This book is miss-titled. Writers do not dream and next write. Writers use their imaginations and write. Some writers have more control over their imaginations than do the majority of scribblers. I strive for the state of the imagination called The Educated Imagination. Northrup Frye authored a book by the same title, which is my source.
Hence, the idea that writers dream and writers use their imaginations confuses the issue. Dreams are not products of the imagination; they come involuntarily while the writer is unconscious. Using the imagination is a conscious activity, without which nothing gets on the page. Likewise, daydreams come from the wonderments of the mind, and may be the product of the imagination. But daydreams are not dreams.
It is a mistake to allow writers to attempt to explain the tools they employ to originate because most writers don’t understand those processes. Witness this book, which would be better presented as interviews – the interviewer had to be well-read, quickly spoken and knowledgable about each subject that came up. The editor didn’t do a complete job.
Therefore it is not surprising that the best pieces in this book are the shortest, fewer than seven pages. In the longer pieces writers show off, talking about dreams. Some mention Freud. BIG MISTAKE. The exception to my observation is the chapter by Robert Stone, which I liked.
If the writers in most chapters are accurate about their dreams, I am woefully deficient: “I dreamed last night and am writing the great American novel. Every point came to me.” OR, “I dreamed about a character which I put into my novel.” Perhaps I should stop using my imagination and load up on drugs and booze.