I love dreams. I have received much inspiration from various dreams through the years. Ideas for settings, story lines, monstrous creatures to act as a foil for my main characters. Last night I had a very unusual dream. Not because it was one of those last through the night dreams, the ones you reenter after a bathroom break and back to sleep, though it was one of those. Not because of an unusual setting. The setting was real world and as mundane as current headlines. No, the dream was unusual in that it introduced and developed a character, which I will now be compelled to write about. Like Athena from the head of Zeus, not that she was Athena, and I definitely am no Zeus. But it was still a very cool character. A small, cute woman with short brunette hair, brown eyes, not gorgeous but very attractive and athletic. Wearing Army BDUs with butter bars on her collar (for those not in the know, those are the bars that 2nd lieutenants wear, the lowest of the low in officer ranks). She has airborne wings upon her chest, bloused jump boots, and an M16 over her shoulder. And she’s mad as hell about something horrible that was done to her in the past. She is planning revenge, and she will efficiently prosecute that payback. I don’t know what’s she mad about. That is something I will have to develop at a later date. But she will become a character in one of my future works, or maybe the rewrite of something current.
Dreams fascinate me. No, I don’t believe they are glimpses into the future or instructions for the coming days. In fact, when I have acted on information in dreams the results have normally been unproductive to say the least, and sometimes disastrous. I am of the belief that dreams are the mind processing waking information for storage. Old memories are dredged up and integrated with the new info. The results are sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifying, sometimes exciting. They are rarely boring. Some of my best settings have come from dreams. And I love strong female characters. Sure, you will find some weak females in my work (and weak males), but not as main characters, and rarely as secondaries. I have a word for weak characters. Victims. The ones who supply the bodies that pile up when the bad guys go on a rampage. Weak characters may be good for stories of angst, of people sitting around talking about how sorry their lives are, giving a glimpse of the inner life of, well, a loser. Not my thing. I write action oriented stories. I want characters that take charge, kick ass, and move on to the objective. They may agonize over their decision, or second guess themselves in the process. But that never stops them from doing what needs to be done.
I guess some of this love for strong female characters, or strong nerds, or tormented people grown strong comes from my total dislike of bullies. I remember playing volleyball for many years and seeing six foot three guys jumping up and down celebrating from spiking a five foot six girl in the face. Those were the guys I really enjoyed putting a fast spike into the face of. I was in college with a guy who was the strongest non athlete at FSU as proven by a bench press contest. He used to beat up the girlfriend that he professed to love. I despised him, and the volleyball spikers, and those like him and them . That comes out in my writing. When I see a portrayal of a woman or smart male being tormented or harmed on TV or in movies, or read about them, I think of the switch around. Of the bully attacking with confidence and getting more than they can handle. Of learning a hard lesson, maybe at the cost of their lives. So my unnamed character from the dream will become what looks like an easy target, until the target turns into the worst nightmare of the antagonist.