Dreams & Muses: How I Work

Look at me being all blogtastic! *laughs* Two posts in a row an amazing thing considering my lack of blogging for the past six months. I better not say anything further about that or I might jinx myself. *snorts*

Anyway on to the subject of this post–dreams and muses.

Over the past four years as I’ve waded through becoming a professional writer I’ve heard many fellow writers wax poetic about how the do that thing they do. Now before going professional I wrote fan-fiction and I’ve mentioned that on occasion. Most writers would be ashamed to admitting to that, but I am not one of those writers. As a matter of fact one of my first interviews in 2009 after getting published was with the lovely Dr. Dick of Dr. Dick’s Sex Advice (you can listen to that podcast HERE) and we discussed my fan-fiction origins. For me fan-fiction was my stomping ground for many years and was the door through which I found myself entering the professional writer’s world. I never fully abandoned that world and still write in the Supernatural fandom to this day.

While writing in fan-fiction I’ve had so many people ask where I find my inspiration and how I write such vibrant stories. Now that I’ve entered the professional world the same questions remain, but I’ve never had a definitive answer to satisfy the questions completely. That is until today when I woke from a second night of solid sleep with the answer to the block that’s been standing in my way for the past two weeks on my present manuscript.

Dreams.

My dreams have always been vivid for as long as I can remember and linked without fail to my muses. I once had someone comment on how reading my stories was like watching a movie on a big screen in Technicolor. This description would be similar to how I explain my dreams. Within the context of them I am both actor and viewer. Where as most writers struggle with third person (or at least the ones I’ve run into) it comes naturally to me. Yeah, maybe I have a god complex–who the hell knows. *snorts*

The point is the majority of my stories were inspired by my dreams. As to what inspired the dreams it’s anyone’s guess; music, movies, pictures, books, or even life situations. My novel Blood Noir (previously published by Dark Roast Press) is a prime example of a dream leading to a novel. The dream was a simple scene: a young man in a cemetery. From that dream scene came the questions which inspired my muses.

Who is this man?

Why is he standing there alone in a cemetery?

Once the questions started I felt the need to answer them, thus the muses took over. Within six months I completed the first draft of what would become Blood Noir set in St. Louis, my home base.

It doesn’t always work this smoothly. For example the manuscript I’ve been working on for the past six months, tentatively entitled The Cottage, a ghost story set in the bayous of Mississippi and surrounding a New York, horror writer and the tragic loss he’s suffered. This  all began with a movie The Skeleton Key and the dream I had after watching it. The dream was inspired by a particular scene in the movie and not about the movie per sea. Think rainy, swampy southern heat and two men, one chasing the other through a savage storm. I didn’t get the feeling the second man was trying to hurt the other, but was rather trying to save him from whatever he was chasing. My major question; Who or what was the first man chasing and why?

This particular dream stewed away in my thoughts for a good three weeks when I happened across a photo of a cottage setting on stilts at the edge of a bayou. This image coupled with a conversation I had about hero-worship with a friend created my main character, a gay horror novelist who suffered a tragic loss, one that stole his ability to write from him, and ta-da you have a sympathetic hero. After all what is the worse thing a writer can think of losing, but their ability to create. We’ve all feared at one time the drying up of the proverbial well. I know I have many times and any writer who says they haven’t is a damned liar in my opinion. We all have doubts no matter how successful we are or become.

Because my muses rely on my dreams when I suffer from insomnia for a lengthy amount of time, unable to dream, the level of my well of creativity begins to drop. Then the writer’s block sets in and I end up stressing which only makes the insomnia worse. It’s a vicious cycle, but eventually the ball drops and my body says fuck this shit. Once I begin sleeping and by default dreaming again, the writer’s block lifts and the muses begin singing again, a haunting chorus of ideas with which I continue my path.

For me writing is a part of me not a hobby, but a piece of who I am–a huge piece. To abuse myself is to abuse my craft. As I said in my earlier post I’ve neglected myself and my needs (again a vicious circle I am constantly guilty of) in favor of supporting my friends and family. It is my fault because I need to learn to take time for myself, and everyone in my life knows how I am from my boss to my best friend. Old habits are damn hard to break.

As an old boss and friend told me once: You can have the most beautiful house in the world, but if the foundation is shit, eventually it will inevitably collapse into ruin.

Until Later

Blessed Be…

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