Although most of my writing is accomplished by the light of day, some of my favorite scenes and bits of dialogue have come to me in the wee hours of the morning. As any writer will tell you, our characters don’t meekly go away just because we’ve shut down our computers. They haunt our brains when we’re awake and in our dreams.
I often have insomnia, and frequently my work-in-progress is the source of my sleeplessness. My brain refuses to yield to the quiet of the night and instead continues churning. I work out plot problems, write dialogue, analyze new story ideas, and study why a scene doesn’t work while the rest of the world slumbers.
Some mornings I awake and find the wonderful thoughts I had the night before have a lot less luster in the sunlight. But other days, I rush to my computer eager to record the words that appeared moments before sleep.
Occasionally, I’m frustrated. I struggle to remember: what was it that flitted into my brain last night that had seemed like such a wonderful way to build suspense? If it’s still in there, why won’t it come out? Why didn’t I jump up and write it down?
Then again, I have to wonder. Maybe the fabulous ideas aren’t real at all. Maybe they were just part of my dreams.