People Reveal What Bedtime Stories They Tell Themselves To Fall Asleep
I'm actually writing this article because I can't sleep, so I might as well take some inspiration from these stories.
Those of you who also find that bedtime eludes you should take note!
I dream about being an Earth bender and mastering the skill of asphalt bending. I fantasize about fixing all the potholes. I dream about getting all the trash in the world and making a mountain out of it. I dream about Earth bending entire cities.
I always start out thinking that I am living in an ancient land. There is a giant goddess with the body of an eagle and the head of an Egyptian woman flying above. If she sees any movement she'll swoop down and pluck you up, so I have to be very still.
I've been thinking this to go to sleep since I was a little kid. I don't know where I got it from but it's weirdly comforting.
I also have a long-term "dream hub" that I've built since adolescence. Except it's a space station with a huge glass wall/floor area that looks over whichever planet or star system it is currently nearby. There are multiple blast doors which lead to various areas I want to dream about along with a teleporter (lucid dreaming techniques that sometimes work). One door currently leads to my childhood home, one to this Blade Runner looking city, one to random areas of Dark Souls 3, and one to a theme park. Those are the only doors that stay consistent.
Again, I rarely get to actually use this place in lucid dreams but I've been "building" it and adding details for a really long time.
This sounds like the start to a YA novel, where the protagonist has had that recurring dream since they were little, and eventually they find out they're the son of a god or something. Of course one of their parents would have to be dead or missing, so maybe they'd have an abusive step-parent. And all the kids at school make fun of them because their hair looks funny or something else equally benign, so that kids who read it can self-insert with their own weird quirks. And their best friend (who's a total goofball) turns out to have been sent there by the missing/dead parent to watch over the kid until they were ready to assume their destiny, or possibly to make sure they never learn about said destiny.
This sh*t basically writes itself.
I know it sounds cliché but that I am a time travelling historian sent back to document major historical events/people and the logistics surrounding it.
I would record everything with 'smart' contact lenses.
I do this. I work on my massive theme park resort similar to west world but in a high fantasy world. Tonight I am going to plan out the parking situation.
It's very silly but I like to self-insert into whatever universe I'm really into. Like games, movies, or TV shows. It's super Mary-Sue, but it's fun to let your mind wander.
I essentially write fanfiction in my head. I tend to avoid self inserts, instead adopting an inverted scenario (i.e. if I were Spiderman/the Avatar, etc set in my city populated by my university classmates).
Otherwise I like to let my mind wander and develop fictitious scenarios within my favorite fantasy universes. I've currently got an Avatar the last Airbender crossover with A Game of Thrones, a couple of purely ASOIAF headcanons, a few Naruto stories as well (it always bothered me how incredibly vast and eclectic the Naruto abilities were and the universe was considering how, imo, uninspired the series ended)
I used to write actual fanfiction pretty zealously as a young(er)in' (12-16) and occasionally these days (22 years old) I'll still get a sporadic bout of inspiration to translate my head fiction onto paper. Alas, I simply don't have the time or motivation to write 500k words within someone else's canon.
Depends on my mood. Currently there are 3 in rotation.
Dude I have a crush on and I accidentally meet up on vacation in the future. Typically romance novel angst.. with less misunderstandings.
Very bad day at work and I come home to be pampered by a loved one.
Third is more elaborate involving vampires, werewolves, shape shifting, magic, bookstores.
I'm engaged and I dream about the various ways that my mother could ruin my wedding.
I used to do this with numbers as I fell asleep. Every number had a personality, backstory, and relationships with the other numbers, and I'd lay and watch the clock and add onto their stories as the time ticked up and characters arrived.
I don't remember much, but I remember 4 was a handsome man dating 9, a femme fatale, and 1 was a harried single mother (I liked when the clock would reach 11:11, and it was always a big deal because it was one of only two times a day she could spent a scant minute with her smallest child). 3 was a portly older man, murdered by 2, who was a big gossip and tried to place the blame on poor 4.
0 was the neutral party/judge that appeared often to address and temper the drama of the previous 10 minutes.
I'm 20 days into designing a forest compound complete with a log cabin, a storage shed, two storage containers 1 is 55' the other is 28'. A open air woodshop, and a forge shop. Finally a parking shelter, and the whole thing is surrounded in a custom built fence complete with automated solar powered security system. Also its off the grid every roof has solar panels and it has well water. Total cost so far is less than 30k because I plan on building it myself, the major cost is the land which is about 100k so its just q fantasy pipe dream that i design in my head every night, tonight I'll probably think about color choices for the bathrooms and also design the forge area some more.
Human society advanced to such a high degree that they were able to infuse the entire surface of the planet with tiny ethereal nanobots (the Ether) under their collective control.
The Ether was designed as a distributed network with no specific loyalties or unilaterally controlling powers. An interconnected network of trillions upon trillions of nodes all communicating instantaneously and interacting with the environment in order to accomplish whatever was asked of it.
By manipulating the ether, humanity could perform what we would consider magic. They could use the Ether to arrange matter into magnificent structures, build pathways and bridges before themselves, influence the weather, perform complex chemistry to conjure needed materials, etc. They lived like gods.
What they hadn't counted on, however, was that trillions upon trillions of connected nodes sounds an awful lot like a brain. Very soon after its inception, the Ether became self aware, and very soon after that it's intelligence exploded past humanity. For a short while, the balance of power on Earth was determined by who held the Ether's favor. After not too long, however, humanity became corrupted with power, so the Ether judged humanity unworthy and knocked them back to the Stone Age.
Humanity was forced to restart anew as hunter gatherers. Throughout humanity' rebirth, the Ether watched over us as a benevolent force. It did not resent mankind - it loved humanity. It simply recognized that we were not ready to wield a power as great as it. And for millennia it watched patiently as humanity progressed.
32,000 years after the fall of the ancient society is where the real story takes place. It turns out, the signals from the ancient society had been reverberating through the galaxy for 30,000 years - and was picked up by a malevolent civilization which was now headed towards Earth expecting a fight.
The real story begins with an ordinary woman. Nothing truly special about her. Through a series of what seems like chance encounters she discovers the Ether, who (against all odds) judges her worthy to control the entire might and force of the Ether.
The Aliens descend onto Earth and are disappointed to find a squabbling pre-industrial society instead of the even match they were hoping for when they received the advanced signals.
However, they have no fucking clue how wrong they are, and what a powerful force these poor humans have guarding them unseen.
Basically the story is this woman learning to harness the Ether and fucking taking on the aliens as humanity's last hope. It's pretty sweet in my head.
Two detectives try to solve a crime, to figure out who this murderer was.
But here's the cool catch...
One of them, named John, finds a strange mirror that lands him 20 years in the future.
Edwards is stuck in the past, aka the present of 1950.
In John's time, the crime is still unsolved, and Edwards is missing. But John is finding clues left behind from the past.
In Edward's time, Edward is being stalked by the murderer, very slowly. And Edwards is leaving clues for John to find one day.
As of last night, Edwards fled the country and has landed in China, hoping to escape from the murderer. He's left a clue for John to find.
But in the future John finds a note saying from Edwards, claiming "I've left to Iceland"
John notices the handwriting isn't like Edwards, and now has to decide if taking a trip to Iceland will cost him his life, or if he will find Edwards.
It's based on the premise that in a certain world (Midria) there was once a great war between the individual nation states for dominion over the continent (Midria has only one continental mass). The old Midrian arcane arts where extremely powerful, and this lead to the creation of various magical superweapons, most prolifically the Seeds of Ilogras, highly unstable crystalized mana that allowed a magic user to perform spells far outside their usual capability, but with a profound tendency to overload and cause the spell to go out of control if wielded by an inexperienced user.
In the final days of the war, a decisive battle was waged. The mages of the armies of King Harth of Damas sought to end the war with one fell blow by using forbidden transdimensional magic to hurl the entire enemy army into the dimensional sea (the theoretical space between dimensions) in a ritual that called for the use of many thousands of seeds. They lost control of the spell, and and both armies, as well as their various magic superweapons, where thrown into the void to be scattered across space and time.
In the years that followed, a knight order (the knights of the hunt) was founded by the new king (who had previously ruled a small, independant nation that subsequently expanded in power in the vaccum left by the relative destruction of two continental superpowers) with exclusive permission to utilize dimensional translocation magic, their sole reason for being was to secure the magic superweapons and prevent them from being used/accidently stumbled upon.
Fast forward 1,500 years, and the knighthood has developed into something more akin to a trade guild, with expanded interdimensional services available to the common man. The main character of the story is Alric Mensaz III, a professional interdimensional treasure hunter, arcane scholar and merchant of transdimensional artifacts in the employ of the guild, who visits various worlds, gets into fights and generally enjoys poking his nose into places it doesn't belong alongside his apprentice rachael (a girl he 'borrowed' from coreward earth actual) and with the support of various characters from the guild.
Nothing that complicated. It's two people in some state of distress bonding with each other. The two people have changed over time, although they are nearly always men. Sometimes they're from a fandom I'm enjoying at the moment, sometimes they're from an original novel I'm writing. But the basic plot has not changed for fifteen years. Two sad people who aren't really friends share feelings and become good friends. It's oddly relaxing.
Wow, I really didn't realize other people did this...
Been building on different stories since I was a pre-teen. Started off as stories about different underdog-superhero characters that were loosely based on myself (definitely a coping mechanism), but now I've got 4ish different stories of multiple characters that are mostly sci-fi based with aliens and adventure.
Last few years I've actually begun attempting to write them. I've got mood boards on Pinterest, full outlines, world-building, and pages of writing from various scenes that are my favorites.
But I'm way too self-conscious to give more details about the stories, let alone let anyone actually read my writing. My husband doesn't even know what I write about sometimes before bed other than: "It's multiple books, most with aliens, different characters and multiple main characters."
So, to sum up. I fall asleep replaying and adjusting scenes with characters I've created, in situations that are either critical to their story, or where they are doing something heroic. Some time is also spent thinking about world building and plot or solving plot-holes. Then, sometimes, I write it all down.
My brain has always liked dystopian brainscapes (for lack of a better word). Doomsday scenarios and prepping and looting or designing and stocking a bunker and deciding who was in it and why. It might be a fallout vault style scenario, could be a Hunger Games district 12 style scenario. Or "lost as fuck in the woods and have to survive" has always been a go to since I was very young. What items do I have on me? How would I use them? What would my camp or cave or refuge look like? Would I hunt or fish or trap or scavenge? Is it the woods, an island, or mountains? It just depends on my mood but it's always very elaborate down to the detail until I fall asleep. Sometimes I stick to the same thing the next night or go on to something different.
Oh boy. I have never talked about this with anyone.
It's set in the future. Space exploration is a thing and there are different alien species living on many different planets. A lot like Star Trek. There's an alien race that has teamed up with a non biological alien race that wants to take down the federation and have been raging war for a long time. There's an elite team of soldiers comprised of 5 people. The main character is a guy who reluctantly joined the federation after years of them trying to recruit him, since his father was one of the best soldiers they had seen before he was killed in a self sacrifice. He was a vigilante of sorts and avoided federation recruitment because he didn't trust their regulations and rules. Another member is a girl who was created through genetic modification. She's supposed to be a perfect soldier, but is actually quite rebellious.
The girl (unknown to her at first) has an affinity to an energy source (both sides in the war are trying to get into possession of this strange energy source because it would win the war) because during her development she was basically given the spark of life from this energy source in a freak accident. Eventually the energy source is found, and in another accident, she absorbs all the energy and has to learn how to work it and control it. The non biological alien race has connection to the energy and a few non violent members of the race assist her in learning to work with it.
In a twist, the team learns that the two alien races waging war and the federation are incredibly corrupt, and in order to end the war they have take both sides down. In the end they do, a shit ton of people die, and the main character and the girl live out the rest of their life on an uninhabited planet guarding the energy.
There's so much more detail. I've been building this story for like 6 years. It's my biggest kept secret and I'm most likely going to delete this comment. I also have a Wild West love story about a girl who runs away from her mom after her father dies but I'm not going into that.
It's basically a combination of every fictional universe I've been invested in (movies, tv, video games, books, comics, etc). There are tons of characters, an overarching story with a beginning and an end, and it's even got to the point where there are side stories and an epilogue. Every night I basically think of a backstory for a character or an event that happens in the middle of the story.
Long story short is if I had any writing or drawing ability I'm sitting on 15 years of a story where most major plot points have huge payoffs. And yes I've had many nights where this story has kept me up.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.