A Hypnagogic Story Experience

It is a question writers hear a lot: “Where do you get your stories?” Well, in at least one case, a story came to me in a hypnagogic state.

Hypnagogic — Of or relating to the partially conscious state that precedes sleep; the drowsy period between wakefulness and sleep, during which fantasies and hallucinations often occur.

It was the weekend of Marcon, in Columbus, Ohio, back in (was it actually that long ago?) 1979. Katherine Kurtz was the Guest of Honor that year.

At the time, I was immersed with the creation of Morgana Black, my stage hypnotist vampire character for the White Wolf World of Darkness RPG. Since I knew Katherine was a trained Ericksonian hypnotist, and part of Morgana’s backstory was her training under Erickson, so I quickly wondered how Katherine would react to meeting Morgana. I never did mention anything about it to her, but the idea did live on in the back of my mind, with unexpected results.

I was staying with a friend that weekend who lived on the outskirts of Columbus, and I commuted every day to the convention. By Sunday evening, I was very tired and in fact, too tired to sleep, which led to a prolonged hypnagogic state. As I tried to sleep, my mind flashed back to Morgana and the last game session, where she wound up in cyberspace in front of a Celestial Chorus datastore. Because of that, I imagined that she would receive a visit from a prominent Celestial Chorus Mage to investigate her, and she wound up charming him into becoming a friend and possible ally. I don’t know how long I persisted throughout this state, but it was enough to engender a story. The names here were changed to protect the innocent, the guilty and everyone else involved.

It all began with a visit by Morgana to an unnamed science fiction convention, where the Guest of Honor, Caroline Knight, was an author of a fantasy series about a mystical race of humanity and their struggles to keep their existence secret from the rest of the world. Morgana found the idea comparable to the way vampires (and other supernatural creatures) kept themselves away and apart from the world at large. When they met, and because of encounters afterward, she would recognize Caroline as a potential Celestial Chorus initiate. Of course, there had to be conflict, and a Marauder (chaotic to the max) Mage came to try to recruit her for his cause. That led to a final confrontation between the Marauder and Morgana and the Celestial Chorus Mage, with Caroline in between. It ended with Caroline being rescued and formally inducted into the Celestial Chorus, and, as a bonus for helping, Morgana’s own Avatar, which died when she was “turned” as a vampire, was re-awakened by a powerful Oracle of the Celestial Chorus. In between there were a couple of examples of Morgana using her hypnotic skills and talents, as she often would, on unsuspecting or eager subjects.

What happened to that story? Well, I did finish it but I never published it anywhere. Now I’m taking the bones of it and rewriting it into something independent: not just filing off the “serial numbers” but inventing an entirely different world and world system to support it.

The short URL of the present article is: http://www.terryobrien.me/Co0K1

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