My writing usually comes from a rather cerebral place. Actually, most of what I do comes from a pretty cerebral place, in case you couldn’t infer that from my writing style and the concepts of many of my posts. I am rarely “inspired” by events or insights in a classical sense. Although I mostly discovery-write my stories, the ideas for them come from a rational part of my brain. Blood Magic came from a deliberate effort to create a story with a magic system in which blood was the price to perform magic, and a riff on the classic, Arthurian-style fantasy sub-genre. Fo’Fonas, for all its grand, world-spanning action, diverse characters, and complex politics, started out as an exploration of a magic system based on the four, fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force.
Unlike those stories, this one is a lot more impulsive. A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I kept going back to, waking up and falling back to sleep multiple times and always picking the thread of the dream up right where it left off. Even now, weeks later, I can remember exactly how the dream felt, and exactly what happened in it. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant dream – in fact, it was quite disturbing as I was having it. Yet the story of it stuck with me, and it was compelling. As much as I at times wanted the dream to stop, it would be better to say that I wanted it to end. Several times, I went back to sleep in the express hope that I would pick up the dream again and find out what happened.
Since those feelings were so compelling, I decided I wanted to try to write a story based on that dream. So much of story telling is about evoking emotions from the reader, something that my rationally-driven writing is not always adept at (it’s one of the major things that I constantly try to improve in my writing), and I figured that if I was so compelled by the story told in my dream, maybe others would be, too. However, it wasn’t as simple as writing out what happened in the dream. As with most dreams, it would not make sense on its own, without the entire context of my life, and even then, it wouldn’t make much sense. I certainly haven’t made sense of it.
Instead, I used the dream as a shell, a sort of mental outline or infrastructure around which to build my story. It was actually a very interesting process, almost like writing from an outline, to make this dream into a viable story. Although many of the settings are true to what I saw in my dream, I changed the way they are described, I changed the characters, and I changed much of the action. The Scons, for instance, were actually faceless robots in kilts in my dream, but I decided that faceless robots in kilts would not really fit the mood of the story. Yet for all that I changed, the story is still much more personal, more real, than most stories that I write.
That being said, I would not recommend trying to gain deep insights into my soul from reading this story (which I’ve titled The Hunt). I don’t put a lot of stock in dream interpretation under the best of circumstances. Although some are obvious, I think that most dreams, whether we remember them or not, are a way for our brains to process the vast amounts of information of which we are not consciously aware. Every day, our senses take in far more information than we consciously process, and that information has to go somewhere (this is also, I suspect, how we come by sensations like Déjà vu). Think of how Sherlock Holmes solved cases by noticing details that others would only recall after he pointed them out. So I doubt that you’re going to get much insight into my deep, inner psyche from a story loosely based on a dream I imperfectly remember.
If I had to describe this story, I would probably say that it’s whimsical surrealism in a science-fiction context, with elements of horror and metaphysics. It is, most certainly, weird. Whatever else it is, that last might be the only completely accurate descriptor, and it is still a really compelling story. Whatever meaning you decide to take, or not take, from The Hunt, I hope that you consider giving it a read soon. Available right here at IGCPublishing.com.