Story Behind The Story: Stairs To The Ocean
Continuing my Skulls World Blog Tour 2011, I'd like to talk about a story that's contained in my latest release, Skulls, Six tales from author Armand Rosamilia, including "Memorial Site", "Vacation's End", "1920 Gallery Card #4", "Stairs To The Ocean", "Beastie", "Crow Mill Bridge" plus a preview of the urban horror novella "Death Metal".
"Stairs To The Ocean" might be my favorite story in the collection, although it is close. Someone who once read it remarked that it was very Lovecraftian and I proudly agree (although, of course, you should be the judge of that).
The fun part about the story was that it was based on a dream I had, and immediately upon waking got up, groggy, in the dark and at about three in the morning, and turned on the computer. I started writing, the dream still fresh in my fuzzy mind. I thought I was never going to get it all down so I decided to initially skim the plot and add dialogue as I remembered it from the dream, figuring to flesh it out later.
Usually when I dream something that I think would make a fabulous story, by the time I am fully awake I realize that it either doesn't make much sense, or it's just a stupid or cliché idea.
But "Stairs To The Ocean" was so much more than a fragmented nightmare. As I wrote I was penciling in dialogue that I'd either remembered or just knew fit.
The story stars a former co-worker named Ray Brewer, who I worked with at the time I wrote it. In the dream it was him but with a maniacal gleam in his eye. Very frightening. Very intense. And that look stuck with me as I wrote, propelling the story along.
Over the next couple of hours I wrote it, checked it for obvious spelling mistakes, and then tried to go back to bed. Alas, I had to get up for work in about twenty minutes so the coffee was brewed and I know I had a heck of a day. But it was worth it.
That was about seven years ago, and I've never had a dream as rich as that one before or since. I've talked to other authors who have dreams like this all the time, and can work from the plotline and write stories seemingly at will. I wish I had that gift.
Well, I guess I had it once. And I guess readers will be the judge of whether or not it was worth losing sleep over.