So, here’s a confession: writing these books gives me nightmares.
It’s not that I write something and then have nightmares about it, it’s that the act of writing these books seems to give me totally unrelated nightmares. At least, they seem totally unrelated. Of course, that only applies to the ones that I remember; there could be others that I don’t. What it boils down to is one really ripsnorting humdinger of a nightmare about once every two weeks.
Doesn’t sound like much, maybe, but when I’m not working on these books, my waking-up-from-a-nightmare-in-fight-or-flight-mode-and-remembering-it-the-next-day frequency is about 0.2 times per year. Hardly ever, in other words.
When I was working on the first book, I ended up incorporating a few bits and pieces of the nightmares that I had while I was writing it. Book one also included some nightmare material from when I was a wee lass – there were a couple of grade-school-era recurring nightmares that I still remember vividly. The older I got, the fewer nightmares I had, until they became a notably rare occurrence.
Until the books, that is. Now that I’m working on the second book, it’s happening again. It’s a little disturbing, but hey — it’s better than writer’s block. And yes, a few bits and pieces have made their way into book number two. They should be good for something!
I’ve lost count of how many revisions the first book went through, and how many times I did front-to-back editing passes, but those things don’t seem to cause nightmares. It’s only when I’m actually writing it all down for the first time that the brain gnomes get squirrelly.
It occurred to me to wonder if it’s a state of mind that’s irrevocably tied to these books, or if there’s some sort of mechanical trigger that I can fiddle with. Like – does it only happen when I’m averaging above x number of words per day? Is it like eating – it only happens when I’ve been writing just before bedtime? (If that’s the case, I’m screwed – I’m a dyed-in-the-feather night owl.) Is it more or less likely to happen when I’ve suffered frequent interruptions, or do feverish word sprints bring it on?
On the other hand, getting rid of the nightmares may not be the best idea, since I’m also generally less grumpy when I’m writing regularly.
Derek would probably vote for less grumpiness.