Okay, so here’s the situation:
You’re sleeping, and a loved one or friend is playing a role in one of your nightmares. The plot is one you’ve never come up with before. Actually, you don’t remember anyone ever coming up with it. Story wise, it’s fantastic, and you’ve had two cups of coffee, and you’re itching to write, and you know your dream magazine is going to gobble the story up once you’re done.
It doesn’t matter if you change the characters or not, if they were female, now they’re male. If they had blonde hair, now they’re gray. Young to old. Heavy to thin. No matter who that character is, you’ll always relive the original. It will always be your loved one. Your friend.
So do you write it anyway? Because let’s face it, you’ll write with emotion. You’ll write, and you’ll be scared, and in return, the reader will feel those emotions as well. It’s how you’re supposed to write.
But are you the superstitious type? If you write the story, will you always fear that the terrible thing may happen, and if it does, will it be a result of you tempting fate? Will you worry? Will you write said story and never want to do anything with it because it scares you, and now you’ll always have this scary thing following you around?
I’m not answering anything here, I’m just thinking out loud. I’m curious how other writers approach this problem, because surely a lot of us pluck ideas from our dreams, right? I know I get a lot of material from them.
Sometimes it’s not even a dream. Sometimes someone you’re close to does something, and it erupts inside your head. You create a story from that point, and perhaps it turns really morbid, but it’s a fascinating idea. But from that point on, you’ll always connect that person to that role.
Maybe certain people can separate reality from fiction. Can you?
I wrote a story back in the day based on the above. Had a fear, decided to write it down, and it just so happened that the fear was about something happening to a loved one. But in my story, all of the details were changed to try and shift how I personally viewed it. If it ever saw publication, I didn’t want to be reminded of how the idea formed. But every time I read the story, it scared the Hell out of me, because I couldn’t see it any other way. No matter what characters fill the roles, I’ll always envision that terrible thing happening to someone I love. So the story in question remains locked up in a folder. If this were real life, there’d be several deadbolts and chains and a big shiny lock covering the door. Sadly, the story will always be there, even if I delete it. And sometimes, it feels like I made a mistake by breathing life into the idea.
It might sound silly, but you never know what you’re truly doing. Can one turn imaginations into reality? I know the book The Secret deals with this concept. If you think it, it will come true. And being a writer with an imagination constantly running amuck, I’m not sure what I believe on any given day. I do believe some things are just above me, and as Breaking Bad taught me this past week, I should, “Tread lightly.”
I’d love to hear how others deal with this conflict.