Eventually every writer gets asked: “Where do you get your ideas from?” Most of my writing inspirations are borne of spending too much time on my obsession of the moment (whether it’s Supernatural, Warehouse 13, Neil Gaiman books, Lord of the Rings, ballet, Discworld, indie rock, Doctor Who, or Warriors), and the ridiculous amount of research I did while I was bored in high school/college… Or from dreams I had.
Because I think lots about things that interest me, most likely many of my dreams come from what I absorbed that day. (For example, the night after the Grimm season finale, there was much, much dreaming about what will happen next to Adalind and the kids and Nick and Renard and Juliette and Trubel. Yes, I obsess some.)
But when you consider that some of the dreams I have don’t seem to be connected to anything I just watched/read/researched with annoying frequency, the question is raised: “Is this something I can write about?” Sometimes the answer becomes “yes.”
In the collection of short stories I re-posted last week, there was only one among them that wasn’t inspired by dreams. And interestingly, that lone wolf was based on the concept of “What happens when you’re not sure if you’re dreaming or not?”
Dreams are confusing things. We can’t be sure just how much of what we dream come from our subconscious or external influences. We can’t be sure how much of it may have meaning, or just may be some demented cantaloupes.
Generally, I don’t try to remember my dreams. Most of them are either about Warrior cats or just too bizarre, anyway. But for about 6 months, I’d decided I was going to try dream journalling. Never got around to actually the journalling part… Well, I just channeled some of them into short stories.
I don’t recommend analyzing your dreams. There may be messages in our dreams, but usually it’s very obvious when that’s the case. And overanalyzing isn’t necessarily the best thing for anybody. (Take it from the former psych major.)
When it comes to writing, though, there’s much to be gained from analyzing. You can get to know your characters better, understand where sub-plots could be useful (or not useful), maybe develop recurring symbols or themes that would help the reader or enhance their experience with your work.
Otherwise, just let your dreams be, well, dreamy.