Thursday, August 20, 2009

Words, words, words

During the last several weeks while I was finishing grad school, I spent a lot of time reading research reports and studies. They included a lot of graphs, tables, and charts. I realized that I actually hate graphs, tables, and charts. I would find myself searching for that information to be given in my preferred form: words. Just words.

I already knew that I am very, very much a visual learner. If you just say something to me, there's a really, really, high chance that it won't even register. The hardest classes I ever took were ones heavy on lecture. I would have to force myself not to just mentally wander off. Auditory stimuli is easy for me to ignore. Still, it surprised me to realize just how much I prefer reading words to charts. (With a few exceptions, of course.)

Okay, fine.

But then I realized, I dream words. And daydream words. I don't dream pictures-- rarely do I get the "movie-in-your-head" dreams. Nope, I dream words. I think them in my dreams-- not read or hear, just think. Like a narrator, sort of. I might have scenery backdrop to these dreamed words. And in my dreams, I reorder the words to be more aesthetically pleasing, rewriting even my dreams.

In some ways, this is nice. I think it makes it easier to 'translate' the story in my head to the page. I'm already thinking the words. It's just a matter of sending them down to the ends of my fingers, into a keyboard, onto the page. We can debate the quality of said stories another time.

And I'm curious-- what about you? How do you dream? If you're a writer, how do your stories... come to you?


Jamie D. said...

I dream in movies. Frustratingly so, as I try to hold on to them long enough to write them down, always managing to forget some key thing. But my stories don't often come from my dreams.

When I start writing (typing), the "movie" starts playing in my head. I see my characters moving around, hear them speaking, and I'm just a translator for the first draft. When I edit, it's like the movie stops, rewinds, and then plays my new scene - as many times as I go back.

It's actually really weird, now that I think about it...

Clair Dickson said...

Jamie: I prefer quirky or eccentric to weird. ;-) But that's cool the way it "rewinds."

Barbara Martin said...

I dream in movies, sometimes more than one in a night. I like waking up in the middle of the night, because when I go back to sleep there will be dreams. Most of them are great, some will occur later when I'm awake. I've had dreams of places that I'll see at a later date, in the same condition as the dream. Sometimes wierd.

For writing, it's not movies, just words that flow from my mind. A particular sentence I've been reading in a book will set me off to scribble down two or three pages of stuff. I write in a scribbler to get the ideas down, then while putting them in at the computer I may rewrite as I go when something doesn't seem so correct anymore.