The Truth in Dreams
by Debra Mullins

As a writer, I get inspiration for stories from all over the place: movies, music, the evening news. But the idea for THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING is the first one to ever come to me in a dream.

I would say that in general, most creative people are a superstitious lot, especially writers. It's very hard to create something from nothing and writers like to feel they have some control over the process. (We don't--we're just secretaries for the Great Creative Ether, but we cling to our delusions.)

For instance, I wear certain clothes when I write and I listen to certain music, depending on the book. I write at a certain time of day. I know writers who have little knickknacks on their desks that they consider their lucky pieces.

If you ever saw a writer trying to buy a package of pens in an office supply store, you would be reminded of the painstaking choice faced by Harry Potter in choosing a wand. It has to be the right pen, the right color ink. So as a writer who does have a few superstitions about my creative process, when I got an idea in a dream, I sure as shootin' was going to pay attention!

The basic idea came to me as I slept and I had to make some adjustments so it would fit the time period, such as the names of the characters. But I was fascinated by the story of two Scottish clans linked together by a curse that forced them to wed every generation. What would happen if someone thought they could avoid the curse? Chaos and mahem, of course!

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING is the story of Catherine Depford, whose mother was a member of the cursed Farlan clan. Mama was supposed to marry the chief of the clan MacBraedon, but instead she ran off with a wealthy English merchant and the terrible ramifications of the curse ruined a lot of lives. Mama went crazy, for one, and killed herself.

Back home, the lands of both Farlan and MacBraedon went into ruin. The wells dried up, the lambs were born with two heads, the cows stopped giving milk. You get the idea. So the people of both clans were starving and the MacBraedon chief is unable to produce heirs with anyone but the bride destiny had chosen for him.

Gabriel MacBraedon is the new chief of his clan, now that his uncle, the old chief, has died and he is determined to save his starving people. His clansmen have located Gabriel's destined bride, who is marked by a dagger-like birthmark to identify her. The only problem is Catherine has been raised an Englishwoman. She has no knowledge of the curse, but it has begun acting on her by the slow onset of madness that killed her mother. Gabriel knows that marriage to him will fix the curse...but can he convince Catherine before she weds another?

People's beliefs are powerful, whether they are true beliefs or superstitions. Catherine is convinced she is going mad just as her mother did and that it is inevitable. Gabriel is convinced marrying Catherine will save his people.

It's hard to change a strong belief. If I wear different clothes when I write, will I write a worse book? Probably not, but some part of me believes in this ritual and, chances are, I would not be as at ease working on the book until I had put on my writing clothes.

I believe the truth can be found in dreams, whether it be a comfortable truth or not. The subconscious mind works out problems our conscious mind often finds a challenge. My girl Catherine dreams of the hero before she ever meets him. I dreamed of this book. How about you? Have you ever had a dream that had such a powerful message that you acted on it after you woke up?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Damien Franco said:

It's funny I used to be the same way about my hockey sticks.

1:03 AM  

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