Nightmares. Man, I hate them! Short, ugly, angry outbursts of mental energy that send me scurrying from the dreamworld and back into the waking world and robbing me of much needed sleep.
Like most people, I tend to forget my nightmares fairly quickly–they seem to fade within minutes after waking. And after quickly getting up and walking around (if nothing else but to remind myself of what is real and solid vs what is nightmare and fictional), I can usually go right back to sleep with no further problems.
But, I’m NOT like most people. I’m a writer which means that in some cases, I actually remember my nightmares, and take the extra step of writing them down. Some nightmares, like the one I had tonight, had to be written down immediately so as not to lose all the details. Others, like the ones that formed the story I’m currently working on (Project Roland), are ones that I’ve had before and are now embedded into my long term memory/sub-conscience so deeply that I can tell you the entire nightmare from start to finish.
Tonight’s nightmare was a sequel to a previous nightmare. The first time I dreamed this world, it faded. I knew I’d missed something when I woke up, but after a vague sense of disquiet, I went about the day. Tonight’s nightmare continued the story of made up characters in my mind in the same world as before. Don’t ask me how I know that, I just do.
My main reason to write this blog post is this: the nightmare, though frightening, created its own internally consistent world and rules that the world follows. In other words, I have a completely built world in my head (& jotted down on paper) of a fantastical dystopian post apocalyptic world that I can now hang characters and plot around to create an interesting story. So now my “world building” is done–just need to find some strong characters to populate the world (jotting down the notes suggested a possible storyline & taking a quick shower helped to formalize an inciting incident inside my mind). I’m calling this story Project Whisper for now.
So, as a writer I know that I should love nightmares. They give me worlds and story ideas that I would have never been smart enough or bold enough to explore on my own.
But, truth be told, I still hate them!