Do other people have story characters sprout in their dreams? Of course I have to get up in the middle of the night and scribble down my dream. Sometimes in the morning I can’t read my own scribbles. About a year ago, just before waking a little voice said, “She back.” And another voice said, “Who back.” The answer was Claudia. That little snippet became Larceny’s Reward, a short story about a guy who’s always looking stolen something and is trying to cover his tracks.
Then there was the morning I woke up early and remembered that I’d forgotten to put out the trash barrels. I scrabbled to get dressed, thinking the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate seeing me dash out to the street in my shortie nightgown. As I dragged the cans out, I thought, I wonder what it would be like to discover a dead body in your trash can. And that’s how Trash Day in Tulare County came to be written. It wasn’t exactly from a dream, but who cares. The main character is Iyla Zindorm. Poor Iyla is crazier than a pet coon and what that discovery does to her psyche is a crime.
If you happen to want to find out about these stories, they are both featured in Leaves from the Valley Oak, an anthology created by Visalia-Exeter Writers that will be coming out sometime in October through CreateSpace.com.
Where do your story ideas come from?