Sometimes, experiencing a particularly vivid dream will inspire me to record it—if the memory of the dream persists after awakening.
It was late one night and I was reading The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. The famous science fiction yarn about a remote plateau in the jungles of South America. Four explorers travel to Brazil and mount an expedition down the Amazon River, ascend the lost plateau and cross a 1,000 foot deep chasm by using a makeshift fallen tree. The explorers encounter prehistoric creatures, a race of missing links and a tribe of Indians.
I drifted off to sleep just as I finished reading the main character’s description of a lake filled with prehistoric marine life.
It was night time and I was in my canoe. I lifted the paddle and plunged the blade into the water. The lights of the houses surrounding the lake disappeared and were replaced by a dense line of trees. The smooth surface of the lake was broken by hundreds of huge, silvery fish jumping in controlled arcs. The long necks of freshwater serpents glided across the lake. Deep throated bellowing, crashing noises and splashes emanated from the marshlands and hammocks. Millions of insects buzzed and chirped. A shadow flew overhead. The creaking sound of leathery wings and the putrid smell of rotten fish came and went. All this happened within the initial paddle stroke. I woke up
The dream was vivid and it seemed to be a direct result of the chapter I was reading. I’d been considering modeling a character in my current work in progress after Professor Challenger. The dream solidified the idea and led to extended development of the character.