Writing is a very personal thing. What we use for the basis of our tales is as different as every writer there is. While I have talked before about the inspiration that can be found in music, about how books, movies and tv shows can inspire you today I am talking about dream and nightmares.
Over the years I have written a lot of tales that started out in my dreams. The good dreams, when they repeat on me end up being put down into my ideas folders so that I can stretch them to something interesting much later. Nightmares on the other had I usually write down right after the first and hopefully only time. I don’t get a lot of nightmares really but they are powerful things that can destroy you for a whole day for sure.
Something I learned a long time ago was lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the ability to take control of your dreams and to even move them in ways you want. The problem with being a lucid dreamer and a writer is at times you think you are mentally writing a story and awake but are actually asleep! Things like my book Fall in Nightmares or my short story series Death Walk Through are stories I came up with from lucid dreams and nightmares.
Dream scientists (yes they exist) tell us that the symbols in our dreams are all the same. That I argue with. See if you dream in what feels like a movie how can it be that they mean something dry like the dream interpreters say they do? Each person has different meanings to things we see and do. Cultural, religious and personal themes come from our inner mind and soul. While they say that falling in the dream can mean you feel a lack of control in my mind it means falling. I’m a klutz, I fall a lot and I have learned to control the falling. In my dreams if I fall generally there is a good reason.
While dreaming we see things from a specific focus but how many of you have dreamed you were the opposite sex or another creature? I have written stories from first person male perspective, like my Guardian stories. Yes Harry started out in a conversation with a friend but that was only the first tale. The others come from dreams and I am quite obviously not a man.
One of the best bits of information I got over the years was to keep a notebook and pen by the bed. To write down your dreams right after waking. This helped me learn how to call them up in the morning. Most days I don’t need to do this any more but sometimes I still do. Thing like my stories, Night and Day or Passing the Torch while having a basic inspiration in something I saw or heard the day before, wrote themselves in my dream at night. Passing the torch in fact wrote itself far from the over indulgence in a child’s tvshow I had been forced to watch when my now adult kids where little.
So obviously what this long and rambling bit is about is that inspiration can come from anywhere. As a writer you need to pay attention to your unconscious mind. Your dream, your nightmares, you daydreams, any of these can lead you to something amazing. Keep your idea book at your side and write them down. Even if you are working on something else, even if you don’t think you will use it, you never know just what will become one of your better stories.