Hopping the crazy brain.
Whatever you want to call it. I usually say tapping into that dream state, but I'm sure there's a scientific term for it.
But anyhoo, this might be my most important writing tool. Dream writing. I use it ALL THE TIME. At events, whenever the question of writing method comes up, I speak with great enthusiasm about tapping into the dream state to solve plot problems. Some people look puzzled, but most nod in agreement. But I'm never sure if they realize the extent I go to in order to use this tool. I never get out of bed. For three months straight.
I can say this: It does not work if I'm not actually working on the book. What I mean is that I need to be actively producing material and pages for the sleeping-prophet thing to work.
Right now I'm working on a sequel to Play Dead, and I'm excited because I've never had dream-state writing work so well. Ever.
I normally wake up in the morning, and, before getting out of bed, I think about whatever plot issue I'm dealing with at the moment. Often in that half-awake state I can solve it. But I wanted to share what happened with this current book, something I've never experienced before. I got up in the middle of the night. Bathroom break, then went back to bed. My brain started thinking about the book, and, before I knew it, I had ten pages of plot written. And the next morning, it didn't suck. I always think of little snatches of things in the middle of the night, usually dialog and description, but never what amounted to almost an entire plot. So I got to wondering… what would happen if you set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. and wrote for a half hour or whatever. I'm too lazy to do this, so please report back if you try it.
But anyway… This morning I woke up and was doing my lying in bed thing, this time not even thinking of my book AT ALL. Thinking about Christmas, and an application, and weather, and would roads be bad on Saturday. Sometimes drifting back into a weird dream I'd had where I broke into someone's house because I thought I was Mary Poppins, and suddenly the coolest major plot point for the Play Dead sequel came into my head, something that would never, ever, ever have follow-the-dots evolved from my current plot. It just came out of nowhere. Nowhere. And now I can't wait to write it. It's unique. I don't think it's been done before, but it's not so far-fetched that it would turn off readers. And it meshes perfectly with the existing plot.
I don't know where it came from. Yes, writers are always saying that, but this was like a bolt of lightning. "Where do you get your ideas?" Not a clue. It seems like magic.