I had a very vivid dream last night. It involved me being some sort of fugitive and the target of a very large manhunt. There were a whole lot of details regarding my trying to hide in an attic--I won't bog you down with most of them, though you may be amused by the fact that Santa Claus made an appearance. Ultimately, I took off downstairs and outside in an attempt to escape. I couldn't get very far because of the crowd of police cars outside which made the street look like a parking lot, so I tried again to hide. The detective who was my nemesis (criminals always have one detective, with whom they have a rapport, tracking them down--at least if you believe the movies) came outside and convinced me to surrender to him. He then asked me some questions, at which point I learned that my crimes involved the space program and I had been slated to be an astronaut before I moved to a life of crime. When he was showing me a timeline of my offenses, I saw that they'd thought I wasn't on Earth while committing some of them. I laughed and said "You have me operating off-planet? I don't even have a ship!" Shortly after this, I woke up when the dentist called me.
This dream really stayed with me all day. It wasn't a nightmare by any means, more of an adventure, and I've enjoyed going back over it. I recited it to three separate people throughout the day. Of course, my son can't converse back, but he did say "uh oh," "ah," and made other noises, often in the right places.
I'm recounting this dream here because, for the first time ever, one of my dreams has inspired a story. Many writers have had successes that started as dreams (Mercedes Lackey, a fantasy author who helped get me through my adolescent years, started her Valdemar series with a dream) but I've never been one of them. Most of my dreams don't make enough linear sense to inspire a plot, but this one kept growing on me.
Once I finally got my kid down for a nap I sat down and transcribed the dream, and started brainstorming. I brainstormed further over dinner with my husband, who gave me some really good ideas (I love having another writer in the family.) In fact, this dream might not have simply inspired a story, but a novel. I know I'd been intending to write my first novel this November for NaNoWriMo, and my husband pointed out that I could do a lot of brainstorming and outlining and write it in November, but I think I'm probably going to attempt it now. I don't want to break its momentum--and I know from experience that the momentum is greatest when the idea is fresh.
Perhaps I'll get two novels written this year. Even one would be a first, and I think I'm ready to take the plunge. People don't make livings on short stories, after all. This will require putting a few shorts aside (including the elusive French Maid,) but I'm really enthused about starting it.
But tomorrow. After my wisdom teeth are removed. And, I suppose, depending on how I react to the drugs and anesthesia, perhaps I won't start until Thursday. But either way, I'm eager to get started.