Tag: dreams

Teddy Kelley

4 Famous Books Inspired By Dreams

Dreams have long been a fascinating phenomenon, eliciting intrigue, confusion, angst, and much debate between individuals. Dreams have a significant impact on dreamers everywhere and no one knows that better than creative minds.


Writers have often found inspiration and guidance from their dreams, as their own creative imaginations and inclinations towards capturing stories and experiences mirror dreams’ created allusions. Here are 4 famous books that were inspired by dreams.


1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


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Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein, a quintessentially classic novel, as a result of challenging herself and a group of fellow writers including Lord Byron, to write a horror story after the group of pals found themselves relating haunting ghost stories one night at a party. Soon afterwards, Shelley reportedly had a bizarre dream about a creature created by a scientist. That dream later led to what is now Frankenstein.


“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Preface 


2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood



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Margaret Atwood’s historical fiction tale, Alias Grace, was largely inspired by her appreciation of Canadian author, Susanna Moodie, who had written about the bizarre murder mystery surrounding the real Grace Marks. Atwood experienced an “empathetic” dream about Moodie, which led her to closely study Moodie’s work, particularly her coverage of Marks.


“The best writing dream I ever had was in the mid-Sixties. I dreamt I’d written an opera about a nineteenth-century English emigrant called Susanna Moodie, whose account of her awful experiences, Roughing It In The Bush, was among my parents’ books. It was a very emphatic dream, so I researched Mrs. Moodie, and eventually wrote a poem sequence, a television play, and a novel—Alias Grace—all based on material found in her work. But that sort of dream experience is rare.” – Margaret Atwood, NY Review



3. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King



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If there’s one author who finds writing inspiration from their dreams (or their nightmares), it’s Stephen King. The Master of Horror has been vocal about his belief that dreaming, whether lucid or not, is an integral part of the creative process. One eerie dream in particular during his childhood proved so haunting and Stephen King-esque that it would be used as an outline for Salem’s Lot decades later. 


“It was a dream where I came up a hill and there was a gallows on top of this hill with birds all flying around it. There was a hang man there. He had died, not by having his neck broken, but by strangulation. I could tell because his face was all puffy and purple. And as I came close to him he opened his eyes, reached his hands out and grabbed me.

Years later I began to work on Salem’s Lot… as I was looking around for a spooky house, a guy who works in the creative department of my brain said, ‘Well what about this nightmare you had when you were eight or nine years old? Will that work?’ And I remembered the nightmare, and I thought, yes, it’s perfect.”- Stephen King, Writers Dreaming


4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer



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Say what you want about Twilight, but the YA phenomenon has been one of the most successful book series in history and earned Stephanie Meyers a pretty impressive paycheck as well as cultural recognition. Interestingly enough, this cultural phenomenon came to the author in a dream.


“It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.” – Stephanie Meyers, CNN


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