me - this makes for an awkward evening meal, and halfway through the dessert course she produces a hunting knife from the pocket of her raggedly dress and shows it to me. We both know that she'll come for me the night.

In a second dream, I'm lucid dreaming, usually on a Sunday morning when I've already woken up but then nodded off because I'm bone idle. I'm in the library of a large ranch. I can see horses being exercised through the windows. Suddenly, I become aware that I'm dreaming and decide to test how fast the imaginative process can work by picking a book from the library shelf at random and trying to read it - sure that my brain won't have enough oomph to supply any text. But it does; the pages are full with real sentences. I look at the cover of the book and I don't recognise the title or the author. I thumb through other pages at random and see that the text is perfectly clear and cmplete. I don't stop to read from the beginning because I know, somehow, that I have only a few seconds left in my dream. Sure enough, just as I realise I've had this dream before, and done exactly the same thing in it, I wake up in bed.

Unknown said...

All of my dreams are horribly pertinent for Freudian analysis and therefore useless as writing material. For instance:

I'm running up a huge hill. On one side is a sheer drop into the sea. On the other is my old school. I go into the school and to the changing rooms. I need to take a shower but the girl's cubicles don't have any curtains. Still, I think: nobody around. Here goes. I strip off and jump into the shower. The water is freezing and suddenly a load of very important writers such as Martin Amis, Minette Walters and Shakespeare appear out of nowhere and laugh at me. Then I wake up.

Obvious or what?

Nik Perring said...

The only writing related dream I can remember having was me, in bed, with a pad, paper and laptop, writing. Doesn't get more boring than that, does it!


Roger Morris said...

Some great dreams here, thanks everyone!

Aliya, I don't think I have ever seen a more poignant, or funnier, expression of the sense of exposure and vulnerability that writing entails.

s'pose I'd better get on with some sort of article now!


Quillers said...

Interesting posts. Anne, can I have your dream about Captain Jack, please?

I've dreamt complete novels before, but they always slip away from me, or what seemed like a great idea when I dreamed it sounds daft when I write it down the next day. For example, I once dreamed that during the miner's strike in the eighties, some bloke decided to steal the payroll, but when he got to know the miners and understood their problems, he changed his mind. Only on waking did it occur to me that no one actually got paid wages during the miner's strike. D'oh!

I did dream a short story once, about an innocent woman in prison who did origami to stop herself from having a break down, and I actually wrote it, adding more of a sci-fi plotline, as soon as I could. I haven't sold it yet - I've entered it for the Aeon Award - but I live in hope.

Faye L. Booth said...

The vast majority of mine are obviously based in fear and present as worst case scenarios. Just before my contract was due to come through, I dreamed Macmillan were going to write and tell me they'd made an administrative error and there was no way they were going to publish crap like mine. Before Will sent his suggested revisions, my brain played midnight movies of endless lists of alterations I couldn't possibly complete, or things that would change my book into something completely different. Then just before the release, I woke up sweating with thoughts of evil reviews. It's all so predictable, isn't it?!

I've only ever dreamed about two of my characters (the world at large hasn't met them yet); in fact, the inspiration for the book they appear in came from a dream. But that's a story for another day...maybe!