Half-Asleep Book Plans

When I’m about to fall asleep my brain spits ridiculous questions at me. At the time they seem like very deep, complicated questions that nobody has an answer to (e.g. where do sesame seeds come from? do you think God is actually inside every atom making it work? do you think the magic faded from the world of Game of Thrones because they killed the dragons?) Hard-hitting. Answerable. This happens to all of us who have ever fought sleep and gone a little silly.

It’s not until I’m asleep that I start to come up with writing ideas. Two mornings ago I woke up with a fully formed story in my mind. It’s nothing special, it’s a thriller-esque kind of tale. Of course my own thriller-esque book I call un-special while actually enjoying thrillers written by other people. Self-eye-roll. Anyway, I also often wake up with new notes saved in my phone. Two of the stranger ones include:

This is my friend Milly, she’s really attractive but wants seven kids and to bring them to the club

Do I know the dream-circumstance that led me to wake up enough to make the effort to save this note? Nope. But at least my friend knows I dream of her, I guess…

Sad people turned into KFC. Original sadness becomes original recipe.

Ah yes, the old depression symptom of turning into fried fast food! I think I also meant this as a kind of punishment for being sad. Hmm. I’d be a great dictator. These make me wonder if I ever send odd messages or make strange phone calls to people while sleeping. I have however realised where all the dints in my phone come from – trying to put a phone back on a side table in the dark while unconscious and ending up just bashing it into the bedhead.

The perfect time to write is when you're about to pass out.
The perfect time to write is when you’re about to pass out.

Well, I’m about to start work on my second novel. I have countless started ones but it can be hard to keep that spark you initially feel for a story alive, and some can sit there. Let’s hope this sparks sticks around. Now to begin the horrible process of starting. Where to begin? How to begin? I feel like I need to know my characters better first, so will perhaps character sketch first. Any tips for beginning a new project? I left my old unfinished (it needs a tightened up ending, an editing and a few add-in scenes that I am meant to be getting around to doing…) but it can be hard getting back to the start of something after being immersed in something else and in the third draft stage. I should probably finish that story… Goal for the year: finish both stories completely before they become fully forgotten dust.

I’m glad that my unconscious gives me writing ideas. It’s like a sleep bonus. Have you ever come up with a plotline in the wee hours of the morning between sleep and awake? Dreamed an idea?

Related Post – earlier post I wrote at beginning of my blog on ideas after sleeping.

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15 thoughts on “Half-Asleep Book Plans

  1. I’ve found that if I really need ideas for a character/scene, it helps to focus on that character or situation right before bed. When i wake up, I’ll frequently have some sort of idea that’s different from before. So those crazy notes might make sense somehow. It also seems like it works best when I get enough sleep.

  2. HaHa very witty post. Sad truth is sadness can turn us into junk as we are what we eat. Good news is we have a choice and don’t have to eat junk. But I wanted to comment that in my whole life I only dreamt two stories and thank goodness wrote them down. Just keep writing. Never mind the order, that can come later. just label the page as beg,mid or end. šŸ™‚

  3. If you haven’t read Dorothea Brande’s ‘Becoming a Writer’, definitely read that – all the justification you could need for writing down mad nonsense whilst half awake!
    I had an A4 ringbinder of character sketches and other plans for the kids’ novel I wrote. I’ve started another ringbinder for an adult novel but it’s been sitting gathering dust for a couple of weeks while I go ‘oh, it’s going to be rubbish, oh I don’t know, blah blah ok I’ll get on with it but first I’ve just got to do my yoga homework / water the houseplants / practise scales on the piano / insert whatever procrastinate-y thing you like’. šŸ™‚

    1. Thank you – it’s on the ‘to-get’ list!
      I think I will do some character sketching myself. I have one character pretty clear but the others need some clarifying. hahaha that is what I do!

  4. I often get them just before I fall asleep. I keep a notebook and pencil by the bed to scribble them down. Sometimes I can’t find the pencil because one of the cats has stolen it. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to turn the light on and then then when I try to read it back in the morning it is just a load of squiggles criss-crossing over each other – always amusing!

    1. haha that would be! I’m pretty sure I can’t write in a straight line with the lights off either… But who knows you might one day wake up to an accidental beautiful picture!

      1. I hadn’t thought of that! At the time I always think it will be perfectly readable in the morning but it never is. I should learn my lesson and just turn the light on, but that wouldn’t be as much fun!

  5. I go through the same thing. My brain always decides to go into overdrive the moment I lay my head down on the pillow. Also… that KFC idea sounds rather… interesting, but morbid in a way!

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