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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lights On

Ever since I was a little girl I have suffered through chronic nightmares & the occasional night terrors. I even had the same 3 recurring nightmares until I was in my early 20s.

Ghosts, hell hounds, Freddy Kruger; they're all in there. I would pull the blankets over my head, turn on my side; my heart would beat so furiously, one would swear Cerberus & a thousand other minions crowded into my room bent on ripping me to shreds.

Jerk me awake, scare me stiff fear crashes over & robs me off coherent thought. And, it is at this moment that the lights come on. I can't sleep unless I am showered by illumination distilling the dark corners & bathing the entire room in goodness. My feet don't hit the floor; my ears shoot to wolf precision. It's sad sometimes when I think about it. I'll be 42 in a few months & yet I still flip the switch when the demons come to call.

When we first got together, my husband didn't understand it. But, after a few times of blood-curling, hair-stiffening screams in the night, it didn't seem to bother him as much. Now, he doesn't even comment on the lights, except to ask after the craziness living in my head & make sure I am alright.

Last night was no different. Ghosts this time, cornered me under a blanket in the middle of the floor. They invaded my soul, tortured me across the center of some weird little apartment complex. No one answered my screams & then no sound escaped my lungs. All I could think was that I needed to pass out, get out. My body half-lunged from the mattress trying to reach the light switch. And then it was over.

I've often wondered how to incorporate this little quirk of mine into a character. I'm thinking I could spin it to the portentous & supernatural. Try to turn it into something fun/helpful rather than terrifying. What about you guys. Have you ever considered or actually written your own idiosyncracies into a character? If you did, did you find it therapeutic or too exposing?

Happy Writing,



  1. It must scary to have dreams like that . . . I'm sorry to hear that. I used to have night terrors, but they stopped.

    I've never applied my own quirks to a character before--I think I prefer keeping my own idiosyncrasies to myself. :P

  2. Golden,
    I don't have them as often as I used to, so it's kinda weird when they come calling. But, it's amazing what one can become accustomed to. And, I think I agree about keeping me dork flag in its sheath when I'm writing. Although, this one has me wondering if I can't turn it to some interesting plot device.
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. I don't have nightmares like this. When I was little I did until I found out where they came from. With knowledge, they disappeared.

    However, in my story, there is a scene that just might curl your shocks.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  4. Poor you, nothing worse than bad dreams.
    I used to have some doozies as a child.
    I don't often have nightmares any more and when I do I am somehow always aware I'm dreaming, so they aren't really scary,
    Why don't you write a couple of thousand words to explore your idea, see how it reads.

  5. Nancy & Al,
    You guys are totally awesome!!! I know where they come from & I know them in the light for what they are. Sometimes however I think I get comfortable & forget until they smack me in the forehead yet again. I can't wait to read what you've written Nancy. And Al, I think you're definitely on to something with writing them down. I also hope to have my review of your book up soon.
    Thanks so much,

  6. Hmm... my daughter has nightmares and night terrors and she's in her late teens. Don't know where they stem from.
    At any rate, I have put different quirks and idiosyncrasies of mine into several characters. No one would know about it but you, really. And if people comment on those ticks and where they came from you don't even have to own up to it if you don't want to. But I think every author puts just a tiny bit of themselves (if not more) into their characters. :D

  7. Sorry, no ideas on containing nightmares. Writing them down might make them less emotional ??? One bright side? You know how to describe your characters when they have a nightmare.

    My dreams are mostly adventures ... and parts of them have mutated into my writing at various times.

  8. Mel,
    Good points all. Plausible deniability - the legality of politicians everywhere.

    Good point, now if I could only get away with writing an entire dream novel - haha. Punny!

    Thanks ladies,