Recently, INTERN has been noticing a curious trend in YA author interviews: authors who attribute their inspiration for a character or an entire novel to a dream.
By now, everyone is (over-)familiar with the Stephenie Meyer Legend: had dream about sparkly vampire and unsparkly girl discussing the intricacies of sparkly/non-sparkly love, woke up, penned four-book series, laughed hysterically all the way to the blood bank. (Cue wannabe bestselling vampire authors everywhere popping Nyquil and repairing to their beds.)
When she first heard of this Legend, INTERN thought it was an unusual story. But since then, INTERN has stumbled upon tons of YA authors who claim to have discovered their novels in a dream.
Humph. *glares reproachfully at her decidedly non plot outline-producing or query letter-generating bed*.
While INTERN doesn't doubt that these YA ladies are telling the truth about their nocturnal inspiration, she can't help but smell some kind of culture-bound fish. INTERN wouldn't be surprised if, in five or ten years from now, dreams had passed out of vogue and authors were instead pointing to mescaline trips or divination as the source of their ideas for novels. Creativity is a mysterious thing, and the collective story we tell ourselves about it is as prone to shifting over time as the collective story we tell ourselves about diseases or gravity or gender or fruit flies.
So why dreams? Why now? Why not "my cat beamed the story to me telepathically" or "I've been working on this @$!#@ manuscript for so long I don't even remember how I originally thought of it"?
This dream thing has something innately glamorous and weirdly flattering about it, while managing to be humble at the same time. It says "I am subject to bursts of divine inspiration!" but also "I really can't take credit for this—twas the dream!" That's a pretty appealing story. Best of all, it's an acceptable explanation within our society—one that doesn't make you sound either calculating or insane.
Before she returns to boar hunting, INTERN wants to know: What do you make of this whole YA Novels Based on Dreams phenomenon? Do you get your inspiration from your REM cycle? Is this dream thing a convenient explanation or the gospel truth?