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Giving Myself Nightmares for Writing Material

Discussion in 'The Dreamscape' started by Jayne Roberts, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Jayne Roberts

    Jayne Roberts Acolyte

    I'm assuming you clicked on this thread because of my ridiculous title. A couple of years ago, I realized that a heavy dose of alcohol and sugar just before I went to sleep would result in some of the most terrifying, realistic, and fantastical nightmares I've ever had. When I'm running low on story ideas, a bottle of Soju and plate of brownies fixes it pretty quickly. For example, last week I woke up in a cold sweat from the following nightmare:


    I'm floating through space, as I have been for hundreds, possibly thousands of years, ever since the day my planet was destroyed and a powerful, yet mercurial being decided to save me on a whim. At first I was grateful, clinging to life with the same energy I used to forget my family and friends who died on Earth. Soon, I feel nothing. Space is cold and endless and beautiful and I lose count of the stars more times than I can remember.

    Then, someone finds me. Who they are doesn't matter, because what they are is a Monster who destroys planets as easily as a child smashing a once-favored toy. They fall deeply in love, not with me, but with the uniqueness of my position. They use me to play a game with the citizens of different planets. They say, "I will send you down first. If you say nothing about my plans, I will take you back peacefully and destroy the planets in a single blow. If you warn them, I will give each person an abundance of pain before destroying anything anyway and you will suffer too."

    Aft first, I think myself brave. I tell the people of the first planet, "Fight. He is coming to kill you." The Monster sets the entire planet on fire and makes me watch them burn.

    On the second planet, I say, "Run. He will destroy everything you love." They are a planet of warriors who don't know the meaning of escape. They die choking on their own organs as the Monster punches through their stomachs one by one.

    On the third planet, I have resolved to die. I say, " Save who you can. Fight if you must." The Monster ties me to the front of his ship, and looks me in the eye as he slices a single limb off every resident of that doomed land. He leaves me there, surrounded by the rotting corpses of his victims. I don't know how long, only that I am elated at his return. When his shadow covers me, I turn cold and my breathing get short, and then I awaken.
  2. Pup2701

    Pup2701 New Member

    That sounds like quite a story that I would absolute pick up off the shelf. I can't believe your nightmare was that vivid! I used to do the same when I needed inspiration (not with alcohol, I'm underage), but lately I'm unable to eat right before bed and I'd still like some ideas to write down. Did you have any other ideas on giving yourself strange dreams/nightmares? And, if possible, remembering them?
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    I’ve looked into this myself since I’ve tried to use alcohol to help my sleep disorder. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend doing that, even in moderation.

    Alcohol boosts levels of a neurotransmitter (I forget which one) which disrupts your brains ability to transition from light sleep to deep sleep. So you light sleep longer than you should before being thrusted into a dream. Generally, one of two things would happen: either you’d wake up earlier or you’ll have a vivid dream.
    Sugar, as far as I know, doesn’t help you get to deeper sleep and thus, more vivid dreams but its effect on your brain chemistry can cause nightmares.

    If you want a healthier alternative: tomatoes can have a similar effect as alcohol on sleep while breads and pasta can have a similar effect on sleep as sugar. So, pizza or ravioli before bed would be the way to go based on my extremely limited understanding of the subject.

    I tried to use nightmares for writing material before but gave-up on it after one particularly terrible nightmare. But I guess there’s never really been much of a difference between fantasy and dreams.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  4. James McCarthy

    James McCarthy Acolyte

    I always heard cheese before sleeping gives vivid dreams. (doesn't work for me!:)) When I am looking for ideas I like to go into a trance state and let the characters move around in my head with different dialogues and scenes. Soaking in the bath is a great place for this.

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