I woke up this morning after a restless night full of nightmares. I don't know what set it off, but I'm not lying when I say I spent the entire night fighting off murderers, tornadoes and even a bear. I don't mind though. As unpleasant as they may be, I find that nightmares offer great inspiration for stories.
Sometimes, when you feel the urge to write something a little darker, or a scene in which a character is truly frightened, it helps to know what that feels like. I'd prefer not to be chased by a murderer or attempt to escape a city full of tornadoes in real life, so if I want to write about it and realistically capture what it would feel like, I lean on my dreams.
It's the same reason I can't watch zombie movies too often. I love them, but whenever I watch them I have zombie nightmares all night. And I have to say, watching them on the screen is a lot less scary than actually being chased by them. So I try to limit my exposure. But having those nightmares makes it possible for me to write a piece of zombie fiction, if I so choose. I already know exactly how it feels to be chased by hoards of zombies. I know the feeling of despair when you realize you're trapped in a corner. And yet, as awful as that night's sleep was, I'm perfectly safe and able to write from a new perspective.
Where else do you find your inspiration? How do you make your own writing realistic? Have you ever found it in an unexpected place?