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Madeline Hunter | Dreams and Writing


After years of never remembering my dreams, recently I have been recalling a lot of them when I wake in the morning. I’ll leave it to the dream specialists and psychologists explain why this change has happened. I am just happy to have those vivid images in my head again, and glad for the evidence that I did not stop dreaming entirely.

Since they are so vivid, and I remember them in detail, I have discovered something I had not realized before. Sometimes when I dream, I am me. And sometimes I am someone else.

And sometimes I am me, but I am in someone else’s head, experiencing what they do even though I am still me. Just like when I read a novel.

In a recent dream this happened, and it was so notable that, right there in my dream, the “me” in that dream noticed it and even commented on it.

ladderA woman in my dream was climbing up a metal ladder, through a building, the sort of ladder you see in stairwells or utility rooms to permit access to other floors and the guts of a building. All kinds of other things happened, but it was this climbing, over and over, that was the dream’s theme.

So she was climbing, and she was not me, but I was in her, so to speak, watching her hands go one over the other and even feeling the metal and knowing her thoughts. I was experiencing deep point of view, as writers would put it, only in a little movie instead of through the words on a page.

This is the experience that books provide and that, so far, no real movie can. The “being inside another person” gives books their immediacy, and intimacy, and makes them special. Movies and television, on the other hand, are always objective. The point of view is always the camera’s. There are script writers who can’t adapt to writing novels because fiction requires maintaining that internal point of view, and scripts do not.

When I write my stories (like my very new release, SINFUL IN SATIN), I am inside each character as the book moves from one point of view to another. That means I feel what it is like to be the villain, and even the hero (!)  I cannot write my stories unless I agree to experience that. It can be disconcerting, even disturbing, to be in an evil person’s head--- and more than a bit peculiar to “experience” sex as a man, let me tell you! However, an author’s willingness to do that is what gives novels their power, and it really can’t be faked.

I don’t think that being a writer caused me to be in that woman’s head and body as she climbed those ladders. However, with dreams, you never know. I am in deadline mode on my next novel (Dangerous in Diamonds, due out May, 2011), so I have been living inside other people for hours on end, and maybe it just transferred. Then again, maybe that experience in my dreams over the years subconsciously encouraged me to become a writer.

When you dream, are you ever other people, or are you always you?

Do you have recurrent dreams?

Do you have dreams that you love? I had a roommate once who would dream she was flying. She always woke up so happy when that happened.

Do you have any idea what climbing many ladders in a dream might mean?

Comment today and you could be one of THREE winners to get a copy of either RAVISHING IN RED OR PROVOCATIVE IN PEARLS (winner's choice).




50 comments posted.

Re: Madeline Hunter | Dreams and Writing

I never remember my dreams only nightmares and I think that is because I wake up suddenly and it is still scaring me. I take tablets for mygraines and had to change them once as they gave me waking nightmares - really scary when you know you are awake and in bed but am seeing a different room. Thankfully once I changed tablets they stopped.
I love hearing how you write as I am know I could not do it but am grateful for the authors that let me imagine.
(Barbara Hanson 6:27am October 1, 2010)

I also don't remember my dreams but I often wake thinking I should write that down when I have a good/ interesting dream :)
(April Strength 8:24am October 1, 2010)

I'm 50/50 on dreams. Meaning, I dream 50% percent of the time, and I think, I remember them 50% of the time! I don't have any recurrent dreams, but I do dream in color. Whereas, I hear some people only dream in black and white. My favorite dreams are of loved ones who have passed away. My DH calls those "visits". The dreams I hate the most are the ones that are so emotional that I wake myself up crying. UGH! I haven't had any of those lately.
(Cynthia Netherton 9:32am October 1, 2010)

(Audra Holtwick 10:20am October 1, 2010)

Don't know for sure the meaning of
climbing up a ladder, but I'm positive it's
much better than climbing DOWN a
ladder. Can't wait for SINFUL.
(Sophie Gunn 10:35am October 1, 2010)

Barbara, I have heard that some medications can really mess up dreams. I have a recurrent dream that wakes me up in a cold sweat. I am married to an old boyfriend who was, to put it mildly, high maintenance. I get an anxiety attack in those dreams.
(Madeline Hunter 10:43am October 1, 2010)

April, even when I remember dreams at first, they usually fade. Not my ladder dream,though.
Sophie, very true about not climbing down the ladder,LOL
(Madeline Hunter 10:44am October 1, 2010)

Cynthia,I love dreams of departed loved ones..
Audra, mine never come true, so I always hope that I don't dream I get something I really want.
(Madeline Hunter 10:45am October 1, 2010)

I don't really remember dreams. Only if I wake up during a dream do I remember some of it. One time I remember having a rather erotic dream and I awoke in a bit of a state and looked over at my husband to see if he was awake and had heard me...oh my!!!

in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 10:49am October 1, 2010)

I believe climbing many ladders in a dream means looking for ways to do more, be more, experience more, love more. Reaching for the best that you can be!

I love having dreams but why can you never remember the ending of the best ones?
(Jeanne Miro 11:14am October 1, 2010)

I'm always me but they are generally more like night mares when I am stressed out.
(Karen Gervasi 11:58am October 1, 2010)

There time when I dream, I dream that I either myself or seeing things through other people's eyes.

Some of my dreams keep repeating itself. They only stop if I realize I am having a deja vu when something just happens.

I do have dreams that I love and I really didn't want to wake up because they were that good.

I don't know what climbing many ladders dream mean. Now because my curiousity got the better of me, I'm going end up in the psychology section of the library looking for books referencing "the meaning of dreams" to find out what the climbing the ladders dream mean.
(Kai Wong 12:34pm October 1, 2010)

Valerie, you should have woken him up :)
Jeanne, I have woken up knowing I had a great dream, and can't remember any single detail from it. Then when I do remember some, they fade fast often.
(Madeline Hunter 12:44pm October 1, 2010)

Karen, I haven't had nightmares in a long time. I had them a lot as a child.
Kai Wong, maybe the ladders mean working, working, working, like I am on the current manuscript.
(Madeline Hunter 12:46pm October 1, 2010)

I've always been a vivid dreamer. I am usually myself in the dreams. When I was younger, there were a couple of dreams that repeated everyonce in a while. Dreaming of flying was one that I had frequently in my youth. Guess I'm too grounded any more.
I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, and even though I know I'm dreaming, I'm not remembering them as much as usual. What am I missing?
(Patricia Barraclough 12:56pm October 1, 2010)

I remember at least part of my dream on most mornings. My dreams are very story-like, probably from I'll the books I've read. My recurrent stress dream is all my teeth falling out. Which reminds me, I need to make a dentist appointment.
(Maria Munoz 1:06pm October 1, 2010)

It is rare for me to remember my dreams, but when I do they are intense.
(Colleen Conklin 1:29pm October 1, 2010)

Hi Madeline,
I am many different people in my dreams, male female, child, adult. I was told that it had to do with past lives (according to a psychic). I also fly in my dreams on occasion and it is exhilarating. I heard that it meant that I feel in control of my life. On the other hand, I have figured out that when I dream of my ex-husband it means I am feeling overwhelmed. Isn't that funny? Anyway, my guess is that climbing ladders may be you controlling your life, like flying. That's my two cents anyway :-)
(Alexis Walker 1:40pm October 1, 2010)

As far as I know I don't dream while
I'm sleeping. The dreams I remember
from "way back when" were mostly
about my life and those around me.
Your ladder dreams could be about
your phenomenal rise to success with
your writing. You are the BEST!!!!!!!
(Sandra Spilecki 2:25pm October 1, 2010)

I keep a pad of paper and a pen next to bed in case I have to write down something that I dreamed. Now, if only I could read that writing! :>)
(Karin Tillotson 2:48pm October 1, 2010)

Congrats on the new release, Madeline. I don't remember my dreams. I only remember bits and pieces, but nothing that I can piece together and make sense of. My cousin is one of those who keeps a journal by the bed so that he can write his dreams down when he wake.
(Jane Cheung 3:18pm October 1, 2010)

patricia, my dreams were so vivid when I was young, but I never dreamed I was flying. That would be very cool.

ew, Maria, I don't think I'd wake up well if I had your recurrent dream. Does it stress you out enough to wake you up? My recurrent dreams do. And I think I have one good one, but it is vague. The ones I remember are all bad.
(Madeline Hunter 3:23pm October 1, 2010)

Colleen, I only remember the intense ones now. I have also figured out that what I call "waking dreams" are the most memorable. Those are ones I have when I go back to sleep after waking up

Thank you, Sandra! And we all dream. We just don't all remember them.

Karin, I should do that. I used to for the ideas I had for my stories, but then I couldn't read my writing either, or else in the morning it made no sense at all.
(Madeline Hunter 3:25pm October 1, 2010)

Alexis, I am all kinds of people in varioius dreams too! Sometimes my consciousness will break in and note how odd it is. Right there in the dream. I have even been a man in some dreams. Past lives? Wow, that is an interesting notion.

I wonder what makes some people remember their dreams that well, Jane. I wonder if a person can train herself to remember them too.
(Madeline Hunter 3:28pm October 1, 2010)

The longer one lives, the more they have to dream about.
(Marjorie Carmony 3:31pm October 1, 2010)

I hardly ever remember dreams or nightmares,I guess I'm just odd.
(Vickie Hightower 3:38pm October 1, 2010)

I'm always me when I dream. I find myself in very different & weird situations. I can remember my dreams when I wake up.
(Mary Preston 5:07pm October 1, 2010)

I seldom remember much about my dreams---only snippets here and there. I know a lot of my dreams seem to be based on problems I've had during the day, especiallly with work.
(Sue Farrell 5:12pm October 1, 2010)

I rarely remember my dreams but when I do I'm always myself!
(Vicky Vak 5:36pm October 1, 2010)

I usually don't remember my dreams although over the winter my cats were always sleeping on my legs so I was having a lot of dreams where I couldn't get away.
(Maureen Emmons 5:47pm October 1, 2010)

Now that I understand it's just stress, my teeth falling out dream doesn't bother me. But I must admit, the first thing I do when I wake up is check my teeth.
(Maria Munoz 6:00pm October 1, 2010)

Sometimes I remember my dreams and sometimes I'm someone else in my dreams. What I don't like is when the TV is left on some news channel and the news stories work their ways into my dreams. That's *really* annoying!
(S Tieh 6:55pm October 1, 2010)

I ususally have bad dreams and I just wake up frightened. No recurrent dreams or ones that I love. Maybe on climbing the ladder it could mean more success or you have a lot if deadlines. I love your book covers~just beautiful.
(Sue Brandes 7:47pm October 1, 2010)

In the pass ,I would have dreams that something was about to happen and it would.
(Deb Pelletier 7:59pm October 1, 2010)

I don't have recurrent dreams although I'm often in dreams with my abusive step father, he was verbally abusive and controlling, also I find im in dreams with people from a place where I worked where I ended up in the middle of a vicious law suit as a witness where I didn't lie and everyone else but the victim did, it was ugly....when those dreams happen I often talk during my sleep according to my husband. Any other dreams I have I don't remember. All dreams that I'm in I'm me!
(Brenda Rupp 9:24pm October 1, 2010)

I heard an expert say once that everyone dreams. The problem is that everyone doesn't remember their dreams. The last dream I had, a few days ago, was of some birds building a large nest on the deck outside of my window. I remember turning to ask my husband (in the dream) why they were building such a large nest when it was already fall. I have no idea what the dream means, but the nest was beautiful!! It resembled a wreath you would wear in your hair. As for your ladder dream, I would say it has to do with your success, but better things are to come, and are just a bit out of reach.
(Peggy Roberson 9:44pm October 1, 2010)

I have a recurring dream about the 1700's and I'm taking to this man that is dressed in a soldiers uniform, and boots, but I never see his face. I always wake up, quite puzzled by that dream.
(Aimee Robison 10:12pm October 1, 2010)

There was a time I dreamed nightly but odd dreams that made no sense; it was always myself. I dreamed of my mother, my grandmother and my aunt a lot, no idea why.
I have no idea what dreams me at all.
(Diane Sadler 10:12pm October 1, 2010)

Long before I met my second husband, I dreamed of meeting a tall, dark haired, passionate man. When I met my dream man, I married him! Dreams are fascinating to speculate on, but if I had to guess what your ladder dream means it would be that you are always stretching yourself--personally or professionally.
We as your reading audience benefit from that!
(Dolores Feagin 10:34pm October 1, 2010)

Your room mate was quite
possibly astral projecting
during those "dreams".
(Cathie Veres 10:42pm October 1, 2010)

Most of my dreams are usually nightmares about a traumatic event that happened in my past, and these dreams still scare me.

I do have one pleasant dream that when I wake up I feel really good, and it makes me happy for the whole day. It's about my husband and I having a nice family and everyone is healthy and happy :)
(Aimee Robison 10:53pm October 1, 2010)

In my dreams, I am myself most often but a time or two it was as if I saw things from someone else's point of view. In quite a few of my dreams, I am in a school setting that is either high school or college. I have had
two recurrent dreams, one often enough to fix it in my mind enough that I may write
a short story/novella based
on it.
(Patricia Cochran 11:29pm October 1, 2010)

When I was in high school, I use to dream a lot. Now, it's not so frequent. Maybe it's because I'm so tired all the time! Sorry, but I have no idea about climbing ladders - maybe you are trying to reach the top of your "game"???
(Molly Wilsbacher 12:52pm October 2, 2010)

I dream every night. I do have one recurring dream. I'm back in school and I can't find my classroom. I'm lost and there's a test in class. Then I remember that I haven't read the material. I always wake up before I can find the room.
(Ginger Hinson 2:40am October 2, 2010)

I keep having dreams about German soldiers following me and then shoot me. I've had this since I was a kid. Makes me wonder if that was my former life.
(Lucy Beugeling-Ramos 3:37am October 2, 2010)

I dream from my point of view as unimaginative as that may be. My worst dream that I seem to keep having is that I go on a beach vacation and the beach is closed or horrible. I think I read somewhere that going uphill or up a ladder was a sign that you were going to have a struggle. Although if you made it to the top you would come out triumphant!
(Pamela Stewart 1:03pm October 2, 2010)

i rarely dream either. and when i do i remember it only for a short time; strange thing, dream-----
(Barbara Studer 2:12pm October 3, 2010)

I'm sure there are nights of dreams, but I do not recall anything except for a feeling like falling. I know dreams are where you rehash the day and try out different endings with various scenes and mix-up the people, too.
(Alyson Widen 3:25pm October 3, 2010)

I dream all the time. I am always me. Alot of my dreams feature my parents (who have both passed away). They are really weird, I wake up sad yet happy because I can recall their faces better and their voices are fresh in my mind. After last hearing my dads voice 15 years ago, my moms 22 years ago, this is a comfort and precious gift to me.
Could climbing all the ladders relate to decisions that you must make? It's a thought.
(Kimberley Coover 7:43pm October 3, 2010)

I have very vivid dreams and even sometimes can wake up and handle a phone call or whatever woke me up and go back to sleep and back into the same dream (as long as I'm not awake too long). My least favorite dreams all involve falling, and they usually wake me up. It's bizarre, because I absolutely love heights and my ultimate dream is to go skydiving. Wierd, huh? I think creative people tend to experience more intense and vivid dreams because their minds are always churning.
(Donna Holmberg 9:14pm October 3, 2010)

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