Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for . . .

Image courtesy: Gaurika Wijeratne

Ursa Major

One night I had a crazy dream about a long, involved math problem. The paper had twisting snakes of dash lines all over it and I was supposed to count the dashes. Easy right? For some reason I kept messing it up. I'd find that the paths continued on the back or that some dashes had +1 written next to them.

Then the dream switched and I never finished that problem. Instead I was lost at night in the woods with snow falling even though it was September. A huge bear burst out of the trees, pulling something like a sleigh behind him. Before the beast could gobble me up, I awoke.

Something about this last image begged for a story. I created a middle-school aged boy, Josh, for the main character and plunked him down in the tiny town of Caribou, Maine. This boy has mixed feelings about leaving his old town. Josh is relieved his mother finally left his abusive dad, but he liked his old school. Josh is miffed that he'll never find out the grade for his report on the Micmac Indian legend around the constellation Ursa Major.

As a storyteller, I had fun weaving together this legend about three hunters going after the bear Ursa Major with actual hunting practices of bears today. The bear also becomes a symbol for bullying. Josh has a chance to make friends with the bullies in his new school, but only if he is willing to become a bully--something he struggles with after his experiences with his father. Plus, I got to inflict that crazy math problem on Josh.

The novella, Ursa Major, is available on Amazon through the online magazine Wormhole Electric.

Have you ever gotten a story idea from a dream? Or do you dream about your stories once you've started writing them?


  1. I have the weirdest dreams after I do research for my novels. Yes, I incorporate tons of scenes and imagery I capture from my dreams into my novels. What a great story that came out of your dream! I can imagine snakes and math going together very well, since I hate math. I think I might even like snakes better than math;-)

  2. I've had dreams about stories and musical compositions. I guess my head doesn't shut off when I sleep!

  3. Yes, it does happen. I was pondering a question before I went to sleep. When I woke up I had a clear idea of what I need to do. I don't really remember if I dreamt the answer.

  4. How fortunate the story found you through your dream.

  5. I love the way you found your story and made something really good from it. I've been having wild dreams recently, but not remembered enough of them to work on them. On the other hand if I'm working on a story I often wake up with the next bit of it all sorted out!
    Blogging form Alpha to Zulu in April

  6. I've written some strong dreams down, but they rarely make it in my writing, probably because I mainly write contemporary and my dreams fit speculative fiction.

  7. I've had some interesting story ideas from dreams. One that still sticks with me is that of a young couple with magic crowns, with the crowns being haunted and letting ghosts take over when they're worn. I turned the idea into science fiction and incorporated it into my Star Patrol stories, though I never really finished anything with those characters. Sigh.


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