One of the standard questions I am asked in interviews is “Where do you get the ideas for your stories?” There are a lot of answers I could give, but the first one I ever gave was “From my dreams.”
I tend to dream extremely vividly. Most of them make very little sense in the morning, as I often discovered when I woke up and wrote one down in the middle of the night only to find scribbled garbage come daylight. However, on occasion some dreams, or parts of dreams, have been the inspiration for some great story ideas.
The vividness is a particular help. Rather than imagining the emotions involved in a situation, a dream gives me the chance to live through it. It also means that any weird aspects – of which there are usually many – seem completely normal in context, so if I decide to use any of them in my writing there’s no small voice in my head saying “Nah, too off the wall.” And so far nobody else has said that to me, so I can’t be doing too badly… right?
But, you know, sometimes I really envy people who just lie down at night, sleep straight through and remember nothing. It would save me trying to figure out where that dream about crashing a helicopter into a pylon came from.