I know when I'm not writing enough fiction because I start to dream stories. They play out like picture shows in my restless subconsciousness, magical enticing tales that carry me along until I wake up. Always in the middle of the best part. And always dying to know the end of the story.
A few years ago, I was swamped with work and one or two crises along the home front, and I didn't have the time or the energy to sit down and work on developing a new novel or even a short story. On cue, after about two or three weeks of non-writing, I fell asleep and dreamed of two female scientists in the jungles of South America who stumble across the remains of the officer who was supposed to be guarding their research facility. The man didn't die, mind you. What they found was his skin, complete with uniform, after he molted.
There was also a dream that involved a young married couple who, on the surface, seemed to have it all: wealth, good looks, the ability to vacation at the hottest spots on the planet. The truth of the matter? Every vacation spot they were at, be it a resort at a mountain lake or a beautiful villa in the Mediterranean, was troubled by some netherworld creature, and this young couple had been sent there to ferret out the evil beast and destroy it. Who did they work for? I never found out. And boy, I tried!
The first novel I ever got published (no longer in print) resulted from a full-blown dream born of the flu and a fever. At least that dream came complete with an ending. The book is called Dead of Summer and was my first foray into Young Adult fiction. It was also my first published ghost story -- certainly not my last.
So lately, I have been swamped with full-time classes, a part-time job, an upcoming out-of-state workshop, and a huge crisis on the home front, but so far, no mind movies. I'm disappointed but hopeful. Who knows? Maybe tonight I'll watch a movie about a mysterious man, his sports car, and his sword. Or maybe a tale about a group of kids, the last days of summer, and a haunted playground. The possibilities are great to think about! Now if only I could just stay asleep long enough to see the ending.