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Writers Dreaming: 26 Writers Talk About Their Dreams and the Creative Process

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  19 reviews
As they discuss their dreams--both sleeping and waking--with Naomi Epel, the 26 writers in this intriguing book create a portrait of the creative process that is more candid than most autobiographies and more inspiring than any guide to writing.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 5th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1993)
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Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on the creative process I've read. Delicious. Anne Rice, William Styron and Nadine Gordimer's contributions are particularly fascinating. ...more
Cynthia Rosi
Jun 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Naomi Epel holds dream workshops and presents a talk radio show, where she interviews writers. Combining the two passions led to this collection of interviews with well-recognized names like Amy Tan, Clive Barker, and Stephen King.
The first three authors interviewed, Isabelle Allende, Maya Angelou, and Clive Barker, strike me as similar in their approach to dreams. Allende says she confuses the waking and dream world, the fact and fiction world, and this muddle informs and works through her fict
Kevin Pal
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
A collection of 26 published writers, including Stephen King, Anne Rice, Elmore Leonard, and Maurice Sendak, in which the authors discuss their dreams and how those subconscious adventures play into their writing. Fears, desires, and anxieties all play out in the discussions and become particularly interesting if you have a good grasp on a writer's works: if your bookshelves are filled with Stephen King thrillers, it's a special insight to read about what goes on in the author's head when he's t ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is delightful! There are 26 different authors (arranged in alphabetical order) so some chapters are more appealing than others but some surprised me. Like: I wasn't at all interested in Anne Rice until I read that she began writing about vampires after her 6 year old daughter died of a rare blood disease. Suddenly you see how the creative process is related to the life, the dreams, the nightmares of the creators.
Should be read in bits and pieces--reward yourself after some hard work wi
Elizabeth Rose
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting twist on the often bland 'writers talking about writing' subject. I was also taken aback by the obvious commitment to diversity in this collection- in race, gender, sexuality, religion, chosen genre and motivations for writing. I feel as if it is this melting pot of perspectives that made this collection most worthwhile to me (discredited Freudian theory nonwithstanding). An interesting read for prospective writers. ...more
Beth Browne
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ever wonder what Stephen King dreams about? Amy Tan? Elmore Leonard? Well, it's all here in this remarkable book about writers and their dreams and the impact of those dreams on their writing. Fascinating stuff. ...more
Elaine Burnes
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Had a dream last night that would have made a great story, except I can’t remember enough of it. Just that the main character was a woman named Amira and she was rebelling against something. That’s pretty much the lesson of Writers Dreaming.

From Isabel Allende to Amy Tan, 26 writers talk about dreams and writing (or cartooning). Only eight are women, though, so that ratio could have been better. Hearing from other writers, experts in fact, is always enlightening. Many talk about their process,
Benjamin L
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers of every stripe

What an interesting book. It is literally about the dreams — the hallucinations of slumber — of writers. Not so much about daydreams, or aspirations, or anything other than the literal dreams of writers.

Naomi Epel worked as a driver/helper of visiting writers in San Francisco. She’d pick them up, drive them to book signings, talks, etc. Naturally, they’d talk, and she was keenly interested in dreams. She later hosted a radio show on the subject as well, eventually putting together this book. 20+
Janet Rodriguez
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Naomi Epel suffers from a lifetime fascination of the power of dreams in the creative process. She tells the story of compiling an anthology of writers’ dreams with great caution: “[The dreamer’s] message to get out of the way [is] embedded all along in the imagery of the dream. The dream picture said stay quiet and let the artists do the work” (3). In a sense, Epel posits, dreams have beauty, magic, and ideas from the subconscious artist within ourselves that can fuel our projects.
The bulk of t
Rhonda Wiley-Jones
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, nonfiction
The book starts with the premise of being about dreaming, but each author (26 of them, most of them men) addresses night dreams, interpretation of dreams, dreams that affect their writing, how writing is a dream world of its own, and many other takes on "dreaming." But what I unexpectedly enjoyed is how many of the authors discuss the craft of writing and the process of writing in their experience. So it is so much more. Sue Grafton (author of the alphabet series, A is for Alibi) offered up writ ...more
Maher Battuti
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting important book tracing the role of dreams in the life of writers. The author deals with 26 writers, mainly Americans or those who visit America , as Isabel Allende. We read about : Stephen King, Styron, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan...
Pity that the book lacks many others who wrote about their dreams , especially our Naguib Mahfouz.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring collection of thoughts about writers' dreams and how they influence their writing. Many of the writers were unknown to me, but will be following them up later as I loved what they had to say. I even found that I dreamed more when reading this book. I particularly enjoyed the entries by Isobel Allende, Clive Barker, Sue Grafton and Spalding Gray. ...more
Janessa  Holman
Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting concept for a book 📚 I loved the idea of writer’s explaining their creative process and how their dreams played into it. However, some of the stories felt unnecessary and did not seem to match the theme of the book.
Zulema Renee Summerfield
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: that band screeching weasel. i think that was a band.
i found this book at city lights~ it's all about writers and their dream lives. i started it yesterday and was all excited about going to sleep, thinking that my whole dream world would be turned on its head, but really i just dreamt that the landlord was painting an outside fence pink and that he was going to evict us. oh, and also i was doing this photo shoot in my gramma's backyard, and the photographer asked me to stand against the fence with my butt facing him, so i did, and i was wearing t ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
A treasury of experience as experienced writers share their dreams, both sleeping and waking, and their working process. A diverse range of writers and perspectives, from Isabel Allende to Stephen King and Maurice Sendak and many more. Transcribed from conversations with the authors and presented in an essay format, the nuggets of wisdom are easily accessible. This book is a friend to turn to for insight, inspiration, hope.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book contains transcribed interviews with certain authors and the dreams, and how they relate to their creative process. I found it very interesting and insightful and could relate to many ideas. The format was a little weird; since they're writers I would have rather just read their writing instead of this sometimes stilted transcript. Writers included Stephen King, Maya Angelou, Jack Prelutsky, Isabella Allende, William Styron and Clive Barker. ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed in this book. Some of the entries were fabulous, so perhaps I should give the book 4 stars, but then there were lots of writers I didn't care too much for, and some writers who I *do* enjoy reading, but gave rather pedantic essays on a subject that should be fun, creative, and well -- cool. ...more
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lorelei by: Havva
Shelves: nonfiction
A mixed bag. Different writers talking about dreams and dreaming. Some of it was fascinating, entertaining; some of it was deadly dull or just a waste of my time. I'm really glad to have read what Maurice Sendak had to say, and now I like him even more than I did. It's not a bad book. ...more
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