Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beautiful Nightmares



I enjoy dark, twisted paranormal stories, but almost everything has been done in some shape or form. What’s a writer to do when Dracula has been beaten to death, and every ghost story has been told? Then halfway through your 100K manuscript about a wizard, you’re told the market is soon going to be flooded with sorcerers?

Consider delving into the subconscious. Sorry, I don’t mean eating those questionable mushrooms your cousin gave you in a baggie. I mean using the same inspiration that 5 of the most famous horror and paranormal writers of all-time used: dreams. Twilight, Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were all based on the dreams of their authors. Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe are two more writers who owe some of their most enduring works to dreams.

So what’s going on when you’re able to think so creatively while sleeping and not when you’re awake and TRYING to be creative? According to Wikipedia, “a lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming.” Lucidity.com says “the brain is highly active in REM sleep and unconstrained by sensory input, which together may contribute to the novel combinations of events and objects we experience as dream bizarreness.” And these dreams can be controlled with practice, techniques, and certain devices. Lucid dreamers can harness their dreams and use them for art and inspiration.

I recently woke up from the most beautiful nightmare. I couldn’t wait to share it. Unfortunately, my hubs wasn’t as keen on my awesome, horrific idea at 6 a.m.! If you think some of your dreams would make great fodder for fiction, consider keeping a dream journal by your bedside to collect the details as soon as you wake, because the longer you wait to write them down, the less you’ll remember. Your significant other will thank you for it, too!

Further reading about lucid dreaming techniques can be found at http://lucidity.com/

Have any of your dreams inspired your writing?