In case you don’t notice already, I have dreams in the morning.
They usually wake me up in the morning when I’m trying to sleep, and sometimes, they wake me to the point of shouting, “Get out!” or “Get the hell away from me!” I’ve shouted worse things in my sleep, but those dreams that make me do that are only the nightmares.
I had another good dream this fine Thursday morning as I was getting up to see my therapist, who lucky for me, called in sick that day. It’s a good thing, too, because I needed to go back home and get away from everything happening in the news, especially with the Democratic Convention.
In my dream, I was dreaming about my poor three-novel protagonist, Ellie Benson, who’s stuck in a steampunk-Regency era prison known as The Country. This is all still to happen in my first novel installment of Prisoner of Austen, Nightmare in Northanger, but some of the things in my dream didn’t even occur to me in the first draft.
Back to the dream. Ellie was having nightmares in it. But the nightmares were like living memories, similar to that of Dr. Watson at the beginning of Sherlock‘s “Study in Pink” where his PTSD is making it hard for him to stay asleep and keep a blog going, until he meets the detective himself.
Ellie had traumatic memories of being in the battlefield. Where, I have no idea. It could have been anywhere in the Middle East or in harsher places. And these memories haunted her in her sleep, especially with the first encounter she had in the woods when she mistakes men’s hunting rifles for RPGs.
When she woke, she went down to breakfast and listened to Mrs. B squawk to her husband about Mr. Fitzwilliam, who’s just acquired a new home at Darcy Estate, and that her “daughters” must be introduced to him at the next ball.
The next thing I see in the dream is where Ellie enters the ball and meets Mr. Fitzwilliam. When she asks him to dance, he says no in a proud manner, and Mrs. B prattles on about what a pig he is and how she couldn’t stand the sight of him anymore. But the dreams have always been haunting her, no matter how much she tried to forget them.
At the end of the dream, Ellie admits to her friend and “Country” sister Andrea “Marianne” that she has PTSD. Just as she’s giving her the details of it, and how severe it was for her, I heard my alarm going off, playing the classical music station.
Those details never entered my mind when I was writing the second draft of Nightmare, but now I’m considering it. What if Ellie Benson was coming home as a soldier and she was still having flashbacks of shell shock almost a year later? And now that she’s in a predicament where she’s trapped inside an English countryside prison filled with corsets, steam powered carriages, and scandalous Regency contra dances, how else could she leave without giving any information?
Either way, I’m wondering if I should incorporate these new nuances from my dream into my story… It should be a simple change, but that would also mean that I would have to scrap draft number two and start writing from page one all over again.
Maybe I should sleep on it some more. It is after midnight my time, the Convention coverage is over, and it’s time to watch Fallon’s Tonight Show Hashtags. You’ll be happy to know that I didn’t contribute to the #WorstFirstDate hashtag, but I’m just going to enjoy the show and heckle about what the writers chose.
I don’t have any worst first dates to think about, because most of them were all pretty boring, for the most part. The only interesting guys who went on first dates with me were the best first dates. Unfortunately, I’m still single and I’m not with those great guys who gave me the best, loveliest time.
Yeah, my life is just not that interesting.