Dreams are interesting and peculiar things. Some cultures believe they are the portals to other dimensions or mystical/spiritual worlds. Others, however, believe they unlock the deep secrets of the subconscious mind. Even more others, believe that they are simply random signal fire from the brain during a period of deep relaxation. While there are many beliefs about dreams and why they happen, one thing is for sure, they can be an excellent source for writing material.
Stephanie Meyer the author of Twilight is known for saying the inspiration for her vampire novel came to her in a dream. She dreamt about a boy and girl in a beautiful meadow. The boy and the girl loved each other, yet the boy wanted her blood. This dream was so vivid that Meyer decided to write a whole book based on the premise. And as many know, Twilight became a wildly popular and successful book.
Many other authors said the idea for their book or a scene in their book came to them in a dream: Steven King, Mary Shelly, and many more. The reason dreams are an excellent source of writing material is because they usually make you think in a way you haven't deeply considered, and they are usually accompanied by deep emotion.
For the first, dreams make you think in a way you haven't deeply considered, this is true. Dreams come from your mind, it is your thoughts, but perhaps it wasn't a conscious thought you had. Often, dreams when recalled, don't exactly make a lot of sense either. Sometimes they even go against nature. This is where your creativity as an author comes in. You can take the interesting concept, make it make sense, and use the emotions that were felt.
Dreams are usually accompanied by deep emotion
Emotions and capturing an emotion is what cause people to read. Even if you have the most beautiful written descriptions, the most captivating action scene, the most fantastic world, if there is no emotion behind it, it makes for a lackluster story. The protagonist needs to experience this world around them with varied emotions. Have you ever had a time when you woke up in a jolt? Perhaps you had a dream that was so vivid or scary that it caused you to be startled awake. Capturing that feeling and putting it on paper may be your next big idea.
You maybe wondering, how do you recall a dream. That is an excellent question. Not everyone have dreams that they can remember. There is a couple ways to do this. One way is to simply set an alarm early and have it jolt you awake. After you awake, try to quickly remember the dream. Another way (Disclaimer--these are just suggestions, use with caution and discuss with your doctor) is to take melatonin before you sleep. Melatonin may help you have more vivid dreams. This isn't guaranteed, but it may help. The last way is to set an intention before you go to sleep. Tell yourself you want to dream and that when you wake up, you will remember it. Keep a dream journal next to your bed so you can write it down.
Not every dream is going to be a winner, but some dreams can be very interesting and help as a source of inspiration.