A lot of my basic ideas come from dreams. Or a little more accurately, they come from that fuzzy region of time right between my last consciously controlled thought and actual sleep. ‘Between the click of the light, and the start of the dream’ as Arcade Fire puts it in their snog No Cars Go. It’s here in my semi-dream state that most of my story ideas come from. There are some exceptions – one time I actually did dream an idea, or at least the infancy of one. But for the most time I’m still reasonably awake when I think of them, but mind simply drifts into a swirl of characters and settings that I never knew existed.
That’s how it always is – a character, or an interesting world, or most often a premise. There’s never a plot, or a story to these wild imaginings, those I have to fill in myself. But still, it’s helpful to have a framework to build off of, even if it’s just a snippet of some immensely large picture. Not to mention it’s an incredibly entertaining way to fall asleep. I do wonder though how many wonderful thoughts I’ve lost, by falling asleep and forgetting them in the morning. Hopefully not too many!
There is a drawback to this method of idea generation: I have little control over it. I can have these ‘dreams’ at any time, no matter how many other things I’m working on or how busy I am. Which means often something I’m doing is interrupted by a new idea that I think is really neat. And then of course I have to write it down, think about it for a while and expand on it. Which is how I’ve ended up with over six different projects on the go – none of which are finished. Still, I’m the kind of person who likes to bounce from project to project, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.