My name is James Hershey Jr. and I am a horror author. What makes me different than other authors is my writing process. In this article, I am going to try to explain my process and why I became an author. For all the aspiring authors out there, let me say that I am not claiming that this is the only way to write a novel or the right way. It is simply my way.
I write because I love it and it is the only way for me to make the dreams stop. This definitely needs an explanation. I have been having these nightmares since I was a child. The dreams come night after night and I get a different scene with every dream. Once I have the whole story, the dreams start repeating themselves.
This went on for years, until I happened upon an article one day on dream journals. The basic premise of the article was that your dreams are your subconscious mind, sending you some kind of coded message. They suggested you buy a journal and write down all your dreams in it, to decipher later.
That article gave me the idea of writing my dreams down to try and figure out why they kept coming. I discovered that once I wrote the dreams down, they stopped coming to me at night. The nightmares did not stop but were instead replaced by another set of dreams and another story. I kept writing them in my notebooks and kept getting new stories. This pattern has continued to this day.
All of my ideas come from my nightmares. This is where I get the basic skeleton of my story from. Once I have that, I sit down at my laptop and just start writing. I do not outline or plan out my stories at all.
I allow whatever force brings me the dreams and compels me to write them down, flow through me as I write. Every story is a living thing, which has a need to be told. Instead of trying to force it to go where I want it to go, I allow it to be free and to go where it wants to go. After I have finished the story, I go back and do the edit and polish the story.
I am dedicated to preserving that unpredictable element that nightmares possess and by allowing the story to tell itself, I not only capture that feeling but the story flows naturally, instead of seeming forced.
I have never had writer’s block. I think that is because my process for creating my novels is so much different than anyone else’s. When I sit down to write, I am like a man possessed. The words just flow out of me, nonstop. I know it is a cliché, but my novels do seem to write themselves. Whatever force it is that drives me to write, won’t allow me to stop until the story is told.
I think the reason a lot of writers get writer’s block is because they are trying to create something by force, instead of just relaxing and letting it flow. There are so many stories that are begging to be told and if you just surrender yourself to them and give them a voice, you will never suffer from a lack of inspiration again.
I do not know why these dreams come to me night after night or where they come from. When I was a small child, my grandmother used to make me put a bible under my pillow. She told me that the bible would make the dreams stop coming. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I have been having these nightmares almost every night of my life. I say almost every night, because there are some nights that I don’t remember what I have dreamt about.
I believe that my novels offer my readers a unique experience. Instead of just reading a story that someone made up, my readers have the chance to step inside the world of my dreams and experience my nightmares, right alongside me. I capture the terror of a nightmare and trap it on the page, so you can live it as well.
My nightmares are so vivid, that I feel like I am really there. My readers have told me that I am able to capture that feeling in my novels.
The world of dreams is an interesting realm that we don’t really understand. Some say that your dreams are your subconscious mind’s way of sorting through its problems. Dreams have been a conduit for prophecy and premonitions for as long as there has been written history.
Are my nightmares some sort of premonitions of things that are going to happen or have already happened? Are they just my subconscious mind trying to sort out something in my life? Are they just the insane ramblings of a madman? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to those questions.
One thing I do know, is that something more than just normal dreaming is going on. I don’t claim to be some prophet or psychic. I can’t tell you the lottery numbers for next week or predict disasters.
What I am is a storyteller, who for whatever reason has been given this incredible gift of these nightmares. I choose to share them with the world and give you the most intimate insight that you can possibly have into another person.
I allow you into my dreams, which is the place where a person is most vulnerable. I invite you to come along with me on this journey and maybe together we can make some sense of it all.
James Hershey Jr.
Editor Chief: Kelly Griffin