This was originally posted under the title "Where do (my) ideas come from?" on the old Steampunk Empire website. And things in square brackets [ ] are modern insertions.
- (WARNING - This post contains what those reading [ or having read ] my CR&A stories may consider to be spoilers. [ Or maybe not. It's quite possible that no one reading this is familiar with my material. ] Anyways, proceed at your own risk.)
I considered a lengthy introduction to this, but have decided to just answer the question in the title. A large number of my ideas come from my dreams. For instance, around 70% of the music I think up (such as it is) is something I first hear in a dream. Most of the fictional characters I imagine, as well as the places they inhabit also first appear to me in dreams. That being said, with the exception of Arianna Jones, and the tie in to her universe, everything about CR&A (Calloway, Regnad, & Associates) and the world they live in, comes from my conscious mind. Until now.
Last night, I had a dream. Well, actually a series of three dreams. Sometimes I can wake up, then fall asleep again, and get back to pretty much the same place. This sequence was taking place within the CR&A universe. All of CR&A [ including Clarianna ] were there. It was night, and we were in a large open space, somewhere in Alabama, with several large bonfires burning. (From certain clues I would place the time as either fall of 1907, or spring of 1908.) There was some kind of celebration taking place, with people joyfully dancing around the bonfires. The music being played, with differences in how many times the verse and chorus was repeated, was 'Gary Owen'. Over and over and over again. (Yes, I realize this isn't a tune usually associated with the south, but hey, it was a dream! Besides, it's an alternate universe!) No matter where we went, there was a band nearby playing 'Gary Owen'. There were also great piles of old Confederate money. Men were rolling up thousand dollar bills, and using them to light their cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. [ This is somewhat incongruous, since Confederate money can still be turned in for 20% of face value at federal banks. I've also decided that the members of CR&A each collect a good handful for themselves, with Clarianna, and Regnad grabbing plenty. ] Others, especially children, were grabbing handfuls of bills, and either tossing them into the air, or onto one of the fires. All the while, people were cheering, and shouting things like "Hail to Our Confederacy!", and "The South Shall Rise Again!" (This seemed particularly strange, due to the fact that the War Between the States ended 'here' in a negotiated peace (with a restored Union), and everyone seemingly putting aside any lingering animosities during the Second Nationwide Reconstruction after the Plagues of 1881.) We then learned that the money was discovered in some kind of forgotten cache left over from the war, along with many other papers, including property deeds, and other Confederate government documents presumed to have been lost. And that's where the dream(s) end.
After a bit of thought, I realized that, with some tweaking, and the inclusion of few more items among the rediscovered papers, I had the setup for a CR&A story that's been trying to take shape in my head for most of this year. It could very well end up being the next big story I tell [ It wasn't ], since it's based more on my own ideas than anything else. Of course, I still have to get myself to the leaving off point of what I'm doing now. I'll get there eventually.
So there it is. Dreams as inspiration. That's what works for me. -
Well, a few things have changed since then. But I do still want to tell the ensuing story some day.